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ESTS (Testing/Talent Search)
Frequently Asked Questions



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What kind of talent does the "Elementary Student Talent Search" look for?
Academic talent. The EXPLORE test measures a student's abilities in English, Reading, Mathematics and Science.
How old does my child have to be to take the EXPLORE test?
Students currently in 3rd through 6th grades may take the EXPLORE test.
How does my child qualify to take the EXPLORE test?
The following students are eligible for the EXPLORE test:
  1. Students identified as gifted
  2. Students earning PSSA scores at the levels listed on the Elementary Student Talent Search page
  3. Students earning a score at the 95th percentile on a nationally standardized test (such as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, Stanford Achievement Test, or Terra Nova test) on one or more of the following sections:
    • Math (Total score or score on any math subtest)
    • Verbal (Vocabulary, Reading, or Language)
    • Science
    • Composite or Total Score
Why should my child take the EXPLORE test?
To learn more about his/her academic abilities, to receive priority placement in the Summer Program, and to be placed on the C-MITES permanent mailing list to receive information for gifted students.
Does my child need to take the EXPLORE test every year?
No. Students may take the test again to improve their scores.
How long does testing take?
Students should report by 8:30 am and should be finished by 11:30 am. Actual testing time is 2 hours.
Should my 3rd grader take the EXPLORE test?
Third graders meeting the 95th percentile guideline may take the test. Since this test is designed for eighth graders, it is quite challenging for many third graders. If your child is likely to get upset if he/she does not know all of the answers or is unable to finish the test, we recommend waiting until fourth grade to take the test. You might have your child take the sample items from the EXPLORE test found at EXPLORE samples.
Should we register for January or February testing?
We recommend registering for January. If your child is sick in January, you can reschedule for February.
Is financial aid available for testing?
Yes. Students receiving the free or reduced-cost lunch program at school are eligible for a reduced fee. Please submit the necessary fee waiver documentation with your application.
Will I receive a confirmation of my test registration?
Online registrations receive an automated email. For paper registrations, your cancelled check is your receipt. Two weeks before the test, a packet will be mailed to you including your admission ticket.
How do I switch my testing date or location after I register?
Call ACT, our testing company, at (319) 337-1369 and they can make the change for you. There is a fee for changing test dates or sites if you call after a certain date. Call the C-MITES office with any other questions.
What should I do if I registered but haven't received an admission ticket?
Call the C-MITES office.
When will I receive the test results?
Students testing in January or February should receive their EXPLORE test results by March 27th. These results will be mailed directly from ACT, our testing company, to the student's home address on file. C-MITES receives the results in May.
Are my child's test results sent to my child's school?
Only if parents gave written permission on the Agreement to Participate form. Parents are welcome to share the extra copy of the score report that is included in the test scores mailing with the child's school.
If I must cancel after registering to take the EXPLORE test, can I receive a refund?
C-MITES will only issue a full refund of the registration fee in the case of a medical emergency, if a valid doctor’s excuse is provided. The registration fee cannot be refunded if a student is unable to test for any other reason. Once a student registers for the test, costs have already been incurred. These costs include processing the registration form, publishing the Information and Resources book, and preparing the test materials. The student will still receive C-MITES mailings if they are unable to take the test. Students who choose to be removed from the C-MITES mailing list will receive a $10 rebate.
If my child misses February testing due to illnes, what can I do?
Unfortunately, you cannot reschedule for another date. We cannot refund the registration fee, nor apply it to next year's testing.
What happens in the case of bad weather?
We will update site cancellation on our telephone message at (412) 268-1629, extension 1. Do not attempt to drive to testing if your local conditions are dangerous.
What can I do if there is no EXPLORE test site in my area?
You can help establish a testing site near you. Encourage your school personnel to contact C-MITES. We are always looking for new test site locations.
My child missed the EXPLORE test this year. When can he take the test?
The EXPLORE test is given each year at the end of January and again at the end of February. Students who miss the January testing may register for the February testing. Students who miss the February testing must wait until the following year.

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