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Out of grade testing

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

So, tonight was parent/teacher conferences.  At ours was the gifted coordinator.  She gave us some information for some out of grade testing.  She's in 4th grade, so this would be the EXLORE test.  The gifted coordinator said that it was totally up to us.  If it was something that we thought would cause any kind of anxiety, she would totally say don't do it, but it could give us some good information about where she's at, in comparison to other kids in the top 1%.  DD has tested on the state standardized tests at the 99% for language and 98% for math.  She said that in 6th grade, they can take the SAT (seemed to be saying that it was encouraged then), and this would be good prep for that, as well as giving more data to compare (establishing a baseline and the like). 

 

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this test.  DD tests well, and has little to no anxiety with testing out of grade or testing in an environment where there would be older kids around her (as an example, she has studied for and taken her tech level amateur radio license exam, and is taking a class with a friend while studying for her general exam.  The class is mostly adults). 

post #2 of 10

Our experiences were always positive with out-of-level testing. Both my kids took the SCAT in 4th grade and my DD took the SAT when she was 11. We're thinking of having DS take the SAT too (he's 11 now but will be 12 before we can schedule it.) My kids liked it and it was a big confidence builder. It didn't really tell us anything we didn't know and we were already getting accommodations so not necessary...still, glad they did it.

post #3 of 10
We don't test in our family unless we need the data. So if you'd do this for access to programs at school or in the summer, or to build the case for further acceleration or enrichment, then EXPLORE is a good way to do it. If it's just to see where she is but without a purpose for that information, then I'd skip it.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Geo - That's a good point.  I am thinking longer term, I guess.  I don't know if there are extra opportunities that will be available if she takes the EXPLORE.  It could definitely lead to some program availability at the NU CTD, so that is something to consider.  But, come middle and high school, her experience and exposure to EXPLORE could make an impact on how she does on future testing that could absolutely open doors.  At least, that was what was implied by the coordinator.  I don't think there are any further accommodations that could be made in elementary, but she's only 2 years from jr. high. 

 

Knowing that Emily loves taking tests, really is not intimidated by that kind of testing environment, and is not worried about a test that will definitely be too hard, where she won't know all the answers, I think that it might be worth it for the testing experience. 

post #5 of 10

When we were in high school, to prep for the SAT, you took the PSAT.  Then they added the EXPLORE to prep for the PSAT to prep for the SAT.  Now the suggestion is to take it in 4th grade to prep for 8th ...  All along, they take annual state tests, for which they practice and prep for daily for months on end.

 

I'm sure she'll have plenty of practice filling in the bubbles before 8th grade.  ;)

 

Now, if you want her to attend a camp at Northwestern or something, that's a different story.  It's cheap, it's relatively short, and the talent development center will send you data and interpretation.  ETA:  also potentially useful is that the Northwestern one holds an awards ceremony for kids who score highly.  This is sometimes the only recognition some of these kids get for their accomplishments.  There are times when this is sufficient reason to test, for those kids who could really use that boost to show them that they are high achievers and this is something to be honored.

 

As a matter of note, a friend's 4th grader took it last year and he hit the ceiling on everything.  The report they got was not sufficient information for them or the school to figure out where he really belonged in math.  I'm not sure what it looks like for kids not quite that far off the right end of the distribution.
 

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

Haha.  I know I'm not over thinking this or anything!lol.gif 

 

Access to the summer camps would be pretty cool.  NU has some super cool programs, and it isn't a ridiculous distance for me. 

post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by bec View Post

It could definitely lead to some program availability at the NU CTD, so that is something to consider.  But, come middle and high school, her experience and exposure to EXPLORE could make an impact on how she does on future testing that could absolutely open doors.  At least, that was what was implied by the coordinator.  I don't think there are any further accommodations that could be made in elementary, but she's only 2 years from jr. high. 

 

 

Talent searches are decent reasons to test. We know many kids who have participated and loved them. My kids took the tests for qualification for John Hopkins CTY and while we have yet to use the programs (expensive and not in line with their particular interests) it was always nice to have the option.

 

As for testing experience, my eldest in particular did benefit from taking the SAT at 11. She thought it was rather exciting at the time. She got to take it on a college campus with teens all in their jammies (which she thought was hilarious.) A good friend took it with her and he was 12. She knew the results wouldn't count for anything and she was able to leave just proud to have completed. She ended up doing really well. She's taking the PSAT as a junior today (her 3rd time) and she continues to enjoy the process. Even the SCAT was valuable for her in particular because she never believed she was any good at math. The SCAT in 4th grade opened her eyes and then opened her willingness to accelerate in that area where she'd always resisted accommodation before. 

 

I wouldn't send a kid in who was freaked out by it but if you treat it as not a big deal (which really, it isn't,) she may actually enjoy it and feel proud of herself for just accomplishing it. I know my DS is looking forward to the opportunity. 

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Whatsnextmom - That's kind of what I was thinking.  Good for giving us options, and I think she would have a good time doing it.  She is not the kind of kid that would stress about this, or I wouldn't be considering it.

post #9 of 10

My son took the Explore last year in 4th.  It's a test aimed at 8th graders, so it has quite a bit of out of level material for your child. We didn't have my son study for it at all-- he just showed up and took it, ad he thought it was really fun.  

 

After getting the results,  we realized how much of an outlier he is and it was tremendously helpful to us in understanding his academic needs.  It also qualified him for Talent Search summer camps and DYS.  Don't worry about your child hitting the ceilings in 4th grade. but maybe in later grades. If it's offered and your dd thinks it would be fu, I think there's no reason NOT to take it.  Plus, it's cheap. 

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks, Chaimom - That's kind of what I was thinking.  It's been helpful hearing from people that have taken it.

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