How do you find out your child's "upper level" in terms of thier ability to learn, especially in the area of math? I have no idea where the "sweet spot" is for her in terms of being optimally or properly challenged.
How do I find this out? How have you all found this out?
I'm now feeling more of a sense of urgency to discover this, mainly because she will be moving to middle school next year, and pretty much from here on out, what she does academically will start shaping and determining what she can become, and where she will go. My husband would be considered gifted too (most likely me too), but 30-40 years ago, other than IQ testing, not too much was done for kids like him (us). I finally asked him two years ago what his IQ was. He informed me that is was 157 when tested (I know, depending on the test and the testing circumstances, this an be a bit off). He has told me stories about being unchallenged/frustrated all through his schooling years, and as my daughter is a carbon copy of her daddy, I'm hoping to affect change with her schooling experience. Additionally, I have FINALLY convinced my husband that we need to do further testing for her (and soon for her 4 year old brother), so that we can get more information as to what to do and how far to go to improve her educational setting.
Well maybe a some background information on my daughter would be helpful.
My 12 yo DD took the CogAT twice at her school; once in the fall of 2nd grade: Verbal 84, Quantitative 50, and Nonverbal 89; and in the fall of 3rd grade: Verbal 98, Quantitative 31, Nonverbal 98 (qualifying her for gifted services). Her school district has slowly but surely eroded the GLO program to where it really doesn't exist - it went from a district who was staffed with a district-wide director of gifted services with a designated gifted teacher at every school for pull-out (with all the teachers working on/achieving their certifcation in gifted education) and offering parent seminars, to probably just enough in the annual budget to cover testing and maybe a little more, with a teacher designated at each school to act as a "consultant" in addition to their own, seperate classroom duties, and the other teachers not able to/unwilling to pay out of their pockets to get their certification (and I sure don't blame them at all!). But at least the school moved to the clustering model a few years ago, and at least she has been grouped together with other gifted kids.
I sent her to a play preschool for 2 years, which she loved and the experience did boatloads for her socialization. She started reading by the end of K, so not an early reader, but showed the classic signs of giftedness by speaking clearly early with a large vocabulary, loved doing math, and generally was curious about EVERYTHING. Little did I know, but I spent a lot of time unschooling her! And she also showed some of the not-so-positive signs, such as intensity, difficult transitions, and behavioral issues (at home, not at school), double dose of stubborn, and had huge crying fits which could last up to 45 minutes.
Looking back now, there were signs and evidence that she wasn't challenged in school, certainly as seen in her progress reports starting back before she was tested, but it wasn't so obvious because I moved her out of our home school district mid-way through 1st grade to a school that has multiage classes, which allowed her, at least to some degree, to work ahead at her own pace. She also had teachers that "got" her, and were able to keep her somewhat challenged (and two of these teachers were very close to completing their certification, and have gifted kids of their own). Fast forward to this year, 6th grade. It became clear early on that she really is just coasting, and not really learning a lot (especially in math). I have brought it to her teachers' attention a few times, but with classes of 35 students each, it's been hard for them to challenge her.
So I am meeting with the counselor at the middle school on Friday. I have to figure out what they do for gifted kids, and specifically what they will do for my DD. Other than being a slow starter and/or a slowly gained confidence in math, she has always breezed through school with (almost) all A's. She reads at a 10th grade level, has a remarkable memory for information (especially science/animal based), and has scored very well on state-wide testing. She is also what I lovingly call an "odd duck"; for example, a few years ago she decided that she thought origami seemed cool, so she looked up how to do it on the internet and taught herself. She is a voracious and speedy reader; she can plow through 10-15 books a week (at least 200-300 pages in length - usually YA/Teen and sometimes Adult fiction, with a fair amount of various non-fiction). She takes at least 3-4 non-school books to school to read whenever she can (which can be a fair amount). There are times at home I actually have to tell her to STOP reading. I don't know if what I'm typing to describe her does her personality justice!
Even with a chaotic 7th grade level math class this year, she is getting an A without a lot of effort. And rumor has it, that once she starts a particular level of math next year, she will not be allowed to move up during the year (hope this is not true!). This is troubling to hear, because if that is true, it could mean they are not as flexible (i.e. compacting/acceleration) with gifted kids as I would have hoped. And specifically troubling for a subject, such as math, since it seems to me it is a hard to enrich or go in depth with this subject, as compared to something like Language Arts/English, Social Studies, etc. So she might be doomed to spend the year not learning much.
So again, what would you do and/or what have you done to figure out your child's "upper level" in terms of their ability to learn?
***See update within the thread!***
Edited by oaksie68 - 5/14/12 at 12:31pm