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Why test?

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 

I am a homeschooling mom married to a teacher.  Four times a year my husband takes the children into his school and has them take the SRI to find their current reading level. . .he's done this for almost two years now.  Both my children are registered in the school as non-attending students, so their scores are put into the system for the classes they are "registered" for but don't attend.  Well, yesterday the gifted ed teacher approached my husband.  On the last test, my 7 year old (technically first grade) son tested in the 98% for reading, 5th grade level.  She would like me to bring my son in to her for testing and for gifted classes twice a week.  She brought up with my husband that often gifted children need to learn to work with others on projects and stuff. . .instead of just doing whatever on their own.  I can see this at home while we are working on things together, he hates working with his sister on stuff and won't do anything he doesn't want to do or see any value in doing.  I honestly don't see why he needs to be tested and I don't see why I need to take him in to the school, at least not now.  I don't plan on putting him in school full-time, ever.  I really don't want to take him to her classroom so he can learn to work on projects with others. . .I mean, he's only 7 years old and I think it's okay that he likes to work on things by himself for now and follow his own interests.  However, my husband is thinking I need to go ahead and get him tested and take him in for the gifted class.  So, what do you think??

post #2 of 40

You test when there is a reason to test. Taking reading tests 4 times a year is excessive to me. Testing for giftedness has it's place. Homeschoolers don't usually have a reason but then most homeschoolers don't have access to free testing and using a school for only the gifted classes. If there is a program that might benefit your child in the present or future and the school is saying "we'll test him for free," I really don't see why not. It's not a dramatic thing, nothing difficult really. You always take the scores for what they are... a snapshot of your child at that moment. He may not need the scores now but you also don't know what the future will hold nor if this free testing opportunity will be available when you need it.

 

You might consider letting your son try the gifted class. He may actually enjoy it. My youngest just LOVED doing projects in the gifted class with others at that age through elementary. They did some great projects like putting together a school newscast, learning how to use green screen technology and make a film, chess, interesting math games, projects and presentations that sparked his imagination. My DD didn't have the same opportunity. Her gifted class was a cluster and so never had the time to "be alone" and do fun projects with the other gifted kids specifically but she always craved that round table sort of learning. Your DS is being given a rather fantastic opportunity to study at his own speed at home and come in for something fun and a little different with kids at school a few hours a week. That's a free enrichment class which he's certainly old enough for. It's different than doing projects with your siblings. The worst to happen is it's a poor fit and you pull him out. It may be he doesn't get anything from the projects but makes a few friends. He may enjoy it and find the experiences valuable.. Seems worth a try to me.

post #3 of 40

We're in a similar situation, homeschooling gifted kids who are considered non-attending students registered with the local school. We haven't done any testing ever as homeschoolers. (Eventually when my older kids entered high school as teens there was some testing done to deal with specific issues, but it was entirely irrelevant when they were homeschooling.)

 

Schools test kids a lot because they can't observe their progress in learning first-hand the way homeschooling parents can. They also do it for reporting and accountability reasons, neither of which apply to homeschoolers. 

 

Schools offer gifted classes because the regular school day tends not to serve gifted children's needs fully. Again, this is not relevant for a homeschooling family. My 8-year-old is doing algebra as her regular math work, reading advanced novels, writing a blog, doing science experiments on solubility, building a hydroponic window garden, studying architecture etc., etc. She doesn't need a special class twice a week as a reprieve from 3rd-grade spelling lists and multiplication worksheets. While I agree that working on things collaboratively as a group can be fun and nurtures social skills, my dd gets that experience elsewhere in her life -- through violin ensemble, soccer team, family meetings and projects. 

 

We've made the choice to homeschool for a lot of strong reasons and I think it can be a bit of a slippery slope sending a young child to school part-time, especially if it's for "fun stuff." My dd was attending school for PE and fitness for a while last term (by her request) but she was getting so much direct and indirect pressure from the other kids to come to school full-time that she gave up going at all. I'm grateful, because in her case I think it could have gone the other way: she could have believed what the kids were telling her, that she was missing out on important things by not attending and insisted on enrolling.

 

Miranda

post #4 of 40

I see this as nothing to do with your child but all to do with your DH! ahhhhhh, if my DH was doing 4 times a year testing we would not be together--we would not be on the "same page" in education or parenting or both.

 

That would be my starting point- if you DH is that concerned and IMO unaware that he feels the need to "test" this often that come across as really out of touch here.

 

As for what the teacher is asking - IMO I would not do that- to me, it's either in school or out at that young age and I live in a state that does the same thing (keep the scores they do nothing to earn!) - I have a major problem with it.

 

I do not see the need at age 7 for this, I can certainly see why the teacher would want this and I don't know that it's to benefit your child exactly.

 

Very sad to read your post and the thought of your children having to go in that often - WOW!

 

Is this about how you are "schooling" them in his eyes or what? 

post #5 of 40

In the situation described, I'd probably test if my child were broadly amenable to the process.  It's free, it doesn't take a huge amount of time, and it can yield a huge about of information on how your DS thinks.  You may find that information very useful in the future as you plan his homeschooling program.

 

Having the results can open doors to other enrichment activities, and individually-administered tests rarely expire, so they could be used in several years.  You could join the gifted class and see how it suits him. 

 

The gifted programming in our district provides my DD the only place in the school building where she seems comfortable in her skin.  This forms the basis for her social cohort, bringing together 7 kids from 6 different classrooms.  If your DS has a comfortable social cohort, then maybe it's not necessary. 

 

DD is currently going through private testing, and honestly, if there weren't a reason to test, I wouldn't.  This testing is way more than an IQ test, it's fairly taxing for her, and it appears to be bringing out all her anxieties.  So I wouldn't enter into a full neuropsych exam lightly (3 visits so far, 7.5 hours with 2+ more hours to go), but testing just for a gifted program is likely less involved.

post #6 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by treemom2 View Post

I am a homeschooling mom married to a teacher.  Four times a year my husband takes the children into his school and has them take the SRI to find their current reading level. . .he's done this for almost two years now.  Both my children are registered in the school as non-attending students, so their scores are put into the system for the classes they are "registered" for but don't attend.  Well, yesterday the gifted ed teacher approached my husband.  On the last test, my 7 year old (technically first grade) son tested in the 98% for reading, 5th grade level.  She would like me to bring my son in to her for testing and for gifted classes twice a week.  She brought up with my husband that often gifted children need to learn to work with others on projects and stuff. . .instead of just doing whatever on their own.  I can see this at home while we are working on things together, he hates working with his sister on stuff and won't do anything he doesn't want to do or see any value in doing.  I honestly don't see why he needs to be tested and I don't see why I need to take him in to the school, at least not now.  I don't plan on putting him in school full-time, ever.  I really don't want to take him to her classroom so he can learn to work on projects with others. . .I mean, he's only 7 years old and I think it's okay that he likes to work on things by himself for now and follow his own interests.  However, my husband is thinking I need to go ahead and get him tested and take him in for the gifted class.  So, what do you think??

 

It seems your DH can see some benefits to joining the class for a few hours every week. If he teaches in the same school or school district, maybe he's observed some benefits to other students who remind him of your (his) DS. It could be the kind of work they are doing, the resources they have, or a particular teacher in the program. My kids attended a gifted program with a fabulous teacher who has been with the program for over 30 years. This teacher is famous in the area and since he's taught generations of students, he's become a point of connection for many. He's acknowledged as an inspiration and motivating force for all. DD recently found out that her history teacher was also taught by this man, and they shared some laughs about their mutual experiences. 

 

To be honest, I'm not clear about your concerns. Has your DS refused to do the testing or to joining a group situation for a few hours every week? It sounds like your DS is an accomplished test-taker, given his results. The gifted tests aren't usually onerous. 

 

You mention that he hates working with his sister, but tense sibling relationships aren't unusual, even with kids who work well with other students. It's okay that your ds likes to work by himself and follow his own interests. However, one of the joys of working with others is finding like-minded peers who are equally enthusiastic about your interests or who introduce you to new interests. It can be really rewarding to find such a peer group, at any age. When my kids joined a gifted program, I think this was the biggest benefit and I know other families had the same experience. 

 

 

I would discuss it further with your DH and explore the benefits that he's identified, along with any concerns you have. I'd visit the gifted class for an observation session to suss out the learning environment and talk to the teacher too. This may be a terrific opportunity for your DS. Or maybe not. Maybe it will be more appropriate in a couple of years. You won't know until you explore it further. 

 

post #7 of 40


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by treemom2 View Post

I am a homeschooling mom married to a teacher.  Four times a year my husband takes the children into his school and has them take the SRI to find their current reading level. . .he's done this for almost two years now.  Both my children are registered in the school as non-attending students, so their scores are put into the system for the classes they are "registered" for but don't attend.  Well, yesterday the gifted ed teacher approached my husband.  On the last test, my 7 year old (technically first grade) son tested in the 98% for reading, 5th grade level.  She would like me to bring my son in to her for testing and for gifted classes twice a week.  She brought up with my husband that often gifted children need to learn to work with others on projects and stuff. . .instead of just doing whatever on their own.  I can see this at home while we are working on things together, he hates working with his sister on stuff and won't do anything he doesn't want to do or see any value in doing.  I honestly don't see why he needs to be tested and I don't see why I need to take him in to the school, at least not now.  I don't plan on putting him in school full-time, ever.  I really don't want to take him to her classroom so he can learn to work on projects with others. . .I mean, he's only 7 years old and I think it's okay that he likes to work on things by himself for now and follow his own interests.  However, my husband is thinking I need to go ahead and get him tested and take him in for the gifted class.  So, what do you think??

I can understand maybe once or twice a year- but FOUR TIMES?? Way too excessive. AS for gifted ed..... well, they can be good for socialization skills, teamwork, creativity, etc...... If you don't feel comfy about this, go in classroom, to observe maybe once or twice by yourself (without husband) and then go in again with your DS to see if you like the classroom by then, but from your post, probably not. and actually seven is a GREAT time for learning this. after all, you notice problems at home when he tries to work with others, even when they're not bothersome he can't really do it, right? if you decide not to now, then try it maybe next year, when hes had plenty of time for working according to interests, etc, starts asking for other kids to work with him (NOT siblings). usually this happens between pre-K-3rd grade, when they start to want more of the world, met other kids, do new things. at home is not really ideal for this, but if your kid does things like band, karate, etc. then its ok because hes getting interaction people skills etc. there. 
 

 

post #8 of 40

I can understand how the testing would not be useful to you right now if you're homeschooling, but I can also see many ways in which the results might be useful.  If I were homeschooling, I'd like to monitor my child's progress from period to period so that I could adjust my teaching as seemed indicated and make sure we were making progress.  Of course, depending on what the test is and how the results are reported, they may or may not be useful for this purpose.  But even if they aren't useful to you I can see where they might at some time be useful with outside activities.

 

I'm not really sure what your objection to the gifted programs is, though? You said your husband and/or the teacher think it would help him learn to work with others and do things that aren't his preferred activity, and it sounds like he really could use practice in those areas... so why not take him?  Those seem like awesome reasons, honestly, and skills you'll have a much harder time teaching with just a couple people at home as opposed to in a group setting at a school.  7 is definitely not too young to begin learning cooperative skills, and to be honest, I would say that in many ways learning to work with others, negotiate interpersonal conflicts, deal with other people's schedules and other people's work are all life skills that are as essential to my life as an adult.  It sounds like he's going to spend the vast majority of his time being able to work on what he wants so I'm thinking the benefit of interacting with a peer group and learning to navigate the group setting is probably well worth it.  And anyhow, he might really enjoy an environment where he might get to meet some peers. It's hard to find groups of gifted kids and you've got a free 'in'.

post #9 of 40

 

 

Quote:
 Those seem like awesome reasons, honestly, and skills you'll have a much harder time teaching with just a couple people at home as opposed to in a group setting at a school.  7 is definitely not too young to begin learning cooperative skills, and to be honest, I would say that in many ways learning to work with others, negotiate interpersonal conflicts, deal with other people's schedules and other people's work are all life skills that are as essential to my life as an adult.  It sounds like he's going to spend the vast majority of his time being able to work on what he wants so I'm thinking the benefit of interacting with a peer group and learning to navigate the group setting is probably well worth it.  And anyhow, he might really enjoy an environment where he might get to meet some peers. It's hard to find groups of gifted kids and you've got a free 'in'.

 

 

kind of seems like no reason to HS when the school can do so much???

 

 

 

 

Quote:
 I don't plan on putting him in school full-time, ever.  I really don't want to take him to her classroom so he can learn to work on projects with others. . .I mean, he's only 7 years old and I think it's okay that he likes to work on things by himself for now and follow his own interests.

IMO it appears you know your child and feel you are doing what is best- I personally respect that--he is only 7, in my state that is the age of schooling to start, I don't see any reason to rush things in your situation.

post #10 of 40
Quote:

Originally Posted by Aufilia View Post

 

If I were homeschooling, I'd like to monitor my child's progress from period to period so that I could adjust my teaching as seemed indicated and make sure we were making progress. 


Have you ever homeschooled? The reason I ask is that I've homeschooled my kids for many years and it has always been patently obvious to me, since I'm embroiled in their learning day-to-day, when my kids have been progressing quickly and when they have not. My kids have been tested once every three years and there has never been the slightest revelation in their test scores. They always told me exactly what I already knew.

 

I think testing is useful if you're a teacher who has 20 or 30 kids you're trying to monitor progress on. Or if you're a parent uninvolved in your child's daily schooling who appreciates test results as a form of communication from the teacher. It's entirely superfluous to me as a homeschooling parent, though.

 

Miranda

post #11 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

kind of seems like no reason to HS when the school can do so much???


???

 

Homeschooling isn't just something people do when they have crappy schools. My local school is fantastic. We've still homeschooled for myriad good reasons.

 

Miranda

post #12 of 40

Seven year olds can and SHOULD learn to work with others, and no, one's sister isn't usually the easiest person to work on that with. We homeschooled until the kids were 10 and 12, and I actively sought out activities where they could work with and learn with other children.

 

If your son isn't getting chances to work with other children and develop those skills, what would wrong with a gifted class twice a week? How is that different than a homeschool co-op or scout group or class through a museum?

 

Homeschooling doesn't mean that you have to keep your kids away from other children and adults - not by a long shot.

 

I think it's nice for kids to have a balance between being able to follow their own interest and being able to work with others.

post #13 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post


Have you ever homeschooled? The reason I ask is that I've homeschooled my kids for many years and it has always been patently obvious to me, since I'm embroiled in their learning day-to-day, when my kids have been progressing quickly and when they have not. My kids have been tested once every three years and there has never been the slightest revelation in their test scores. They always told me exactly what I already knew.


 

That depends. My school-aged kiddo is enrolled in public school, where she hasn't learned a single darn thing all year but gets lots of very useful free therapy and social skills training to support the 3 private therapies we go to weekly.  Since she learns nothin' at school we read and do math every day, but it's hard to pin down her level on either subject since we haven't done any actual testing since the end of 2010, so I don't have a recent baseline and her learning comes in sporadic leaps. Her particular developmental issues also make things difficult.  So yes, I'd do work with her learning day-to-day, and I'd still love to have more data to go on.  Unfortunately, since her grade doesn't do any big tests, all I get out of the school is that she's surpassed their reading and math curriculum, which is soooo not useful.  After her birthday in a few weeks I'm planning to give her an Informal Reading Assessment because I think her reading level may actually be a lot higher than I've been guessing.

post #14 of 40

 

 

Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

kind of seems like no reason to HS when the school can do so much???


???

 

 

I can see no reason given what the OP said that there needs to be a reason to put him in the gifted program. I fully support HS (he is only 7!) why this push to put him into a program at a formal school??!! Unless the OP keeps her child under a rock I am sure he is interacting with others (outside of his sister) and at 7 it happens to be just fine to want (and nothing indicates that he is not happy) to work on his own interests at this time.

 

The OP also has not said how she is HS him and there seems a big jump in many of the responses to want a more formal type of education for this child, we do not know if the OP is approaching a semi unschooling environment or not here. Again, I can't grasp this big push for a program that the parent is not overseeing and how this is so beneficial at this age.

 

IMO there is a hugh difference between a HS co-op (scouting, etc) and being in a formal school setting where the class is graded and that reflects on the person "teaching" as with the test scores- big big difference.


Edited by serenbat - 1/16/12 at 4:55am
post #15 of 40

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

 

The OP also has not said how she is HS him and there seems a big jump in many of the responses to want a more formal type of education for this child, we do not know if the OP is approaching a semi unschooling environment or not here. Again, I can't grasp this big push for a program that the parent is not overseeing and how this is so beneficial at this age.

 

 

I went back and read through the thread. I don't think "big push" is a fair characterization of the responses. There have been some posts questioning the need for testing and expressing hesitation about letting him join the class on a part-time basis. I think those posts rest on some unestablished fears and don't adequately take into consideration the father's opinions and wishes. There are posts suggesting that there may be good reasons to test or to explore the idea of attending the class on a trial basis or to at least keep an open mind about the idea for the future. No one has suggested that the OP should completely abandon homeschooling or questioned the benefits of homeschooling.  

 

One thing that has been missing is how the boy feels about the idea of attending the gifted class a few times every week. It would be nice to know what he thinks, other than the OP's statement that he doesn't like working with his sister. 

 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

 

I do not see the need at age 7 for this, I can certainly see why the teacher would want this and I don't know that it's to benefit your child exactly.

 

 


 

Okay, I'll bite. Why WOULD the teacher want this? She's probably got her hands full with the students already enrolled in her class. There are waiting lists for gifted programs in many areas. I'm impressed that she cares enough to seek out a parent and extend an invitation to join the class on a part-time basis. Apparently, she respects the concept of homeschooling. She hasn't suggested that he enroll full-time. She's identified a possible benefit (working with a peer group) that is difficult to replicate in a home setting. She's willing to work with a new student, for his benefit, not hers. 

 

Honestly, it's a refreshing change from reading posts on Gifted Ed boards about parents who are hitting brick walls when they try to convince schools to test their children for giftedness or to allow their children to enter gifted programs. I thought it was to nice to read about a caring, welcoming teacher who is willing to be flexible. I see no evidence that the teacher has some other agenda.  

 

 

post #16 of 40

 

 

Quote:
Why WOULD the teacher want this? 

 

 

for the exact same reason my state wants HS test results

 

this teacher and this school are not doing a thing to educate this child yet they reap the rewards from this child, you have a 7 year old testing at a 5 grade level, you need not do any thing as a teacher yet this child will help boost your overall on paper assessment - why not want this child? it's an easy student and apparently there is room for him 

 

certain districts in my state really love students like this, in my state we need evaluations each year (done primarily by grade level PS teachers) I have been told countless times how much teachers/schools love the benefits of this-it's a total win win for them

post #17 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

 

this teacher and this school are not doing a thing to educate this child yet they reap the rewards from this child, you have a 7 year old testing at a 5 grade level, you need not do any thing as a teacher yet this child will help boost your overall on paper assessment - why not want this child? it's an easy student and apparently there is room for him 

 

 

 

The teacher doesn't have to do anything? From my understanding of the OP, it's a project-based gifted classroom. That type of class involves a huge amount of effort on the part of the teacher. The teacher is accountable to a lot of people - not just her supervising principal, but also the parents of the students.  If she is doing nothing, there would be a lot of unhappy parents putting pressure on her, the school and the principal, the school district supervisors and probably a politician or two.

 

The teacher will have to prepare materials for the student, accommodate him in the classroom, mark his tests and assignments, and complete his report card, at the very least. In one school district that my dc attended, gifted programming was in the Special Education classification, which meant the teacher also had to attend a Special Ed team meeting to report on the students on a regular basis and complete an IEP for each student in the class. Believe me, no teacher was actively seeking out extra students because s/he had nothing to do. 

 

Now, I suppose it is possible that the teacher will do nothing with this student and with the others in her class. That's one of the reasons I suggested in my first post that the OP should observe the class and talk to the teacher, as well as discussing it further with her DH. If the class really isn't appropriate at this time, then they will be making an informed decision. Keeping an open mind, rather than leaping to judgement on a bunch of unfounded assumptions, is a very good strategy to model for children. 

 

 

 
post #18 of 40

twice a week to me is very little as far as how much the teacher is putting into this child (the teacher has to prepare the work regardless of the child), over all the school is not contributing to the students education thus far 

 

 

 

Quote:
 Keeping an open mind, rather than leaping to judgement on a bunch of unfounded assumptions

 it's not an assumption to already know the school is getting credit for this child they are not educating, I highly doubt if the child is in this class the teacher is not being assessed on their performance and scores

 

Nothing to me indicates that the school is what the child needs at this point based on the OP's comments.

post #19 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

twice a week to me is very little as far as how much the teacher is putting into this child (the teacher has to prepare the work regardless of the child), over all the school is not contributing to the students education thus far 


Prepping a lesson does not equal TEACHING it. Yes, she has to prep it, but how it goes will depend on the kids in the classroom. Adding one child will change that. Sometimes significantly. I teach adults, and I won't let students audit if they're only be going to attending once a week in a 2x-3x a week class. It simply changes the classroom dynamic too much. 

 

No, the school isn't contributing to the child's education, but they have an opportunity for this student, and they are offering it. The parents need not take it. If the child is happy at home and the parents think he gets enough time negotiating with/playing with other children, then he doesn't need it. But nothing the OP has said indicates that it might be a bad fit. What she asked was "is it worth testing?" It is if the parents want the child to attend the program, it's probably not if they don't.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

 

 it's not an assumption to already know the school is getting credit for this child they are not educating, I highly doubt if the child is in this class the teacher is not being assessed on their performance and scores

 

I don't know how it works where you live but where we live: The school does not get credit for teaching children who do not attend, even if they are enrolled as non-attending students. They do not get state money. They get state money for children who are in the classrooms. This is why they have such draconian attendance policies. If a child is unexcused, they don't get money for that child that day.

 

In terms of tests, they do not get to add the children's scores to their performance results. Furthermore, I highly DOUBT that this teacher is being assessed on their performance and scores. Usually it's the classroom teacher, not the pull-out teachers. So, our dd had pull-out reading and math last year. Her 'homeroom' teacher's class was the class that would have gotten the 'credit' (but since they don't test 1st graders, it's moot).

 

I agree that testing HSing kids 4x a year is a bit excessive. Once a year should be more than enough.

 

But really, I think the discussion should be between the mom and the dad, and their son. Perhaps he would benefit. Perhaps he wouldn't I don't have enough data to judge.

post #20 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

this teacher and this school are not doing a thing to educate this child yet they reap the rewards from this child, you have a 7 year old testing at a 5 grade level, you need not do any thing as a teacher yet this child will help boost your overall on paper assessment - why not want this child?

 


The OP is in Belgium. I admit that I'm not intimately familiar with the funding and assessment models in every country, but I do believe that the American model of rewarding teachers and schools whether directly or indirectly for high standardized test scores is rather unusual. It's certainly looked upon very oddly by my Canadian compatriots. Here poor test scores and/or waning test scores are seen as demonstrating a need for extra funding, programs, resources and such.

 

Miranda

 

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