April 09, 2008,
J.G. asks from Phoenix, AZ on February 20, 2008
Gifted and Talented Testing
Does anyone have any experience with thier child going through the GT testing? The school my daughter (age 5) attends sent home a parent nomination form and I really thought nothing of it. (I thought that she was right where she needed to be for kindergarten.) Anyway, a few days later her teacher asked me to sign a permision slip because she was nominating her to be tested. I looked online to find any information on GT testing but I really couldn't find anything so I spoke to the person in charge at the school and he said that the test was really secretive because parents might try to "prep" thier kids for the test. He also stated that very few kids actually get placed in the program. My questions are have any of you had any expirence with these tests and if she does get placed what should I expect. Another question is since she is my first in school, what is on target for a kindergartner...what should she be acomplishing at this age. Thanks in advance!!!
R.C. answers from Houston on February 22, 2008
I'll be honest...I didn't read the other responses. >.<
Before I had my baby I worked at a teacher supply store where we sold a lot of GT testing books.
You can order the IOWA testing workbook for students and teachers (just a proctor version) at www.eteachersupply.com. It's a little store called Crystal's Teacher Supply. They have two locations: one in Sugar Land and one in Houston, or you could order it on-line depending on how much time you have. They also carry an nice mix of games and workbooks catering to GT thinking. :D
B.T. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
My oldest who is 22 now was in the GT program when he was little. I don't know anything about the "test" since each school is different, but as best I can remember, he just played games and was not stressed over it in the least. Anyway, the GT program at his school was great and he had a lot of fun with it. Especially when he was in sixth grade and they did a mock trial. He defended the wolf. :) It was too much fun!
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C.F. answers from Brownsville on February 21, 2008
My daughter is in GT and it is her favorite class. This class is for kids that like to think. Have you ever watched the kids program Zoom? They test theories etc. Do not worry.
M.L. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
I was a teacher for 9 years. I have taken this year off to be with my own children. I do not agree with GT testing, especially at such a young age. I have seen to many children label "GT" and by the time they get to 5th or 6th grade they are just like everyone else. Your child may be GT but I would not want him/her tested this early. If they are tested and do qualify they will be placed in a GT class. These classes are supposed to be teaching on the next grade level. So your child will be learning info that the first graders are learning. I don't know if it really helped you but I thought I would at least share.
1 mom found this helpful
C.F. answers from Killeen on February 21, 2008
My son has been in TAG since first grade and he is now in fourth. To the best of my knowledge the test just takes an analysis of the child's thought process. His homework has not been excessive and his classes have not been difficult for him at all. Just faster paced to keep him from boredom. If he isn't challenged, he's bored.
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M.K. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
I have actually been through this twice. Last year when my daughter was in Kindergarten and this year (she's in 1st grade, obviously). Even as a toddler we knew that she was very smart. She picked up on things and absorbed everything she was taught. By the time she was 2, she knew her ABC's, could count to 10 in english and spanish, and we are not a bilingual family. She could spell her full name...I could go on. When they first sent the note home that she had been "pre-tested", her scores were ALL above average for a 6 year old. Then the next note came home asking for permission to test her for the G/T program. Which we allowed. When those scores came back, she still scored high and above average, but I guess there is limited spacing and there must have been others who scored just a bit above her. So she was not accepted. We were actually kind of pleased, we weren't sure what kind of effect it would have on her. This year, in 1st grade they did the same thing. She did the "pre-testing" and her scores were still above average. We haven't received the permission letter yet about having her tested for the G/T program. Any other questions, let me know!!
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S.R. answers from Austin on February 21, 2008
Hey- Both of my children were in the gifted and talented programs in their schools, but i must say they never started them at the age of 5. That seems a lil young to me to idntify those students. Basically what the program is designed to do is to give those students that they think are maybe a lil more gifted a few extra pushes in school. They usually arent alienated from the rest of students and it might entail maybe a portion of time during the week that they will go to a certain class or something. Your school would better be able to tell you exactly what your student will be doing. Our school had another special school that the students went to a couple days a week, that was more advanced and they were also taught things that they did not teach to the regular student. This was not done until the 4th grade. However, being that my children were in the gifted program in school, when they did reach the high school level they were automatically put in honors classes. It can be a great thing for the children. My children were given the opportunity to do things that they normally would not have been able to do in a regular class. The best thing I can suggest is to call your school and ask who is in charge of the gifted program. There should be a person that is in charge of this for your school district or at least your school. They will be able to tell you exactly what your school does with the gifted and talented students.
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C.C. answers from Austin on February 21, 2008
I am an elementary school counselor, and we do this testing every year. GT kids are defined as kids who think outside of the box. They are not necessarily the smart kids, as most parents believe, but kids who think differently than most kids their age. Programs are created for these kids so that they can spend a portion of their day interacting with other kids like themselves and doing creative out of the box thinking activities. The testing is harmless. It is a simple test. For kinder it is mostly responding to pictures. Different school districts use different tests, but there is usually an evaluation for the parent and teacher to fill out. If I were you, I would let them do the testing and you can evaluate the program. If your child qualifies, you can always decide to have them not participate if you are not comfortable. If your child does not qualify, remember GT really has nothing to do with being smart! It is often really hard to determine giftedness in Kinder kiddos! Some districts don't even test Kinder. Good Luck!
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S.C. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
I want to reiterate what Pat S said (I think it was her!) She mentioned that schools will often ask the gifted child to skip a grade. She wrote please don't do it! I want to second that comment and give you a little foresight for way down the road. When I was a child, I went to the Kindergarten Orientation night and looked through the workbook with the teacher and my parentes and I can still remember the very moment that Kindergarten teacher said, "I am sorry, there's no way she can be in this class, she's gone to the end of the years curriculum and knows it already- this class will be not be fun for her or me as a teacher"
I was SO SAD to not being going to Kindergarten, (remember that cute poem that came out everything i need to know i learned in kindergarten!?) so they put me directly into 1st grade. My birthday is in February, so I didn't turn 5 until February- so I was a 4 year old in 1st grade!!! And then the 1st grade teacher called home and said I was "causing trouble in class, that I knew the material already and chose to talk to other kids and socialize when I had completled my work and while the other students needed to be concentrating" She then recommended that I be tested. Back then as well it was an IQ test performed by and Educational Psychologist. I remember the test, and it was a lot of blocks and puzzles, etc. Anyway, I was taken out of my regular class once a week into another room until the following year when they had to bus me to another school with a full time gifted program. I stayed in this until I finally went to private school. The rest is history, though I am a Mensa Member to this day. (Not that it means much) But my concerning point is that they tried to get me to skip kindergarten AND first grade initially until they were able to find me a place in another school. Regardless that I only skipped one grade, I was a "younger" normal grade child having my birthday in the middle of the school year and I ended up in highschool as a 13 turning 14 year old my freshman year, and honestly, I was 13 for MOST of the year! I had 18 year old boys looking to date me while I was 13 years old, and let me tell you, I was NOT emotionally prepared for that, nor should I ever have been in an environment with kids so much older than me regardless of my academic abilities. So here's the deal, hearing about the GT program leaving kids in the classroom and just giving them different material sounds AWESOME to me! They have really made some leaps and bounds there, but when I was a kid and played soccer with all the kids who went to my home school but then got bussed out to another school for classtime- I felt really left out and got called names, like a QUESTY, our program was called quest in washington and GATE in california..anyway, I felt ashamed of having to be "different" because of the separation. And once that was over and I entered high school, like I said before, WATCH OUT!! I would NEVER allow my child to skip a grade EVER, no matter what. I was completely left out of going to drivers ed with my peers because I was a Year and a half younger than everyone in my grade, and two years in relation to the older ones. I couldn't drive until almost my SENIOR YEAR! It was very tough, I even had to give up some things in sports where I was competing with my class and peers and won first place in a track race that sent all first place divisional runners to the state championships, but since I was only 12 and you HAD to be 13, I had to forfit that. But this program sounds like it has the potential to be great,once you check it out and decide. My husband, being quite a brilliant man himself (graduated cum laude of his University) have discussed these issues as we have a 3 year old that blows our mind with her memory skills and exhibits much of the behaviour I have read about below. We have decided that school should be FUN, and that we want our daughter to be excited for school and learn to socialize as well and enjoy her curiousiy and love of learning new things. Not to pressure her, give her busy work, or god forbid, make her skip a grade and feel completely out of her own skin. So that's our philosophy. I loved school. I think you can learn so much from taking your kids traveling to other countries, teaching them to sail, things that are fun but that require math, safety and responsibility. All of these life experiences should be considered in learning.
Sorry for the ramble, but I wanted to give you an anecdote from my life that I have now learned from and am pretty sure I will face with my own daughter. And my husband and I have decided that our goal for her is to be HAPPY!!!! #1
That's as far as we've gotten on that topic, but best of luck to you and checking out the program is a great idea, and it sounds like the school system has really taken into consideration the kids' quality of life regarding these types of programs in the last 25 years!!!
Best of luck and congratulations that your child was selected, though gifted or not, makes NO difference or bearing on whether your life will be full of happiness or not, so either way, be happy!
N.B. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
Congrats! Everyone I know (and don't know) has said my child would be in GATE at school age. Even from the time he was 18 months. He was tested the month before he turned 5 yrs old. The state tests them in several areas. It's a logic issue...not how much a parent has worked with them. There are just kids who have more of an emotional capacity...not just repeat what their parents are saying. Not to say if your child doesn't qualify or if someone else is reading this that their child isn't 'smart' if not in GATE. Some kids are naturally drawn to learning...some are natural born leaders...some are great at sports. The kids in my son's GATE class are all struggling w/ not getting to be the leader. The classwork isn't much different than the other kinder classes. I think his class is a little bit more aggressive on the guided reading. The kids are highly sensual...tags bother them...wrinkles in socks make them walk like their leg is broke...they get highly agitated when confronted w/ something they don't get right the first time...the behavior varies. I think the real difference between regular and GATE will be more apparent in the higher grades. My personal experience w/ my own classes were that I always had more of final grade based on big projects and papers (more comprehensive). Where regular classes were getting loads of repetative worksheets...practice over & over. My work was more interpreting what I read and learned (high school). Back to the point. I love my son's class because there are a lot less children than the other classes...his 14 compared to 22 in others. The class moves at relatively the same pace where other classes have students that really excel...or really struggle. There isn't anything you can do to prepare your child for the test. I also did NOT tell my child what he was testing for. I only said he was taking a placement test to see where he would best be placed. Like they couldn't have an entire class of bossy leaders and one class where nobody would speak up to answer the teacher's questions, they needed balance...stuff like that. I didn't want to add any pressure on him or for any reason let him find out he didn't qualify & hurt his self esteem. Good luck w/ the testing. At this age, the class will not be so far advanced that a child would seriously struggle. If it's meant to be...it's meant to be.
G.M. answers from San Antonio on February 20, 2008
There is a rubric used for qualifing children for GT. They will take a Norm Reference Test (like the Iowa Test of Basic Skill or the Stanford 10). That test compares them to other children across the nation to see how they measure up. Then they take a cognitive test like the Cogat. That test is a nonverbal test and requires no reading what so ever. It's basically geometic figure puzzles that is missing a pieced. She will have to figure out which piece is missing from the puzzle (they are given choices). Once they have the scores from both of these test their scores are given a value (1-5). The better they scored the more points they get. The teacher evaluation also has a point system and the parent survey as well. If they achieve a certain number of points they qualify for gifted and talented. In some school districts they are required to give one point for economically disadvantaged, minorities, special ed and homeless. This is to ensure that the GT class is inclusive all types of students. Hope this helps. Let me know if you need more information.