Hi. Sorry for the post without the intro. I used to be a member here, but I cannot remember my password for my old username. It's been ages and ages since I've posted here simply because we are so way past the baby/toddler years and I don't find myself thinking about AP as intensely as I used to. I mean, I feel like I'm in my parenting groove and I don't have so many pressing issues to deal with that I haven't already worked out in my head. I have two boys who are now 10 and 8. In the past, we homeschooled so I used to hang out at that forum for the wonderful insight that can be found there.
The reason I'm wandering back here is that, now that my kids have started school, this whole gifted thing has become something that we can't avoid thinking about. With homeschooling, it didn't matter out of the toddler years because, at least for us, there was no reason for comparisons and we just kind of lived our own little eccentric lives. We didn't need the label or to even consider whether we might need the label; it just became a non-issue entirely.
But school has complicated stuff in that the children are measured against each other and there's tracking and stuff. I have never been one to not ramble...sorry! Anyway, our school has a self-contained "gifted" class, but in my mind, it's really just honors, simply because 33% of the 4th grade is in this program. Don't get me going on that one! Anyway, so my kids were both given the COGAT recently because it's required for admission into this "gifted" program. A complicating factor is that my kids now know what "gifted" is and it's like a thing that's on everything's radar...whereas in homeschooling, there was no need to even bring that up.
My 4th grader, who is a highly visual-spatial learner and a day-dreaming guy wasn't unhappy about being excluded from the "gifted" class...something that happened because he enrolled before this COGAT test was given and he basically has to wait until next year. Then, he started going on about how easy math was and how easy school was and I saw that as a big red flag wrt future work ethic. We don't know his scores yet but I'm hoping he gets into this program for next year simply so he can be challenged.
My first grader, OTOH, had spent his homeschooling life being down on himself bc his only point of comparison was his older brother, who he would never catch up with. He had serious self-esteem issues. Then, he started first grade at school, reading chapter books which I didn't realize was unusual and he suddenly developed an awareness that he was very different from his classmates. This year, in second grade, his friends are calling him "Math-Man". He's happy but he's bored and he shocked me by announcing to me one day that he believed he was "gifted", simply based on this natural comparison a kid makes with age-mates. We've gone from worrying about his low self-esteem to worrying he's going to get a big head. Oh, Ok, I really need to get to the point.
So we got the 2nd grader's COGAT scores back yesterday and it's like reading Greek to me. Numbers are not my forte anyway and then there's all this stuff about stanines and other words I've never encountered before. Ok, I am right in believing that the COGAT is NOT an IQ test, right? But it has a composite number that looks, very very much, like an IQ equivalent. Ok, you don't know who I am and no one from my real life would ever see this and figure out who I am, so I'll just give a number. It says his composite score is 138. Is that roughly equivalent to IQ and if so, is that considered highly gifted? And if that IS the case, then haven't the numbers shifted by 10 points from when we were kids. I vaguely remember reading somewhere once that an "old school" score of 130, for example, would be listed as "120" today.
What also confuses me is that his non-verbal reasoning is much higher than the verbal and quantitative scores. A quick Internet search indicates that non-verbal reasoning has to do with patterns. One website I found said it measured reasoning with novel material, in which learned/acquired knowledge was irrelevant. So if that's the case, then does that mean that the verbal and quantitative sections are influenced by learned material? So two kids with identical raw intelligence have two different school systems and environments, in which one kid has been taught significantly more than the other...that affects it? Basically, can I look at non-verbal reasoning as the most true measure of his reasoning skills or is that more to do with visual-spatial specific skills. For verbal and quant., he was only 94%tile but he scored 99%tile on non-verbal. I'm trying to wrap my head around all of this and understand it.
I told myself that all I cared about was him getting in this program, simply because I know he is bored most of the time. The highlight of his week is computer lab, in which they use a self-paced program that allows him to do whatever math he is capable of doing...it looks at their answers and adjusts the questions it tosses out to the kids, to try to match the kid up with the personally appropriate material. He complains about thing like, "We had to learn about onomonopeia *again* even though we already learned it in first grade!" and I just don't know what to think about him. My biggest concern is that he might tune out at some point.
Anyway, so all I care about is that my kids are challenged, but darnit, I cannot stop thinking about those stupid numbers simply because I do not totally understand what it all means. I've done a lot of web searching and I end up being more confused than I was to even begin with. I was hoping that someone here might help me get to a better place of understanding. Thank you if you made it this far!!