Fairfax County Public Schools AAP (Advanced Academic Program)

Gifted and Taletned Tests Practice

What Is the Advanced Academic Program?

If you reside in Fairfax County and are wishing to register your child for their Advanced Academic Program, your child’s school will require them to take a gifted and talented assessment. Fairfax County has four levels of school services, three of which fall under the Advanced Academic Program. These are:

  • Level 1 Critical and Creative thinking strategies (Grades K-6) – all students receive talent development lessons that use the nine critical and creative thinking strategies to challenge them academically
  • Level II Differentiated Lessons in Areas of Academic Strengths (Grades K-6) – these lessons are given to children that display talent in specific academic areas. Students qualify for these services via a school-based screening committee
  • Level III Part-Time Advanced Academic Program (Grades 3-6) – students are identified by a local school screening committee for this program. It aims to extend and enhance the standard FCPS curriculum by focusing on four core subject areas.
  • Level IV Full-Time Advanced Academic Program (Grades 3-8) – students are selected by a central selection committee to take part in this program, which requires testing for admission. It aims to focus on academic depth and complexity in the four core subject areas.


How Can My Child Enroll Onto the Fairfax County Public Schools AAP?

If you are interested in enrolling your child on to the level II or level III program, you must submit a referral form to the Advanced Academic Resource Teacher (AART) at your child’s local school. From then, the AART will review all information with the local screening committee and a decision will be made within 30 days of the application being made.

For level IV services, this is more complex. Any student applying for full-time level IV services must have produced test scores from at least one ability test. The most common are CogAT and NNAT, however WISC is also accepted. Students with the highest test scores are submitted to a committee of educators from across the FCPS for further screening and a decision is usually made within 30 days.


The Fairfax County AAP Assessments

Students will take two aptitude tests during their time in the Fairfax County Public School System. In first grade, all students will complete the NNAT (Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test). In second grade, students will complete the CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test). The questions on these exams are somewhat challenging, even for adults. The material on these tests is not covered in your child’s curriculum, making these difficult to study for. Students that score well on these tests will have likely prepared in advance with study materials and online resources.


How to Prepare for the Fairfax County AAP Tests?

Gifted and talented programs are incredibly sought-after in Fairfax County. Therefore, it’s important for students to begin preparations as soon as they can. As the NNAT and CogAT tests do not cover material from your child’s curriculum, the best way to prepare for these tests is by studying with online practice exams, study guides, and sample questions.

Practice exams will often include questions like the ones your child will answer on the real test. Sample questions are a great way to get your child familiar with these tests and understand where their strengths and weaknesses lie. The great thing about sample questions and papers is that they can be taken multiple times, so if your child is struggling with a certain section they can continue to repeat until they feel they’ve understood what the section is asking for. Additionally, if your child is excelling at one section, they can spend less time practicing it.

Children that excel on the NNAT and CogAT aptitude tests will likely have spent time studying and preparing. To make sure your child has the best chances of gaining a place on the Fairfax County Advanced Academic Program, ensure they are prepared, self-assured, and confident by completing online practice exams.

For many children, studying and testing can be stressful, so make sure your study sessions remain light-hearted and productive, even if your child gets some questions wrong. Positive re-enforcement and practice materials will go a long way in giving your child the best chances of scoring high on these tests and getting a place on the AAP.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Are the Key Differences Between Levels III and IV in the Fairfax County AAP?
    Level III is a part-time Advanced Academic Program for students in grades 3-6 identified by a local school screening committee. It extends and enhances the standard FCPS curriculum by focusing on four core subject areas. In contrast, Level IV is a full-time Advanced Academic Program for students in grades 3-8 selected by a central selection committee, requiring testing for admission. Level IV emphasizes academic depth and complexity in the four core subjects.
  • How Often Are the NNAT and CogAT Tests Administered?
    In Fairfax County Public Schools, the NNAT (Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test) is administered once in first grade, while the CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test) is administered once in second grade. These tests are designed to assess students’ aptitude and are important for identifying candidates for the Advanced Academic Program.
  • Can Parents Appeal the AAP Admission Decision?
    Yes, parents can appeal the AAP admission decision. If a student is not initially accepted into the Level IV program, parents may submit an appeal to the central selection committee. The appeal process involves providing additional evidence of the child’s capabilities and any other relevant information to support their case.
  • What Support Resources Are Available for Students Preparing for the NNAT and CogAT?
    Several resources are available to help students prepare for the NNAT and CogAT, including online practice exams, study guides, and sample questions. These materials can help students become familiar with the types of questions they will encounter and improve their performance on the tests. Additionally, some schools may offer preparation sessions or workshops.
  • How Are Gifted and Talented Services Delivered in Fairfax County Public Schools?
    Gifted and talented services in Fairfax County Public Schools are delivered through various levels of the Advanced Academic Program (AAP). These include Level 1, which provides critical and creative thinking strategies for all students; Level II, which offers differentiated lessons in specific academic strengths; Level III, a part-time program that enhances the standard curriculum; and Level IV, a full-time program focusing on academic depth and complexity. These services are tailored to meet the needs of gifted students at different stages of their academic journey.