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Has your kid taken the talent search exam for the CTD's NUMATS?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I'd like to hear about what you liked about the experience.

 

(Center for Talented Deveopment's Northwest University's Midwest Academic Talent Search)

http://www.ctd.northwestern.edu/numats/

 

If so, why were you glad that your kid did this? 

 

I keep reading the website and brochure, and I still cannot figure out exactly what kind of academically enriching opportunities this program offers that would not be otherwise available. For example, is this testing program a gateway requirement to enter certain enrichment programs or classes?

 

I am wondering if maybe the reason that I cannot figure out the advantage of the talent search testing process is because my child seems to me to be only at the lower end of academically talented. Or perhaps my child is not in a socioeconomic demographic that would most benefit from such a program?

 

If any of you are willing to tell me about your experience with the NUMATS, I would be interested to read what you have to say.  Thank you.


Edited by emilysmama - 10/31/13 at 5:39pm
post #2 of 17

Bumping for input. Anyone? :)

post #3 of 17
I'll know more in a week when I meet with DD's school. We've declined a grade skip, and we're meeting to see our options. One thing they've proposed is the gifted learning links through CTD.
post #4 of 17

I don't know a lot about this, but I took the ACT and SAT in middle school for this purpose. AFAIK all we ever got out of it was brochures for summer camps for gifted kids, and I'm sure that we could have qualified for these through other methods, but there could have been other stuff that I wasn't aware of that my parents chose not to utilize. If you want I can ask my parents for their general perception of it. It may be different now, though, since this was in the mid-90s. 

 

it was nice, though, when my peers were stressing about the ACT and SAT in high school, to know that I'd done so well when I was younger that unless I slept through the retake I basically didn't have to worry about scoring really, really well. 

post #5 of 17

We didn't do NUMATS, but my son has been doing CTD courses for the last 3 years in person through both the Saturday Enrichment Program (SEP) and summer camps.  He generally attends 2 weeks in the summer and two of the three available schoolyear sessions.  We have not found other programs that offer similarly higher level topics in such engaging ways.  Or at least that's how it was until this fall when he "leveled up".   I'm not sure if this was just the specific teacher or if this is a definitive shift in the goals of the CTD programs at this age.


Overall, we like them; although when he moved up this fall to 4th grade and it seemed that "enrichment" has shifted from "really fun ways to learn about things that we wouldn't be exposed to in the pub school classroom" to "greater rigor than pub school academics".   And the latter is kind of a matter of opinion, district and child's individual program.  For instance, the course my son took was for 4th and 5th graders and one of the 5th graders parents noted that his child wasn't really learning anything new vs. what she got in her school's gifted program.  But admittedly they were taking the course because the gifted program at their school suddenly had 20 kids where there were a max of 8 and the quality of the instruction was suffering in obvious ways (child was no longer being challenged).

 

NUMATS is just a way to get access to tests that are generally not available to younger children.  I'm not sure how this pays off, although I could definitely see us potentially doing this if my son wanted to attend a class at the local college as a young teen and needed to validate his qualification to be there.  I'm sure that might come in handy in a school setting (we are homeschoolers) but not sure how.  For me as a homeschooler, the only potential benefit I might see in doing it is being able to ditch a subject that my son hates on the premise that he's scored higher than he will ever need to in that subject already... kwim?  Generally, insurance will cover IQ/psych testing but not academic achievement testing.  And the traditional school standardized tests might not have a high enough ceiling to capture your child's placement.  I mean, exactly how high are they ranking if they're at 100%/99.9% (whatever the particular test maxes out at).  Are they at 101 or 204... kwim?

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thank you mamas for the replies. Reading about your experiences is very helpful.  If you have any other thoughts, please keep 'em coming!

 

heatherdeg- It was helpful to read about your experience with the CTD courses, because I was curious about that as well.  My dd's principal says that the school would not do anything with the test scores, which is contrary to what the NUMATS tries to imply in their website.  My dd's principal says that the only purpose of the test scores, as far as her school is concerned, is as a way to access the CTD courses.  And, as I now know from your post and from looking at the CTD website, there are other exams that will also accomplish the same thing.  So it was very helpful to hear about your experience about the CTD courses.

 

I guess the ACT and SAT were a lot easier when I took them in high school during the mid-eighties, because I didn't think it was stressful at all. I remember that it was just something that I had to give up a Saturday morning for.  So I am puzzled about the idea that the experience of taking the exam a few years earlier will make the high school testing less stressful. I mean, if I wanted my child to know what the ACT is like, couldn't I just buy a test review book from the bookstore?    

 

So it is very helpful to hear other perspectives from other families like Erigeron.

 

Geofizz- Thanks for your post.  Before you posted, I never dreamed that the CTD courses are used by some schools as an option for acceleration.  Now I understand.

post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by emilysmama View Post
 

Thank you mamas for the replies. Reading about your experiences is very helpful.  If you have any other thoughts, please keep 'em coming!

 

heatherdeg- It was helpful to read about your experience with the CTD courses, because I was curious about that as well.  My dd's principal says that the school would not do anything with the test scores, which is contrary to what the NUMATS tries to imply in their website.  My dd's principal says that the only purpose of the test scores, as far as her school is concerned, is as a way to access the CTD courses.  And, as I now know from your post and from looking at the CTD website, there are other exams that will also accomplish the same thing.  So it was very helpful to hear about your experience about the CTD courses.

 

I guess the ACT and SAT were a lot easier when I took them in high school during the mid-eighties, because I didn't think it was stressful at all. I remember that it was just something that I had to give up a Saturday morning for.  So I am puzzled about the idea that the experience of taking the exam a few years earlier will make the high school testing less stressful. I mean, if I wanted my child to know what the ACT is like, couldn't I just buy a test review book from the bookstore?    

 

So it is very helpful to hear other perspectives from other families like Erigeron.

 

Geofizz- Thanks for your post.  Before you posted, I never dreamed that the CTD courses are used by some schools as an option for acceleration.  Now I understand.

Just to clarify, I wouldn't recommend doing the exams just so that the kids know what they are like in advance. That wouldn't factor into my decision at all, if it were my own kid. It was just a side benefit. If you're considering this exam for your kid, they probably already do well on standardized tests and aren't stressed out by them. 

post #8 of 17

erigeron, Just because kids are smart, doesn't mean that they do well on standardized exams.  In our case, we go to lengths to reduce anxiety in environments like this.  Having some practice is huge for us. 

 

We had our meeting today, and I managed to squash the discussion (again!) for a double skip.  We've also tabled the idea of the GLL program as they cannot find a way to keep peer interactions going for DD while she'd do this, and that's not right for this kid at this time.  So we're back to our usual of going around brain storming with district people to find a way to meet her needs. 

 

DD will take the SAT next year because she wants to attend VAMPY (about the worst possible name for a camp...) at Western Kentucky.  Any experience around here with that program?  She's also looking at SCATS (also a bad name, seriously, who comes up with this stuff?) for this summer.  I'd love to hear of any experience with either program.

post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post
 

erigeron, Just because kids are smart, doesn't mean that they do well on standardized exams.  In our case, we go to lengths to reduce anxiety in environments like this.  Having some practice is huge for us. 

I don't want to derail this thread, but I feel like people keep putting words in my mouth that I didn't say. If you reread my post you'll note that I didn't say smart automatically=does well on standardized exams. I do not think this. In fact, I think the results of standardized exams have a limited correlation with intelligence and don't measure all types of intelligence (and I also think my husband is approximately equally as intelligent as me and his ACT score was about 3/5 of mine, which serves as an example of this in action). I said I thought this program would be considered by those parents whose kids already do well on standardized exams. But perhaps I'm wrong about this, which I'm okay with if that's the case. I didn't realize one offhand comment about "hey, I already knew I'd do well on the SATs because I took them in eighth grade" would be such a big deal. I just posted my own personal experience with the MTS and that was part of it, but that wouldn't factor into my decision with my own child. What practice to do for standardized tests is kind of a separate issue. 

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by erigeron View Post
 

I don't want to derail this thread, but I feel like people keep putting words in my mouth that I didn't say. If you reread my post you'll note that I didn't say smart automatically=does well on standardized exams. I do not think this. In fact, I think the results of standardized exams have a limited correlation with intelligence and don't measure all types of intelligence (and I also think my husband is approximately equally as intelligent as me and his ACT score was about 3/5 of mine, which serves as an example of this in action). I said I thought this program would be considered by those parents whose kids already do well on standardized exams. But perhaps I'm wrong about this, which I'm okay with if that's the case. I didn't realize one offhand comment about "hey, I already knew I'd do well on the SATs because I took them in eighth grade" would be such a big deal. I just posted my own personal experience with the MTS and that was part of it, but that wouldn't factor into my decision with my own child. What practice to do for standardized tests is kind of a separate issue. 


Erigeron,

 

Thank you for clarifying this.  I went back to your post and re-read it. 

 

When I originally read your off-hand comment, I knew could tell that it was just a minor side remark, so I don't want you to think that I interpreted your off-hand remark as a primary consideration.  It is just that the even though it is clear that you don't think that it is more than a very minor side benefit, the website for NUMATS DOES make it a really big deal, and so your off-hand remark made me realize that everyone comes from different experience and perspectives.  Telling me what your young friends went through during middle school was really helpful to me for that reason. 

 

As for whether there is correlation between standardized tests and intelligence, you are right that you never implied it and that's pretty clear cut.  What confuses the issue, and this is totally NOT your fault, is that the NUMATS website DOES claim that there is such a correlation. So I was already puzzled by this.

 

If the NUMATS website had just said that the purpose of the exam is to act as a gateway to their CTD programs, then I would have understood what is going on. 

 

But instead, the website seemed to imply that practice taking the test is a very important good thing, and that getting recognition with medals is an equally very important thing, and that was where I got confused. 

 

So I thank you all, Erigeron included, for helping me understand.

post #11 of 17

Geofizz--what happened with your dd's school?  Are they going to have you do the Gifted Learning Links?  If the school is paying for them and facilitating, great; but I have heard that they are too expensive for what they are.  We attempted them once, but we wound up changing the date of a move to a new house that conflicted and we weren't able to really participate.  There was a lot of parent involvement required.  So I would be interested to know how they would facilitate that or if you're kind of on your own.

 

My parents declined grade skips for me.  I wish they hadn't.  I was bored out of my mind and wound up being a social misfit where I was.  Ironically, that was their concern with skipping.  :/

post #12 of 17
I am very clear on the research wrt skipping. I skipped. My DS skipped. We are confident in our decision. The gifted teacher backs us, and she's pushed for several skips in the past.

DD will be working on a hypothesis-driven project on emotional intelligence that will cross social studies, science, and language arts. It will work on the higher order thinking skills she is ready to learn, and let her stay a 6th grader where she belongs. It will be overseen by the gifted teacher and her intervention specialist as part of her iep goals (social, organizational, dysgraphia, dyslexia interventions).

It's perfect! The gifted teacher is golden, and shared my concern with the online environment.

Next year is a different story. THey might not teach the next HS math class at the middle school, so she might go to the high school. In that case, they are offering her to take sign language as well. DH and I will want to interview that teacher (the HS has teachers crossing the spectrum on their tolerance of asynchronicities). It could be great. It could be awful.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

I am very clear on the research wrt skipping. I skipped. My DS skipped. We are confident in our decision. The gifted teacher backs us, and she's pushed for several skips in the past.

 

Hmmm... this sounds "offended".  Not exactly my intent.  I'm by no means passive-aggressive and would've said "Hey--why are you doing this, have you considered x?"  I was sharing my experience in regards to grade skipping not slamming your decision, ftr.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

DD will be working on a hypothesis-driven project on emotional intelligence that will cross social studies, science, and language arts. It will work on the higher order thinking skills she is ready to learn, and let her stay a 6th grader where she belongs. It will be overseen by the gifted teacher and her intervention specialist as part of her iep goals (social, organizational, dysgraphia, dyslexia interventions).
 

jaw.gif  That. is. awesome.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

It's perfect! The gifted teacher is golden, and shared my concern with the online environment.

 

Was she familiar with GLL?  Or was it a general concern about the lack of human involvement?

 

Quote:
Next year is a different story. THey might not teach the next HS math class at the middle school, so she might go to the high school. In that case, they are offering her to take sign language as well. DH and I will want to interview that teacher (the HS has teachers crossing the spectrum on their tolerance of asynchronicities). It could be great. It could be awful.
 

Totally agreed.  Although I find that kind of unpredictable intolerance at every grade level.  And having taught high school, (and maybe you have already thought of this) I would also want to know more about the culture of the teacher's class in regards to respectfulness and how much the teacher feels the need to model and guide behavior.  I had one of my classes that was restricted to seniors and I have to be honest--it was shocking just how much they were still really children in many ways.  But a lot of my co-workers saw them as "a step from legal" and treated them accordingly.  And the feel and culture in their classes was different.  It wasn't always a problem, but it was an environment where problems could easily happen if that makes sense.

post #14 of 17
Sorry if I sounded offended. I'm very, very tired of the discussion. THis meeting last week starte d with an hour of pressure to skip from the district rep. It was our 4th since last May. I get the need to throw out the solutions on MDC, and I do it myself a lot. I'd guess I'd assumed I was known around here as having been going around this block for years.

Thanks for the tip on the hs class culture. I will need help in casting dd's needs clearly in appropriate language. The math teacher will also need to be selected. The science teacher will be fixed by nature of the track for better or worse.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

Sorry if I sounded offended. I'm very, very tired of the discussion. THis meeting last week starte d with an hour of pressure to skip from the district rep. It was our 4th since last May. I get the need to throw out the solutions on MDC, and I do it myself a lot. I'd guess I'd assumed I was known around here as having been going around this block for years.

 

:Hug   I don't know your backstory.  I'm just not on here often enough I guess.

post #16 of 17
On the gll, the IS had the gt watch DD do her math on the computer. That was enough! DD's disabilities and anxieities come into sharp focus when there's a screen involved.
post #17 of 17

I have one of those.  :/  But good catch.  Sounds like you have an awesome situation.

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