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#1 of 19 Old 04-18-2011, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi! It's been a while since I've been here, but the simple fact is that I need help and you are the best people to ask!

 

In 10 days I have a meeting set up with DS's teacher and the T&G coordinator. I've been treading carefully about it not wanting to come across as pushy and demanding, and have indicated that I'd like more information on how they determine a good placement for a child and specifically, how to relate that to my child in ensuring we find the best placement for him. Right now there's a strong indication that gifted placement is pre-determined by standardized testing (specifically MAP). DS is awful at test taking, which his teacher also pointed out, and I feel that is a poor indicator of his abilities. Anyway, what do I take to this meeting? What information would help them determine the best placement, showing what he's actually capable of? Testing doesn't work well with him, is there anything else I can suggest? I don't care if he's classified and called "gifted" or not, I just want them to understand his actual abilities so we can determine the best fit for his educational needs.

 

Thanks!

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#2 of 19 Old 04-18-2011, 12:45 PM
 
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How old is he, and in what grade?


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#3 of 19 Old 04-18-2011, 01:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry, I was trying not to write a novel and guess I left that out! He's 8 years old and in 2nd grade. We moved after kindergarten; the cutoff in the first state (school 1) is a month earlier than our new state (school 2). If we'd lived here when he started school, he would be in 3rd grade this year instead of 2nd. School 1 was very light on academics in kindy, so he did a LOT of catching up the first year at School 2 and started 2nd grade on par with his peers.

 

ETA: We went to school 1 for his kindy year, then moved to the new school. Sorry for the confusion!

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#4 of 19 Old 04-19-2011, 04:45 AM
 
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And where is he grade level wise now?

 

I personally favor "just getting on with it" over "enrichment" so if the instructional level of 2nd grade is too low, I would attempt to move him to 4th grade for next year.  If there is some area he is not above grade level in, you could work on that now or over the summer.

 

I would think they would be reasonably receptive to this because he would still be within their age framework.

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#5 of 19 Old 04-19-2011, 07:12 AM
 
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You could ask the school to administer an IQ test, most use the Wechsler IV, if he scores well that would be further proof that he's ready for a grade skip. Or ask them to administer end of grade test for the grade he'd be skipping, which I think would be 3rd grade from your post. Make sure you have his current reading level - the teacher should be able to give this to you. Bring along any work he's done at home. Does he work on math at home or read above grade level books? Bring those.

 

Also, you may want to take a look at the Iowa Acceleration Scale, many school districts use this to determine if a skip is appropriate.

 

It seems that the biggest stumbling block, provided you have academics covered, is the argument about social development. Be prepared for them to argue against a skip because of the 'damage' it could to your DS socially. If a skip doesn't work, ask what can they do. Will they do a pull-out for subject acceleration? Sometimes that's an easier answer for the school and helps with the sociability issue.

 

Good luck and stay strong. :)  Let us know how it works out!

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#6 of 19 Old 04-19-2011, 08:51 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunshineJ View Post

Sorry, I was trying not to write a novel and guess I left that out! He's 8 years old and in 2nd grade. We moved after kindergarten; the cutoff in the first state (school 1) is a month earlier than our new state (school 2). If we'd lived here when he started school, he would be in 3rd grade this year instead of 2nd. School 1 was very light on academics in kindy, so he did a LOT of catching up the first year at School 2 and started 2nd grade on par with his peers.

 

ETA: We went to school 1 for his kindy year, then moved to the new school. Sorry for the confusion!


If School 1 was light on academics, this could be why he didn't do well on standardized testing. Has he taken a standardized test recently? Hopefully the school doesn't consider standardized testing alone. As a pp stated, ask about an IQ test - or a teacher recommendation, if you think that would be helpful.

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#7 of 19 Old 04-19-2011, 02:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies! When we moved to the current school district, he was starting 1st grade. Had he been here in K he'd have entered 1st grade reading at a level D. He was only classified as a level A because there was nothing lower - he had been taught letters and their sounds only (and trying to "help", I didn't teach him those things because he's so advanced in math that I wanted there to still be something for him to learn! Doesn't sound like such a great idea looking back now!). The grade goal at the end of 1st is to be at level i in reading - he exceeded that and went from A to a level J in that one year. We did have his IQ tested before we moved, back when he was 6. Immediately after the test the administrator came out and told us the results were going to be wrong - he was too busy changing his answers to try to make her happy. Sure enough, it came back as just at 100 - this from a kid who understood negative numbers at age 4, right after he started figuring out multiplication!

 

The reason we're looking into changing the status quo is that we don't like the direction we're seeing with him. There has been a lot of "dumbing down" on his part. For example, last year he drove me insane for 2 months constantly doing skip numbers in 2's, 5's and 10's. Three months later they covered it in class and he acted like he had no idea and "learned" them at the pace of the rest of the class. He's very bored with much of the work, and we're starting to see the "just enough" syndrome of only doing what he has to in order to skate by. I was a gifted "just enough" kid and I know that's nto going to do him any favors in the future!

 

There are 4 options we're investigating right now: keeping things as they are, skipping a grade, the one day a week T&G pullout or the gifted school within the school. Around Christmas his teacher thought he'd be an excellent candidate for the gifted school, but at our last meeting she said that judging by his test scores she no longer felt that would be a good fit for him. She was, however, fully supportive of the one day a week pullout. (She also told me that our boy who we thought hated to read was her best reader and liked to check out foreign language books and do word quizzes with one of the other kids! Really?? Wasn't sure we were talking about the same child! LOL!) I do think he'd do well in the gifted school but am very open to the fact that that may actually not be where he belongs. Simply put, I'm far from anything approaching an "expert" in this arena, which is part of why I requested the meeting. However, if they only have MAP test scores in front of them, that's not really going to help the coordinator determine where he should be. I'm completely fine with any of the options as long as it provides what he needs - like I said, I don't really care about the label. So I thought if there were anything I could take in with me that would better illustrate his strengths and weaknesses, etc., I should start gathering it now.

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#8 of 19 Old 04-23-2011, 09:30 AM
 
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How does your child feel? Does he have a preference? Is he excited about going to the gifted school?

 

You are lucky you have all this. In our state there are generally no programs for TAG students. Argh!

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#9 of 19 Old 04-25-2011, 11:40 AM
 
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Is retesting IQ a possibility?  If you feel that the prior # is wrong, it would be good to have some idea of where his true ability lies.  I have one child who has ADD and anxiety issues and also isn't the best tester as a result.  She's been IQ tested twice with wildly different results, although both were in the gifted range.  Her achievment scores do the same thing -- sometimes upper 90s, sometimes more avg. 

 

Point being -- if none of his achievement or ability scores come out in a range that would indicate gifted, I think that you're going to have a harder battle to get him placed in GT classes or grade skipped.  I've had a battle myself even with dd's scores fluctuating so much.  I can, at least, point to the aspects of the scores that don't make sense (CSAP reading and writing dropping from 3rd to 4th despite a year in a GT reading class, MAPS reading going up nearly 40 percentiles over the summer when she didn't read a single thing over the summer) as well as the high IQ scores and those achievement scores that are high.

 

I'm not saying that your ds isn't gifted, just that it is a tough fight without the quantitative scores to back you up.  Even with a number of scores that do back us up, we've still had a hard time.  In your spot, I'd retest IQ or do some other form of ability test that might hit on his strengths and see if there are any achievement scores that would back up a GT id/placement including trying for a one on one orally administered achievement test like the WIAT or WJ.

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#10 of 19 Old 04-28-2011, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So we had the meeting today. Honestly I am speechless, floored and pretty disgusted. The "gifted" program that they have seems to have little to do with gifted students, but more is a program that caters to the entitled and just plain "smart" kids (many of which probably ARE gifted, no doubt!). The absolute ONLY thing they use as a placement tool is the MAP test. That's it. They do not offer IQ testing (and we can't afford it right now on our own), they do nothing with interviews, no alternate testing policies, nothing. So, long story short, if we can figure out a way for them to see what he can do, then they'll reconsider the idea that he *might* be gifted. I'm seriously just speechless, and don't know what to say. If a child is having a bad day or just doesn't test well, then the decision is made. Now for the one day pull out, if he's working at 3-4 grade levels above his grade then they may consider him for that, but if a child has never been shown algebra for example, how would they know to do it even if they have the ability to do so? She then went on to say that given his age, he'd be tested against children in the next grade up? I don't get it. They refuse to teach him any more than the curriculum, but want him to know all this advanced stuff to "prove" he has a different way of viewing things? Wow. I always said homeschooling wasn't for us, but that may have to change in the next year or two. Definitely open to any suggestions anyone may have!

 

Thanks

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#11 of 19 Old 04-28-2011, 04:15 PM
 
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Well, that's got to be intensely frustrating!

 

Still, if the "gifted" program is really a program targetted at high achievers and good testers, and your ds doesn't really fit that profile, it's likely the program would be a lousy fit for him.

 

Would they consider correcting his grade placement to what would be consistent with their age-cutoffs? If you frame it as a "grade placement correction" rather than a "grade skip" they might be more easily softened up.

 

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#12 of 19 Old 04-28-2011, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, that's got to be intensely frustrating!

 

Still, if the "gifted" program is really a program targetted at high achievers and good testers, and your ds doesn't really fit that profile, it's likely the program would be a lousy fit for him.

 

Would they consider correcting his grade placement to what would be consistent with their age-cutoffs? If you frame it as a "grade placement correction" rather than a "grade skip" they might be more easily softened up.

 

Miranda


This is where it gets better. They are resistant to letting him learn more than their "advanced" criteria, so he cannot advance a grade because he wouldn't have the skills he will gain in 3rd grade. And I haven't been able to get the curriculum on what's covered in 3rd grade so he could learn that and be ready for 4th. Another gem that came out of the meeting tonight concerned homework. We're generally not fans of the repetitive busy work they assign each week, but we've diligently been having him do it to try to teach good homework habits for later grades. It's only 20 min or so. Tonight we were told that if he were a kid who never did his homework and scored well on the in class tests (which he does) then they would consider re-testing him, but his homework and in class tests are at the same level. Which is 90-100%. So, he's been penalized for doing his homework because that's "studying" for the tests. I had a great opinion of the district when we moved here, and much of our decision to move to this town was based on the fact they seemed so willing to work with gifted students no matter what their level. Needless to say my opinion has drastically changed after tonights meeting!
 

 

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#13 of 19 Old 04-28-2011, 06:05 PM
 
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We've seen many gifted kids do well in high-achiever programs. My own kids actually prefer the high-achiever classes as they are usually filled with kids who can work independantly, have little to no behavioral issues and make it really easy for a teacher to accomodate many different levels. The best individualized education opportunities always came when my kids were in high-achiever classes. Plus, the classes moved a whole lot faster than the gifted classes we've experienced. My kids gifted classes have been a major frustration for my kids as there is a great deal of wasted time, argument for the sake of argument and general lack of respect for the teachers and the other students. Gifted classes and programs aren't always better. That said, if your DS isn't both gifted AND a high-achiever, high-achiever classes won't be the right place for him.

 

I guess I'd be less concerned about how they placed and more concerned about their discomfort in accelerating his curriculum options.


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#14 of 19 Old 04-28-2011, 07:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunshineJ View Post

This is where it gets better. They are resistant to letting him learn more than their "advanced" criteria, so he cannot advance a grade because he wouldn't have the skills he will gain in 3rd grade. ....  

 

he's been penalized for doing his homework because that's "studying" for the tests. 


Oy.

 

Well...

 

Don't know what to say.

 

Except that homeschooling has worked out very well for my family.

 

Wow. hug.gif

 

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#15 of 19 Old 04-28-2011, 11:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, several hours later and I'm starting to think a little more clearly at this point. Basically the lady who coordinates all of the gifted options had the attitude that his MAP scores weren't there so we were wasting her time. Anything we tried to tell her he was doing was met with a look of patent disbelief and her opinion was clearly that we were another set of those delusional parents who have to have their boring little johnny in the gifted class. I haven't been patronized like that for some time. The possibility that he even may be gifted was basically shot down based on his MAP scores (which actually aren't low at all).  His teacher, who has done nothing but go on about what a smart and exceptional little guy he is during every conference suddenly declared that he was very "average" once the T&G person was there. My calm and mellow DH kept quiet for most of it because he was afraid he was going to lose his temper and go off. No one likes to be treated that way. 

 

Our son does well in a high achieving environment. We've seen it and he thrives. However, he doesn't like to stick out and in a regular classroom will do his best to blend in. We had a long discussion with him about that tonight and how if he wants more challenges then he needs to do his best and not what everyone else is doing. Currently their "advanced" in class program consists of tacking on 3 additional worksheets to his math homework. In order for him to be allowed to do anything other than the standard class - whether it be a math pull out to the next grade, the gifted pull out, gifted school, anything at all, he has to have high MAP scores or prove he's working 4 grades above his grade placement. For most kids it's 3 grades, but they're going by his age so for him it's 4. Really at this point it sounds like there is absolutely nothing we can do further to advocate for him. During the meeting his teacher did reassure me however that they're re-evaluating the curriculum so it will actually match what's on the test next year. I despise "teaching to the test" but by what she said, this school isn't preparing the students for what's on the test while the other area schools are, and yet those scores are their criteria for determining what a child can do. It really boggles the mind.

 

I did look up the state requirements for T&G testing and it specifies that several factors have to be used to determine if a child is qualified, including interviews, testing of different types, history, anything that may be a factor in different results (culture, etc.) and so on. That's just not happening here, so DH and I are deciding how much of a fight we want on this. It's not just our kid, but how many others are being short changed or put in an environment that's too challenging based on what they've been taught for a test? For now though, we're going to spend the weekend brainstorming. Anyway I hope this makes some sense.

 

Thanks for all the advice and letting me vent.

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#16 of 19 Old 04-30-2011, 04:45 AM
 
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Well, look.  You can certainly find out what is in the next year's up math curriculum (buy the book) and you can prepare for the next possible MAP testing opportunity.  What you have learned the hard way is that you cannot expect that system to react in a way that makes sense regarding the educational needs of any particular child. 

 

I have home schooled my kids so far (ages 6 and 7).  I *was* a gifted child in schools, public and private, and that was enough for me.

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Let me just say I'm not a fan of the "test only" approach to gifted placement but I do have some info that may or may not help.

 

Being tested "a grade up" even though he hasn't been given the curriculum is actually pretty common. It's sort of "out-of-level" testing (though typically that's usually 2 grades ahead, not just one.) The idea is that gifted kids A) have higher level abilities or B) are bright enough to sort of figure things out. This is why talent searches use it for qualification. For your DS, in 2nd grade, testing a year up really shouldn't be a big deal... it's not algebra, it'd be multiplication and early division which I'm guessing he's pretty good at. My eldest did out-of-level testing in 4th and 7th grades. In 4th (she was 8,) it was 6th grade level and she still did better than your average 6th grader (and she HATED math and was only doing 4th grade math at the time.) In 7th, she took the college bound SAT and scored better than average college bound seniors even though she was only a couple weeks into algebra. Honestly, testing your child a grade up for giftedness makes more sense than testing them in grade. Testing high on the grade level material can just mean you are a good student who pays attention or had a teacher who really taught the exact material being tested. Basically, it could work in your DS's favor to do some out-of-level testing whether he's

 

Have you considered a talent search like John Hopkins CTY? Were his MAP scores high enough to qualify him? Those scores might help with your case even if they don't take them officially. It's pretty inexpensive as far as testing goes.... under a hundred dollars.
 

Quote:
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So we had the meeting today. Honestly I am speechless, floored and pretty disgusted. The "gifted" program that they have seems to have little to do with gifted students, but more is a program that caters to the entitled and just plain "smart" kids (many of which probably ARE gifted, no doubt!). The absolute ONLY thing they use as a placement tool is the MAP test. That's it. They do not offer IQ testing (and we can't afford it right now on our own), they do nothing with interviews, no alternate testing policies, nothing. So, long story short, if we can figure out a way for them to see what he can do, then they'll reconsider the idea that he *might* be gifted. I'm seriously just speechless, and don't know what to say. If a child is having a bad day or just doesn't test well, then the decision is made. Now for the one day pull out, if he's working at 3-4 grade levels above his grade then they may consider him for that, but if a child has never been shown algebra for example, how would they know to do it even if they have the ability to do so? She then went on to say that given his age, he'd be tested against children in the next grade up? I don't get it. They refuse to teach him any more than the curriculum, but want him to know all this advanced stuff to "prove" he has a different way of viewing things? Wow. I always said homeschooling wasn't for us, but that may have to change in the next year or two. Definitely open to any suggestions anyone may have!

 

Thanks



 


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#18 of 19 Old 04-30-2011, 09:57 AM
 
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We did the same.  Dd12 took the EXPLORE (an 8th grade test) through talent search when she as a 9 y/o 4th grader and the SAT twice -- as a 10 y/o 6th grader and an 11 y/o 7th grader.  She also took the ACT this year in 8th grade.  Her scores have bounced around a bit but, like whatsnextmom's dd, she's done better than the avg kid in 8th grade or high school except for, if I recall correctly, in 6th grade her SAT scores were somewhat below the avg hs kid.

 

FWIW, even with my 2e dd, she's taken the EXPLORE twice and her scores too were pretty good.  She's very erratic on tests like MAPS and other grade level measures but she came out at the 75th percentile as compared to 8th graders in math at age 10 (5th grade) and as compared to 8th graders in science at age 9 (4th grade).  It might give you more insight into what he can do and may or may not hold water with the school in terms of advocacy.  There are charts out there for using above level tests for GT identification as well.

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Being tested "a grade up" even though he hasn't been given the curriculum is actually pretty common. It's sort of "out-of-level" testing (though typically that's usually 2 grades ahead, not just one.) The idea is that gifted kids A) have higher level abilities or B) are bright enough to sort of figure things out. This is why talent searches use it for qualification. For your DS, in 2nd grade, testing a year up really shouldn't be a big deal... it's not algebra, it'd be multiplication and early division which I'm guessing he's pretty good at. My eldest did out-of-level testing in 4th and 7th grades. In 4th (she was 8,) it was 6th grade level and she still did better than your average 6th grader (and she HATED math and was only doing 4th grade math at the time.) In 7th, she took the college bound SAT and scored better than average college bound seniors even though she was only a couple weeks into algebra. Honestly, testing your child a grade up for giftedness makes more sense than testing them in grade. Testing high on the grade level material can just mean you are a good student who pays attention or had a teacher who really taught the exact material being tested.

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#19 of 19 Old 04-30-2011, 11:45 AM
 
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Quote:
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For your DS, in 2nd grade, testing a year up really shouldn't be a big deal... it's not algebra, it'd be multiplication and early division which I'm guessing he's pretty good at. 


Yes, I agree. When you're talking about logically related extension of skills and concepts, rather than factual/content-type testing, out-of-level testing makes a lot of sense. If a child has mastered 75% of 3rd grade math and literacy skills without even being taught at that level, that's a strong argument for acceleration. Typically it's not a case of saying "We'll only accelerate if he can prove he's already accelerated himself by covering our entire 3rd grade curriculum." It's more about being able to say "If he scored this well without even being taught this stuff, imagine how well he'd do if he had actually been taught 3rd grade! Clearly he was more than ready for 3rd grade this year, even though he was in 2nd."

 

My kids have always been able to infer / extend / explore concepts and skills well beyond their instructional level. My 8-year-old recently encountered the introductoy unit on percents in her math curriculum and had already mastered it all. She'd picked it up naturally ... I can't say exactly how, but presumably from being in stores, seeing flyers, ads, references in the news, natural conversation, asking an occasional question to clarify her hypotheses, and so on. I'd be surprised if your ds hadn't already picked up much of the 3rd/4th grade concepts and skills in a similar fashion.

 

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