Northwestern University Midwest Academic Talent Search (NUMATS)
- What is Northwestern University Midwest Academic Talent Search (NUMATS)?
- What tests are used to identify exceptional talent?
- How do students qualify for the Talent Search?
- Does the Eden Prairie school district notify students about NUMATS?
- What are the benefits of participating through NUMATS?
- Should my middle school student take the ACT or the SAT?
- Do the test results go on my child's permanent record?
More information on Midwest Academic Talent Search may be found at
What is Northwestern University Midwest Academic Talent Search (NUMATS)?
Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development (CTD) conducts the Northwestern University Midwest Academic Talent Search, or NUMATS (formerly known as Midwest Academic Talent Search). This is one of four talent searches conducted by universities within the United States. The talent searches use above-grade-level tests that are better measures of the students’ intellectual abilities than the standardized in-grade achievement tests gifted students typically take in school. This is vital for parents, students and educators who want to have accurate information on the abilities of bright students in order to plan educational activities that will further develop these talents.
What tests are used to identify exceptional talent?
The measuring instruments for NUMATS are the ACT, SAT and EXPLORE tests. The ACT and SAT, even though typically taken by high school juniors and seniors for college application requirements, have been found through 20 years of experience using them with younger students, to be appropriate for those students who are achieving at high levels in their schools. The EXPLORE test was developed by the American College Testing Corporation for typical 8th graders to determine their knowledge in the areas of math, reading, language and science reasoning, but is helpful used with students in elementary and intermediate grades who achieve at high levels.
Students eligible for NUMATS take the ACT (grades 6-9), SAT (grades 6-8) or EXPLORE (grades 3-6) test through Northwestern University Midwest Academic Talent Search and receive scoring information that helps them to interpret the results relative to their age (rather than just in comparison to high school juniors and seniors for the ACT/SAT).
How do students qualify for the Talent Search?
Students qualify for the talent search by scoring in the 95th percentile or above on a nationally normed, standardized in-grade achievement test. They can also qualify through state achievement test scores, by being a past talent search participant, or by qualifying for a school’s gifted program. A teacher or parent may also nominate a student. Students who are identified by their schools according to these criteria are sent materials to help them prepare to take these tests, such as practice questions and a preview of the test format.
Does the Eden Prairie school district notify students about NUMATS?
In Eden Prairie, 7th and 8th grade students at CMS with high standardized test scores in selected areas (i.e., MCA exams) receive a letter inviting them to take the ACT or SAT. The students have 3 options: (1) choose no testing, (2) choose to take the ACT or SAT without the NUMATS service, or (3) choose to take a test through NUMATS and pay an additional fee beyond the regular ACT/SAT fee. Applications are handled through the G/T coordinator at CMS.
If your CMS student qualifies for testing, you will receive a letter in the mail near the end of September. If you do not receive a letter and think your child may qualify, please contact the CMS G/T coordinator.
Parents of highly gifted students in grades 3-6 should consult the website (www.ctd.northwestern.edu/numats) and have their students apply through that avenue if interested.
What are the benefits of participating through NUMATS?
Students who choose to take the ACT or SAT through the NUMATS service:
- Receive additional test result information comparing the students’ scores with those of other Midwest students and help in understanding the meaning of the test scores.
- Receive additional information about programs for gifted students including fast-paced summer programs, Saturday programs, correspondence courses, distance learning programs and early entrance programs for college.
- May qualify for awards and/or be invited to participate in many enrichment and curricular programs if they score in the top 5%.
- Invitation to be recognized at the Annual Minnesota NUMATS Award Ceremony.
- Receive scholarship certificates to be used toward classes at Northwestern University if they are top scorers.
- Are recognized at the year-end Awards ceremony at CMS.
- Have fewer admission criteria to meet for summer or on-line courses through Northwestern University or other CTY programs.
- Receive a discount on the Imagine magazine published by The Johns Hopkins University Center for Talent Development.
- Continue to receive information about special opportunities until the completion of high school.
Should my middle school student take the ACT or the SAT?
There are benefits to taking the ACT, and there are also benefits to taking the SAT. Taking either one of the tests at this age is a form of practice for taking it later. Most EPHS students will take the ACT as juniors because Midwest colleges and many others require or prefer that test. However, the PSAT test given to juniors to qualify them for National Merit status is similar to the SAT, and a number of schools on the coasts require or prefer the SAT results, so taking the SAT at a younger age would be helpful practice for those reasons.
*At this point (08/05), NUMATS students who elect to take the ACT do not take the optional Writing test, unless specifically requested. The new writing portion of the SAT test is not optional, so NUMATS students who select the SAT would write an essay and complete the rest of the SAT writing test.
For more information on each test
Do the test results go on my child's permanent record?
Test score results from grades prior to 9th grade are not reported to colleges and will, in fact, not be available to the child online after a year. It is possible that score results could be obtained from College Board or ACT archives at a later date, but we would advise families to keep copies at home should they be needed to register for any talent programs (such as EPGY, Northwestern University Center for Talent Development, or UMTYMP).