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Timeline for testing 1st grader

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I’m usually on this forum because of my 9 year old 5th grader. This post is about my 6 year old 1st grader.

 

But first some background on my son to give some perspective on the history with my daughters school. My son asked at the end of K to skip 1st grade. We met with the school principle to discuss ways to make 1st grade more engaging for him. It turned out that they were completely unwilling to get him in to the pull out gifted program and completely unwilling to arrange testing. We ended up deciding to look at skipping 1st grade, but still couldn’t convince them to do testing. We ended up contacting the principle of the full time gifted program who arranged testing and ended up recommending both the skip and enrollment in the full time gifted program. At least 2 of his classmates in K were also clearly advanced and the school continually discouraged testing. One did eventually end up going to the full time gifted program in 3rd grade.

 

The school is the special needs cluster program. The school is also very into heterogeneous groupings for classes.

 

My daughter is in 1st grade. She has amazing reasoning and problem solving abilities. She enjoys Math and Science and does very well in both. She is behind in reading. She spoke late and has been slightly delayed in speech. She receives speech services at school and has since last year. In K she displayed almost no interest in learning to read and we pretty much just followed her lead. She very recently started having a real interest in learning to read and asking all those questions about words, spellings, sounds, etc. that kids ask when they are ready to learn to read.

 

From our past experiences with this school we knew it could take forever to arrange testing. We would like to get her tested this spring for admission to the full time gifted program in the fall. The program starts in 2nd grade.

 

We had conferences earlier this week. The teacher said that she is well behaved, enthusiastic, doing well in Math. She mentioned that she was behind where she would like to see her in Reading being at only a DRA level of 2, but expects to see her at an 8 by Christmas and on therefore on track to hit the goal of 18 by the end of 1st.

 

My husband asked about testing for the full time gifted program and got what we now consider the party line at her school of “don’t like to test until 2nd grade, can’t test again for 18 months if she doesn’t qualify so they advise waiting, testing being challenging for that young of students......”. She said they do group testing in 2nd, but if we want her to be tested before then we needed to speak to the gifted pull-out teacher.

 

I emailed and asked for the contact information for the gifted pull-out teacher. She wrote me back to say that she wouldn’t recommend a 1st grader due to all of the reasons she mentioned to my husband. She also reminded me that my daughter isn’t where they want her to be in reading.

 

The school uses the KBIT brief as an assessment of ability and the KTEA math and reading for admission to the gifted programs. I really think she’ll qualify on the KBIT and think she’d qualify on the KTEA math even without progress in reading. If we wait until spring she may have made leaps in reading.

 

- Would you want testing knowing her teacher doesn’t recommend it at this time?

- Would you want testing knowing her reading is behind?

- Would you wait until spring knowing that the district requires 18 months before they would retest? So if she didn’t make it into the program this spring she couldn’t retest until 3rd for admission in 4th. Where if we tested now and she didn’t make it into the program she could retest over the summer after 2nd for admission in 3rd. Private testing in 2nd would be an option for us if she didn’t qualify this spring.

post #2 of 10
Jolly, in your situation, I would get your daughter tested asap, not for gifted testing, but to understand why a bright 6 year old, after a year of kindergarten and a quarter of first grade is on a DRA2. In my district, she would have been held back in kindergarten.

What evidence does your teacher have that your DD will make 2 years of progress in reading in the remaining 3/4 of the school year?
post #3 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyGG View Post

 

 

My daughter is in 1st grade. She has amazing reasoning and problem solving abilities. She enjoys Math and Science and does very well in both. She is behind in reading. She spoke late and has been slightly delayed in speech. She receives speech services at school and has since last year. In K she displayed almost no interest in learning to read and we pretty much just followed her lead. She very recently started having a real interest in learning to read and asking all those questions about words, spellings, sounds, etc. that kids ask when they are ready to learn to read.

 

 

Specifically, what speech is delayed? Kids with articulation sometimes have trouble learning to read because the sounds they say dont 'match' the sounds they hear, same with kids that have syntactic errors.

 

Sometime kids that are just 'late' speakers are just that. 

 

There is sometimes a pattern seen with kids that get speech services, but it is not consistant as a blanket statement : it more matters WHY they get speech and then how does that impact reading/writing.

 

 

From our past experiences with this school we knew it could take forever to arrange testing. We would like to get her tested this spring for admission to the full time gifted program in the fall. The program starts in 2nd grade.

 

We had conferences earlier this week. The teacher said that she is well behaved, enthusiastic, doing well in Math. She mentioned that she was behind where she would like to see her in Reading being at only a DRA level of 2, but expects to see her at an 8 by Christmas and on therefore on track to hit the goal of 18 by the end of 1st.

 

 I dont agree with it, but many  schools will not accept a kiddo that is 'behind' in a core subject to a fulltime GT program. Instead, they often offer subject acceleration for specific areas and then support in the others.

 

If your area offers GIEPs, you are much more likely to be able to address both high and low skill sets specifically tailored for her. 

 

Can it be done, ABSOLUTELY. But is it often done, no.

 

In our area, we have a great (private but some kids are supported there by local schools) school that works with bright kids that also happen to have learning disabilities. It is a fabulous setting for kids that may otherwise be very very frustrated in our local schools.

 

 

 

The school uses the KBIT brief as an assessment of ability and the KTEA math and reading for admission to the gifted programs. I really think she’ll qualify on the KBIT and think she’d qualify on the KTEA math even without progress in reading. If we wait until spring she may have made leaps in reading.

 

I would definately see what the qualifications are. Are they All or nothing, or can you do a profile or a portfolio or independent testing later?

 

Some of that would impact what could happen in the future.

 

What if she does not make leaps in reading?

 

- Would you want testing knowing her teacher doesn’t recommend it at this time?  

 

Yes, but more for looking for learning difficulties in reading than for other purposes. Specifically, if they are looking for a potential concern in reading, they can test much much more throughly and specifically pinpoint areas that could help her improve.

 

- Would you want testing knowing her reading is behind?

Yes, see above.

 

- Would you wait until spring knowing that the district requires 18 months before they would retest? So if she didn’t make it into the program this spring she couldn’t retest until 3rd for admission in 4th. Where if we tested now and she didn’t make it into the program she could retest over the summer after 2nd for admission in 3rd. Private testing in 2nd would be an option for us if she didn’t qualify this spring.

 

No. But read above.   I would be concerned that if she did not test in-- but the testing did not give you a lot of information that you could be looking a potential issues that could be better addressed sooner rather than later.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

Jolly, in your situation, I would get your daughter tested asap, not for gifted testing, but to understand why a bright 6 year old, after a year of kindergarten and a quarter of first grade is on a DRA2. In my district, she would have been held back in kindergarten.
What evidence does your teacher have that your DD will make 2 years of progress in reading in the remaining 3/4 of the school year?
 
Yes, yes.
 
In our area-- your DD would be enrolled (at a DRA of 2 in 1st) in a tiered intervention system since it is about a year behind expected levels for this time in 1st. She is neither young or old for grade so that would not come into play.
 
 

 

 

As Geofizz states : I would be concerned that a bright kiddo is that far below grade level.  Lack of interest is fine: often bright kids will skate along in areas or subjects they are not interested in. But to be struggling in a specific area would concern me.

 

 

 

How is her writing?

 

I ask because as 1st goes along the writing will increase. Some kiddos really really have a hard time with the increased written work. Especially kids that are just learning to read- all the sudden it impacts spelling, writing, following directions, etc.

 

The first 1/4 of 1st is mostly review and reinforcement of K skills. This second semester you are likely to see the workload pick up and the reading/writing demands increase heavily.

 

 

What kind of learner is your DD?

 

An auditory or kinesthetic learner is likely to have done well in K/early 1st due to the nature of the curriculum being involved in talking/listening/interaction and . As the grades move forward some of it shifts to more independent visual learning (reading). 

 

Have you tested her vision?

 

 

 

 

It is possible that she does make up the ground in reading now that she is interested- if so FABULOUS. I would then test for GT at the standard testing timeframe that the school requests (I am assuming spring here so they can fill in 2nd grade slots for Fall). Especially if you are concerned she would then have to wait 18 months- the slots in 3rd may be much much harder to come by. Also, check on independent testing. Some schools will not accept outside testing.

 

But, I honestly would request more in-depth testing than just the GT standard. If it shows no concerns, GREAT! But if there is something that needs more intensive remediation and/or a different curriculum to fit your DD then you can get it now instead of next year or the tail end of 1st.

 

 

Edited to add:

 

Just so you know my point of view.  

 

I have worked with so many many kids that get referred for indepth evaluations in 3/4th + grades that are bright and have compensated for reading/writing or math disabilities for many years but as the workload increased in upper Elem, they start to struggle. 

 

I am a huge proponent of early intervention and really think that standard curriculum does not always work for all kids.

 

I have seen kids that get intervention in K/1/2 and go on to take off academically- they just needed a little more time. It is possible they would have taken off on their own, but it is also possible they would not have without the extra support.

 

I am also a parent of two bright kiddos that happen to have special needs.


Edited by KCMichigan - 11/8/12 at 5:48am
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Honestly. I'm not worried about the reading. She simply wasn't that interested in learning to read last year. She is interested now and is making strides. Being a bit of a late reader really doesn't concern me, due both to her speech delays (probably caused by chronic ear infections around age 1) and simply her lack of interest. At this point neither her teacher or her school are especially concerned with her reading yet. We are all aware and keeping an eye on it. They do offer reading recovery in 1st grade and she has not been recommended for it. She's not being expected to make 2 years of progress this year. They want the kids at her school to be at a DRA of 3 when they leave kindergarten and an 18 when they leave 1st.

 

My daughter is a phenomenally stubborn child. Now that learning to read is something that she wants to do I have no doubt she'll learn it. If she has trouble learning now that she's interested I'll worry.

 

This schools time frame for testing does not fit the time frame of the rest of the district. So the fact that they want to wait until second is somewhat arbitrary. This school is known for their unwillingness to test. The full time gifted program spot in 2nd fill up quickly and usually results in a waiting list who don't go until 3rd. Placement in third is usually not an issue. I'm very involved in the school that the full time gifted program is housed in as my son attends there. They will accept outside testing.

 

Her writing is fine and she really loves writing. Though it is limited by knowing relatively few words right now she does do fine and enjoys it.

 

Even if I were to push for testing earlier it wouldn't tell me much. They use the KBIT brief and the KTEA reading and math. These are simply brief assessments not full scale testing. They aren't particularly useful tests for teasing out specific issues. No one is recommending testing for learning disabilities. Our school does not do GIEPs. I live in a state that has absolutely no gifted education mandate or funding. She does have an IEP for speech and is making satisfactory progress on it.


Edited by JollyGG - 11/8/12 at 7:10am
post #5 of 10

It sounds like she's doing really well in the program she's in right now. She's getting services for her speech. Her teacher says she's well-behaved and enthusiastic. She's doing great in math and science and is learning how to read. Sounds like a pretty good fit. Are you sure another year at this school would be bad for her while she's waits for testing in 2nd grade?

 

If she's stubborn, are you sure you want her in the full-time gifted program prior to total fluency in reading and writing? 

 

I guess, based on what you said, I'd wait. My own youngest child was not so motivated academically... he loved math and science too. Didn't read fluently until after turning 7 due to some vision issues and suspected dyslexia and behind in writing. He was in an immersion school so getting something special there but really, until 3rd grade, didn't need much more than his peers. He was just happy to be in a social environment doing things he knew he could succeed in. In middle school, he's very academically driven but really, he played most of elementary.

post #6 of 10

I said that going from a DRA2 to an 18 is 2 years of growth because in our district, the end of K target is 8 and the end of 1st grade target is 18.  Even the non-readers coming into kindergarten are often placed at a 2-3 when they start reading groups at the end of the first quarter in kindergarten.

 

If you are confident that she'll learn it, that's great.  In our house, the learning disabilities have first shown themselves in my kids being really stubbornly against trying.    Either way, your daughter seems well placed this year.

post #7 of 10

I'm just curious, why is testing and gifted programs so important for you? Do you feel that your childs needs are not met in her current environment? From everything that you have described your child is very happy and striving where she is at right now. I personally would not be testing and trying to get my child into a gifted program if they are behind in their current curriculum. She might do very well in math and science right now, but very soon all her math and science assignments will require her to read the assignments and if she's not able to do that, she won't be able to perform well in those areas on her own.

I agree with previous posters, don't push gifted testing. I too would be more interested to find out why otherwise bright first grader is still at DRA 2.

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

It sounds like she's doing really well in the program she's in right now. She's getting services for her speech. Her teacher says she's well-behaved and enthusiastic. She's doing great in math and science and is learning how to read. Sounds like a pretty good fit. Are you sure another year at this school would be bad for her while she's waits for testing in 2nd grade?

 

That was my first instinct upon reading about the original post: what is it about the current situation that you feel needs to be addressed such that early testing is required? I would be inclined to leave her exactly where she is and not do early testing. Getting a decent fit in a regular classroom is awesome. It may not last: I know kids who have gone from barely-reading to a 5th grade level in as little as three weeks, and that was a complete game-changer for them. But if the game hasn't changed yet, I'd tend to watch and wait.

 

Miranda

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

I am satisfied with the fit this year. Having worked with this school in the past I knew the roadblocks they would put up in front of me. So basically, if I want testing this spring or summer I need to get the wheels moving now. I'm also familiar enough with this school to know that she'll outgrow what it can offer before I know it. There are minor issues such as really unpleasant support staff, friends that I wouldn't mind moving her away from and other small things that make me happy she won't be there forever. This is a school that will not work make any accommodations for gifted learners at all. I'm familiar with the gifted program and do know it would be a good fit for her. Frankly, it will be a much better fit for her personality than it ever was for my son, though we muddled through with him. She'll do really well there. 

 

I'm actually usually one of the first to say, just wait and see who your child even is in 6 months or whatever. But, unfortunately, the bureaucracy at this particular school makes that difficult. Right now the plan has been and probably will remain to just let them know that we will likely be looking at testing in the spring and then just see where we are at when we get there.

 

I just got an email from the pull-out teacher explaining how difficult the testing is and how she doesn't ever recommend a 1st grader for testing. I guess I now know where the teachers get their party line from.

 

And for the record I am not a pushy parent who is wanting testing for my own ego. I didn't think I needed to point that out on this forum, but perhaps I do.

I may be pushy but that is only due to having to go around certain roadblocks on this very road once before. 

post #10 of 10

I dont think your being pushy at all. I think you are being proactive based on past experiences with your DS.

 

Statistically speaking, (because there will always be a few outliers) it is likely your DD will score similar to your DS on the cognitive testing. Siblings are often within a few points of each other and given the confidence ratio of scores-- they statistically often fall in the same 'range'.

 

But as you likely know, achievement testing between siblings can be vastly different (even with similar cognitive scores). So your DDs achievement testing may look much different than your DS.

 

 

It sounds like your DS and DD have very different personalities and are in different places academically (even when you state descriptions at similar ages).

 

I think some of the posters are speaking out of concern and/or in relation to the differences in our public schools.

 

We also are giving advice based on personal experiences as well. I tend to lean on the side of caution for further assessment when I see a bright kiddo struggling because I have worked with so many bright kids that are told 'they can do better' or they 'arent working toward their potential', etc when in reality by the time the schools I have worked in assessed them they are in upper Elem and struggling- sometimes it turns out they have learning disabilities and/or ADD and are frantically compensating for it. So that is the 'lens' I tend to look through.

 

For example: the DRA level your DD has after first card marking of 1st grade would be flagged for Reading Recovery at our school and the schools I have worked in ( guideline was 6-9 or more months behind the expected standard for time of year for K-2nd). first cardmarking of 1st grade would be an expectation of about an 8 so any child that was a 4 or below would be involved) Many kids in Reading Recovery go on to grade level work after a year or two, or all the sudden it all goes 'click' and are dismissed from RR as quickly as they were admitted and go on to read above grade level, and a few others go on to get referred for learning disabilities assessment.

 

Writing at this point of the year last year was small complete sentences with sound spelling. Our school started spelling words at this point in 1st grade of basic sight words ( the, at, and, what, went, there, etc) for the whole class and then kids that mastered those words received words from their writing. 

 

Even though you and the schools are not concerned-- as a parent in our local schools, I would be (as would my DDs teachers when they were in 1st). Which is where some of the advice you get comes from. Different areas/districts have different expectations and different 'flags' for remediation.

 

 I do think your pull-out teacher and classroom teachers are very closed minded on testing in general!

 

Although, I am envious you have a pull-out teacher at all (though she does not seem too helpful) and also  a gifted cluster in a state that has no funding/mandates.

 

 I wish you and your DD a positive  1st grade year and hope the testing at the end of the year goes well! If not, it is nice you have the option of outside testing.It seems like you are really passionate about the cluster school and think it is a good choice for both your kiddos


Edited by KCMichigan - 11/9/12 at 9:02am
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