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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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.
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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!!
1 mom found this helpful
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!
1 mom found this helpful
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.
N.R. answers from Killeen on February 21, 2008
I have a doctorate in education and I taught GT for several years in Texas. Here are a few suggestions and comments about your concerns.
Before filing out all the papers to have your child in the gifted program, you might want to ask a few questions to find out more. Is it a pull out program where a GT teacher takes the kids for one hour twice a week; or will your daughter go into a special class where all the students are GT? What are the qualifications of the GT teacher? What kinds of things will they be doing in the GT class? How different will it be? And.....it most definitely should be different, not MORE!! Math should be different than the regual classroom, NOT doing 20 problems when the other kids are doing 10. Being GT should not be "rewarded" by doing more of the work they already know how to do! There should be creative, open-ended, challenging, brain building, thought provoking activities. Instead of "what did Jack trade the cow for?", there should be more reflective questions like, "Was it right for Jack to steal the giant's singing harp". Which, to be quite honest, should be asked in the regular classroom, too.
The tests your daughter will most likely take will be an IQ test and a creativity test. Neither of which can you really study for. But there probably will be comparison questions. (These are only examples and are NOT taken directly from any IQ test)1. How is a hamburger and a hotdog alike? 2. How is a bicycle like a car? 3. Socks are to feet as gloves are to_______.Also, being able to see patterns in numbers and shapes could be on the test. For instance, there may be two pictures of small triangles followed by a large one, then there may be two pictures of squares and then a large one. This whole pattern will then repeat itself on the same line, only the last large square will be missing. The child will be asked what comes next.
Playing with patterns at home is a great educational activity for all children!. Using blocks, beads, macaroni, make an abababab pattern and ask the child to complete it with 4 more blocks. then making it more challenging by giving abbabbabb or abccabccabcc patterns. Do not try to do too many different patterns at one time; take it slow, let them really understand one pattern before going to another.
I had a son who was in GT programs from 1st grade through high school and (now at age 35) says he is so thankful he had that experience. As a senior programming analyst, he sys he still does what he did in 2nd grade.....looking for patterns. :) And, my son was not a straight A student--please do not confuse the two. You can be very gifted and it not be represented in high grades.
One question you need to ask yourself is "Do I think my child is gifted? Believe it or not, studies have shown that parents are very good at making this determination.
Go with your gut feeling. You can always take a child out of a program, and this can be done without the whole idea of being a "failure". Also, is your child bored in the regular classroom? Be careful. Sometimes, parents push children into being gifted for very selfish reasons.
I hope I have answered some of your questions. Feel free to contact me if you have any other concerns that I may not have addressed.
M.V. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
My son has taken this test a few times since we moved to Texas. Texas doesn't recognize the IQ test that he took while we lived in Florida. He sailed through that one but this one he has not had good luck with. If I can remember, there are multiple sections to the test. They look at the numbers that you score her on with the sheet sent home, the numbers that the teachers scores her at and then 2 different types of scoring on the test. One is an overall score of some sort that she needs to score something like 135 or higher on and the other is a cumulative of a reading score minimum and a math score minimum.
The test itself is subjective. There will be many questions she can answer (her grade level), many she can attempt (grade levels ahead of her)and those that she will have no clue on yet. My son complained that there were some questions that he hadn't been taught how to do yet but this is something so they can see her thought process and if she can manage to put things together to figure out the answer.
For her age, testing should take a few hours each day for a few days because they don't want to overwhelm a small child. It's WELL worth her trying for it. If she does get in, she will be challenged more than a normal class and it will prevent her from becoming bored in class. Even if she doesn't make the grade, but shows very high scores, she can be included in GT classes as a "high acheiver" student. Either way you look at it, it is a win-win siutation. Just tell her it will be bunches of questions so they can see how smart she is. You know she is smart, this is just the school's way of finding out something they didn't know. If she is as smart as they think, she will be able to grasp that concept quickly.
D.M. answers from Corpus Christi on February 21, 2008
My oldest child was in 2nd grade when they tested her for the GT program. She was very bright but not socially adapted. I chose to NOT have her participate because her school had a "pull out program" where they took the kids out of regular classes for a full day once a week. Looking back it was a wise decision-she struggled socially all thgough school. Having said that, I should tell you I am an educator. All schools run their GT program in a different way. You might want to ask how the program is run at her school- how often the GT students are seen, who determines their curriculum and who teaches them. At our school district once a student is GT they are GT for life. Not all students are gifted and talented in all subjects. If you have a student who loves to read she will love the reading portion of the curriculum and if she hates math the math portion will be torture. Often times a student from a home where there are highly educated parents comes to school with a tremendous background knowledge and will be labeled as GT. It doesn't mean that student isn't intelligent it means that right then and there they are ahead of the others. There is a fine line between encouraging your child and pushing them too hard. There is also a lot of research on Multiple Intelligences which gives great insight into gifted and talented children. (It's not how smart you are it's how you're smart.) Ask questions of the school until you are comfortable with their curriculum and plans for your child.
A.L. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
J. - My first, a girl, was placed in a GT program in HISD. Stressful only for the parents. Keep it low key: no fancy clothes. My daughter said the lady was real nice and just asked some questions. It's been so long I don't remember much else ! She's a fresh. in hs. If she was nominated, that's a good rec. If she doesnt' make, oh, well.
Good luck. and girls do mature faster than boys !
A.A. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
I remember being part of the program when I was growing up and enojoyed it very much! They take a small group from class once a week and do "special" activities. These activities were building higher problem solving skills, it honed cretivity, and is a higher level of thinking. Throughout her schooling, I think the program will be very rewarding. In later years she'll be in honors classes and GT Honors classes, in which the structure of class lets them define what methods of learning/studying/team skills/etc, work best. She'll be smarter for being adaptable and able to apply what she learns easily to other things/areas in her life. Intelligence begets intelligence, and you don't want to deprive her of that atmosphere they'll provide.
J.T. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
M.F. answers from El Paso on February 21, 2008
Since her teacher is nominating her for the problem, you should be proud. She sees something in your child that the program will only help develop more. The questions asked are very open-ended - looking for the creative response. Your child will be in a more enriched classroom setting for several hours a day - exposing her to thoughts, ideas and concepts should will not encounter in regular classroom. It is a shame really that not all children are treated as gifted and talented, as they truly are at age five. I say go for it!
L.R. answers from Corpus Christi on February 21, 2008
Hi - my name is L. I have a 20 year old who went thru the gfted & talented testing when he was 5 - he breezed through it and was accepted at the local gifted & talented elementary school and went on to the program in middle school. It was very stressful, more for me then him, he handled the stress well. He was very smart and it was easy for him. When he started the program in 1st grade he was not yet reading so I was worried. The stress I thought was too much for my now 13 year old, but had him tested anyway but opted to send him to his regular elementary school. He s very brght and has maintained straight A's all through school. My 6 year old was recently up for the testing, but we opted to not have him tested as we have heard that it has gotten more rigorous and stressful for some kids. He is already stressed, so decided he was better off. If your daughter is happy go lucky, she is reading or starting to read and s very creative and a good imagination, she is probably a good candidate for the testing. It really doesn't hurt to have them tested, it is up to you in the long run what you do with it. Note - my 20 year old who was so smart has been out of high school for 2 years and has chosen not to continue his education.... so what do you know what to do??
I am a mom of 3 boys (20, 13, 6) and 1 girl (3). I have been married to my wonderful husband for 16 years. He is currently stationed n North Carolina after spendng a year in Iraq, so I guess I am kinda like a single mom. I recently gave up running a daycare out of my home which I dd for 7 years and also took in foster chldren for a time. I have learned that every single child is different and there is no best choice, only your gut feeling.
L.W. answers from Austin on February 21, 2008
My 3rd grader girl has been in the GT program from K. At the time she was thought to have had ADHD and had/has a very high IQ, so I thought it would be good for her to have more challenge to help busy and not bug the other kids when she got bored and finished the work quickly. She tested but we didn't do anything to prepare. Studying/prepping for a GT placement test in K seems extreme. In K they are in one program for both math and reading, but then it breaks out in the first or second great into 2 tracks. I don't know what is on the test, but I think they are being tested on reading abilities and comprehension, and then basic math concepts. The teacher is probably wanting to recommend your child because she stands out from the crowd and is reading/comprehending more than other kids or is showing other advanced skills. My kid learned to read at Montessori shortly after she was 3, but I would expect that's what the kids do in K and 1st grade. If your child already reads, in GT they'll want her to work on more advanced things, maybe to keep them challenged. I wouldn't push a K kid to prep for the GT test. I think if she gets in she'll benefit from more enriched work. I think at K if a kid can get out of bed as early as they are required and get to school in one piece without a major breakdown, they are accomplishing so much!! Good luck.
L.C. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
Not sure what district you are in as they are all different. I'm in CyFair. My daughter brought the form home in 2nd grade. There were a few questions on it for parents to answer about their children. Based on that rating, the school determined testing. My daughter passed for Reading and Language Arts. In CyFair, the GT classes are mixed meaning there are kids in the class that did well on the GT test and kids that just scored below the minimum passing grade. I have not noticed a difference in the amount of work, but the content of the class is more advanced. They have more open discussion about topics or issues in the world. My daughter loves it. She just took the next test to get into the Math and Science GT classes when she hits junior high next year. I let her get tested and then talked to her about it when we had to decide whether to accept GT placement or not.
T.E. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
The testing is different and harder in different school. My daughter has been tested twice. Once in 3rd grade(we lived in cy-fair i.s.d.). Sge passed and was "labeled" GT> THen we moved to Cinco Ranch in Katy I.S.D. She didn't passs their GT test. The school's GT teacher said Katy ISD's test is very hard and don't expect to pass it.
Each school district has different GT programs also.
Cy fair's is a straight GT curriculm (in elementary school )|
Katy isd's is a one day a week GT class.(they pull you from your class and you spent the wholde day doing different , harder work.)
Talk to your daughter's teacher. They are the best ones to gauge if she is GT or should be GT tested.
If you have her tested, dont' stress the importance of the test on your daughter. Just let her know that the test is to see how much she has learned in school. That way if she doesn't get into the GT program she won't be dissappointed.
R.M. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
First of all let me direct you to greatschools.net, they are a good source of information regarding schools & what kids should be learning at different ages. For kindergarten, my personal experience is that the most important thing is that they are adjusting to a structured environment. Kids should be able to socialize and play well together. If scholastic achievement becomes more important than play & cooperation with others, at such a young age, then the child could lose the greatest gift we can give them, that of just being a kid! The testing will come soon enough. I have a beautiful, super smart 6th grader who was in GT for several years, and though it was exciting, it was also difficult because children get labeled, and that is never easy. A child is expected to perform at a certain level, and sometimes when they've been ahead in the early years, they might "level out" when the work gets harder. If expectations remain too high, then the kid could get burned out really soon.
Anyway, good luck, it is an exciting ride!
J.L. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
It won't hurt anything to get her tested. I had my oldest tested and she did not make it, and 5 weeks into first grade she was nominated to take it and failed and was also moved to the GT class and did great. She is now in the 2nd grade GT class and making honor roll. The class is geared to the kids that learn a little faster or differently than the normal classes.
J.W. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
They want to test her because her teacher feels that she is performing at a level above what most kindergarteners are. The tests are not hard(according to my son. ITs hard to explain but they have you or a teacher fill out a nomination form, they will look at those and then deecide if she will qualify for the next level of testing. If she doesnt do well on the next level then thats ok she will stay at the study level of everyone else. The difference is that her work will be at a higer level then the non gt kids next school year. That is how it was explained to me by my sons 1st grade teacher.
My son has been in the GT program since the 2nd grade he is now in the 5th and next year he will be going to the Gifted and talented academy.
Hope this helped you
A.P. answers from Austin on February 21, 2008
I was in various gifted and talented programs all throughout my school career. Here's my feelings on it:
I felt good that someone saw something in me that was special . I liked having more challenging work . I was also introduced to more things that I might not have otherwise been (musical instruments, different forms of art, etc.)
I felt that there were good things that came out of it, but if I had it to go back and change , I would have just stayed in regular classes. As each year went by it really just turned into more and more quantities of work and became very demanding and stressful, especially by high school.
Looking back , I can see that if I was qualified for those classes , that means I already had it in me to learn in that way and I didn't need all that stress.
Maybe you could try it out , but be aware of that possibility, and already have an exit plan if you start to decide that it's not in your best interest after all. Honestly, since they taught me so much, so fast, alot of it I don't even remember, since I use so little of it in the "real world". -Angela
A.D. answers from El Paso on February 21, 2008
My mom is a GT teacher and I myself was a GT kid and remember it quite well because i wasnt nominated until I was in the 5th grade. It is secretive because parents do prep their kids for it. I remember my interview, being asked what I liked to do, what my interests were, things like that. I was interviewed based upon a sate required IQ test. I have two thoughts on the GT. First, I think it is a good thing because it will provide extra challenges for your daughter as well as allow her to persue some of her own interests. The TAG program I participated in was spcifically for the Autonomous learner and encouraged us to do projects tailored to our specific interests which was great. As a young child, like your daughter, it was cool to be smart and I didn't think anything of it until it began to make me an outcast and regarded as a nerd. That was hard for a teenage girl and I quit the program because I wanted to "fit in". I returned to the program in high school because i was looking forward to college. The quality of kids in the program wasnt what it had been. The "smart kids" were the super liberal, free thinking, and free spirited. This might have been isolated to my particular school, but they were also the kids that were up to no good, including drugs. I dont want to say that TAG is not a good program with many opprotunity for your child, but please be wary of the social effects that the label of being gifted will bring to your daughter. It is very important that she is self-confident and well-adjusted prior to putting her into a program. I am not an expert on kindergarteners as my child is only 14 months, but these were my experiences. If you want any literature on this stuff, you can email me at ____@____.com, my mom has all sorts of stuff.
K.C. answers from San Antonio on February 21, 2008
My Son was nominated for testing in Kindergarten as well. However after talking to the counselors we learned that if they do not pass the test in Kinder they cannot test again for 2 years. So we opted to wait until 1st grade. Joshua was tested at the end last year and put into GT this year. He is doing great and Loves it. Wed also talked to Joshua about how it was change his daily scedule. It will pull hm away from class time with his school mates and may require extra work at home. He was excited about it. The cool thing is once they are accepted into the GT program, as long as they keep thier grades up they remain in the program through high school.
I have 3 boys. Joshua (8) Matthew (7 next week) and Jacob (3) I am a SAHM with a home based business to keep me sane.
M.C. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
I have worked in schools for 13 years. G/T testing is not secretive. Parents should be told both what tests and what standards will be used. It is difficult for a kindergartner to get into the program. Go to the TEA website and then to the A-Z directory. Go to 'g' and then Gifted and Talented - there is good information on that website and links to other websites. Hope this helps, M. C
C.M. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
My daugther is in the GT program. She is in 1st grade. I didn't know she took a test until they sent home a letter asking permission for her to be placed in the GT program next year(1st). I said ok. This year she is in a regular class and six other kids in her class are in the GT program. The teacher works with them on their level. They are not allowed to teach them the next grade level. But, they can teach them on a higher level. My daughter loves it. Her teacher challages her. But, she does not give her anything that she stresses about. I would recommend it. You can always take her out. But, I think you should let her be taught on her level so that she is not bored.
A.E. answers from College Station on February 21, 2008
When I was in school, GT didnt start til 4th grade, but I had tested in first grade in order to skip to second. When I got to fourth grade, I tested for GT and got in. During elementary and middle school, you go to a different classroom for a few hours in the morning to do mental exercises. We would do puzzles, memory games; we would even play oregon trail on the computer. I loved it. Then, in junior high and high school, your classes are GT. Typically they have smaller student:teacher ratios so that you get more one on one attention. The curriculum isnt necessarily harder, but it is designed to challenge the students. The teachers are generally more lenient when it comes to grading because it is more important that the students actually learn and grow, than it is to turn in homework perfectly, etc.
I had to take a couple of Honors classes and Regular Ed classes in high school because GT wasnt offered, and I did not like them at all. I didnt feel like the teacher really cared if we learned the material.
I think GT really helped me to be prepared for college, because it taught me to learn, study and take notes the way you need to in college.
Hope that helps
B.C. answers from Austin on February 20, 2008
If you're not sure what is "expected" of a Kindergartener than go to the TEA website and download the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) for kinder. This is the state's guideline of what the children should be learning at that level. You might be able to go from there. Maybe even check out the first and second grade TEKS to see where you're daughter might fall. I used to be an inclusion GT teacher and basically it's like everyone else said- It's just a higher level of learning so your daughter can stay challenged and not be bored with the regular education material. Most inclusion teachers (in the beginning-at that age) just use the same regular education assignment but take it one step further for the higher thinkers, or "GTers"
M.M. answers from Beaumont on February 21, 2008
I read your article about GT. In my opnion it is nothing to be weary of. My boys who are now about to graduate were in the program for years. Of course at one point they too took the test. I can't be specific as to what the questions were, but it is not a test you can fail or get scores on. It is about seeing how your child's mind works. The test is also about creativity. Once in the program, you will see it is more of an enrichment class. I loved it because the boys were able to express themselves artisticly and without the conventional boundaries of regular schoolwork or artclass. Here is an example: The assignment was to think of another way that a product could be packaged that would save money and/or improve sales for said product. We used salt,sugar,pepper. We packaged them in straws wehre servings were premeasurd, so it made for easy on the go, minimal waste item. It was fun and challenging. You usually have weeks to do this so that it does not interfere with regualar school work. Through this program you can look into scholarsips that can be applied for where your child could go to spacecamp during th summer or take part in a sports related camp that might be otherwise too expensive, or something of the like that is educational and fun. I love art and encourage it in my children. For this reason the class also turned out to be yet another way to bond and instill more creativity. Furthermore it shows them there is always more than one way to do something and the value of others ideas. I applaud you for questioning and feel that if it is anything like our program was, she'll do great. If you want to discuss any further I would be happy to answer your questions.
L.K. answers from San Antonio on February 21, 2008
My son is 5 and in Kindergarten. He was tested for the GT program and passed the tests. Just this week he started going to the GT program 2 days a week for about an hour and a half each of the 2 days. He loves it and can't stop talking about the stuff he learns while in there. That is a break through for us because when ever we ask him what he learned in school each day he would just say, "nothing or we colored or I don't remember." He is my oldest and I had no idea what to expect out of Kindergarten as well. I was so frustrated because when he went to school he was reading really well and writing words and doing simple math. I had no idea that he was so advanced. I worked with him a lot when he was younger but I figured that when he went to kindergarten they would kind of take over and continue teaching him and adding more skills. I was wrong and he was just bored in class while the other children were learning what he was already taught at home. So, bottom line is I am very excited that he will have some away time from normal class activities to learn more advanced things. I think that if your daughter is showing signs of needing more advanced learning opportunities that you should let her take the tests. If she passes then great she will have a great opportunity to be in the GT program. If not then no harm done either.
B.B. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
You don't say wich scool district is your daughter attending. We had a very good experince at CyFairISD here in Houston. My daughter was in the gifted and talented programs all thru school, she is now a junior at the University of Notre Dame. I think it is an excelent program for the kids that qualify, and you can be sure that if your daughter makes it in is because she is a gifted kid. There is a big difference betwen a gifted student and one that is just very smart. The school districts have a department that takes care of those kids and they usually have very good experienced people that can inform you what is all about. When my daughter was in elementary we even had a parents support group and it was excelent because we got togheter and talked about the best ways to help the kids. As your children go thru school you are going to find out all the different levels of education in the public system, my advice is to always have your kids in the highest level possible for them to take the best advantage.
Let your daughter take the test, if she makes it it will be great, and if she doesn't you won't loose a thing.
S.W. answers from Waco on February 21, 2008
Well this is a great honor to even be chosen. My son was also chosen for the gt classes we went throught the questions and the signing. he took the tests but dont let it bother you because at random they choose or get nominated by their teacher based on how well the teacher believes he or she is doing in class. As i stated my son also was chosen and after the questions he was teated did great but wasnt chosen for the final so i believe it is random. Dont worry about it its just great to be chosen weather they actually get picked for the gt classes. By the way my son is in 1st grade now and is a wiz at reading he reads at a 4th grade level so i am happy with knowing he was chosen at one time. Good luck.
D.B. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
GT testing usually is an IQ test. As a psychologist, I used to do this testing with kids. There is no prep you can do, it tests general knowledge and reasoning skills. 5 is pretty young to do testing since results are not as stable as when they are older. Ask more about what kind of test they use and what skills they are measuring. They should and can tell you that. There are no secrets. They are just not going to tell you the questions, but they should be able to tell you what they are measuring with the tests.
L.G. answers from Austin on February 21, 2008
I used to do testing in the schools for children - both GT and otherwise...The testing is really no big deal. If they want to test her, I would agree. You can always say no to placement in GT. These tests are very expensive - upwards of $500 or more. So if the school wants to test her..that info is good for you to have.
It's the type of GT program you should be concerned about. Ask to speak to the GT teacher. Look at the curriculum..how they teach...what they teach. Observe the classroom for a couple of hours to get a feel of how the day runs. Some GT programs are just a bunch of busy work and lots of homework for the children...it might be too much for a kinder child. If your daughter is bored in the regular classroom and the reg. teacher thinks that the GT class will inspire her and create a joy of learning...then great! The last thing you want is a bored child who is not using her full learning potential. GT can be a wonderful program if implemented well within a school. However, I have seen otherwise in my experience. There is only one GT school in Austin - ACE Academy - a private school for truly gifted children. Their program I would recommend if you have a truly gifted child. There is a difference between a smart and gifted child. Gifted children do require a different kind of school setting to bloom.
I hope this helps in your decision.
C.G. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
If she is gifted, then you really don't need to know the test content. Gifted children cannot be taught or coached, they are just born that way.
Let her take the test and don't sweat it or make a big deal. If she gets in great, if not, no biggie.
It is awesome that she is nominated at all. It means her teacher thinks well of her and she is intelligent and ahead of her peers. Most people I know nominate their own kids b/c everyone wants to believe their children are gifted. An actual teacher nomination carries more weight. Very cool.
D.M. answers from Longview on February 20, 2008
My daughter, now 13, was tested and placed in the gifted and talented program. Basically it just places them for a higher level of learning. She is put in all honors or advanced classes. It pushes them a little bit harder than the regular classes. I think it is great because otherwise she would have been bored. Hope this helps!
R.W. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
Yes,Yes,Yes. I would suggest if you child was nominated to let her test. I agree, I would not prep her. You want to know if she truly should be in there otherwise she will struggle and get frustrated. I was not good in school, I struggled always. However my Kindergarten is struggling with behaving in school because she is so bored. Some kids are really smart. I did not realize that they had Gifted so young until my daughter got one too. But I am so grateful. She needs to be kept VERY busy. And she loves it. It is never anything I pushed on her. To be honest I always felt guilty that as my youngest I never took the time to sit down and read with her like I should have. Well without me reading to her like I should have she is at almost a 2ND grade reading level in Kindergarten! The only thing I learned in Kindergarten was how to get a long with others. Colors maybe? I think, to a point, it is good that the kids who struggle can get help now and the kids who are further ahead can do harder work so they don't get bored. I hope this helps. The down side is our oldest in in ALL AP (advanced placement) classes. In Jr. High! I watched a show last night actually about kids getting burned out and not being able to have fun like teenagers should. They talked about how kids should be taking collage courses in college not high school. Heck my kid is in Jr. High. I do make sure he has choices and activities he enjoys so he does not get burned out. But tonight I plan on talking to him to make sure this is what he wants. Even though I think it his pretty hard at his age to know what he really wants. I need to make sure he is not getting burned out. They talked about us raising a bunch of test takers. That after the test they forget the material because the never learned it. I hope this did not confuse the matter. I think they have to do some of it to stay competitive (at the older level). At the younger level I want to make sure my children are having fun learning, not bored but also not frustrated because the work is to hard. Blessings
M.R. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
My son was nominated by his teacher last year in kinder for the GT program. I asked around to see if I should have him take the test and came to the conclusion "why not"? So he took the test and did not score high enough on all the sections. He did well but didn't reach the numbers they wanted. Then when 1st grade rolled around, we found out that he was in the GT class. Out of 9 kinder classes - only 2 were actually classified as GT. But they needed to fill the class, so they pulled students that had taken the test and done well. So he is "Clustered" with other kids in the GT class this year. They do not make that public knowledge - and say "your child is in the GT class". I found out from a Kinder teacher that this certain teacher is the GT teacher. So anyway - he is doing well in there. His teacher said the difference between her class and other 1st grade classes is that she usually only has to go over things once opposed to two or three times. Also - in the coming years he might not be clustered with these same kids. But if I had to do it over again - I would do the same thing. Especially if a teacher nominates a child - there is no harm in taking the test. I have to say - his class is really well behaved this year. Good luck with your decision!!!!
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
J.C. answers from Odessa on February 21, 2008
The GT Program is great! It means that your child is actually functioning above her level and that the teacher believes she has special talents, etc. It will be a great opportunity for your little girl. They have several different activities for the children as well. Allow her to at least test for it. Teachers nominate certain students every year, so even if she doesn't qualify this year she may end up doing so in the years following. Once she is accepted into the GT Program, she will be in it from now on.
Here is a link to where you can read up on the program itself.
Best of luck to your little girl!
M.W. answers from Austin on February 21, 2008
Our grandson's school just sends home a form for parents/guardians to fill out telling things that might indicate (s)he is GT such as paying closer attention to things, being curious, having a larger vocabulary. You might just want to ask other parents at your school. Our youngest son was in GT and it meant lots more homework. His school also was heavy on things like English and not on his interests which were math and science, not that he couldn't do the English. He did some marvelous work.
Look, just let the kid be tested. It won't hurt and he might enjoy it. Our grandson is in it and they don't pressure him, just offer him more opportunities. I personally subscribe to several magazines for him (NICK, children's NAT'L GEOGRAPHIC, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED FOR KIDS) and bought him some Star Wars books inc. a cookbook.
S.D. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
Not sure how they do it now, but ours was decided upon using an IQ test (back about 23 years ago). In kindergaten GT we went to another room and read books with the teacher and worked on brain teasers. It was a lot of fun. It is just a way to identify the more gifted/talented children in the class and expose them to new ideas and concepts to help stimulate learning. It's a great program. See the link: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/gted/GifTal.html
D.C. answers from Killeen on February 21, 2008
I am a mother or 3 very bright boys. My oldest started testing for TAG (at least thats what it was called in my day) in kindergarten also. They are very secretive about the whole process. He did not make it into the GATE program until 3rd grade. I just continued to let them nominate him and test him because I knew he was a very bright child. The only thing I had a problem with at first was how was I going to tell my child he didn't make it in the program if he asks. Well, he really didn't ask until the 1st grade. My response was Cameron I really don't know why you didn't make it but apparently they think you're TAG material because they keep nominating and testing you. Well this year my middle son, who is in first grade, was nominated by his teacher. He didn't make it in the program. I simply told him the same thing I told his brother and I also told him it took his brother 3 times to get in GATE. I was in TAG in my school days and it is really just a program to stimulate the minds of gifted children so they don't get bored in school. I don't know how kindergarten works but my son goes to GATE out of the classroom one day a week, and he is excused from the work that is done that day in class. I wish you the best of luck and just keep praising your daughter whether she makes it or not. I don't believe it is as big of a blow to a childs ego or self-esteem as we think it is, so please allow her to get tested as many times as they nominate her. I believe it is a really good program. Take care and God Bless!!!
A.C. answers from San Antonio on February 21, 2008
My kids have been involved with GT for several years now. There is not much you can do to help them out for testing except filling out the survy form from the GT teacher. The GT Teacher testing them at school for it. I do beleive it is a great program. It allows the kids to think outside the box. It will help them in the future for reports/projects that are assigned. I believe it helps them to do an even better job on their reports. Thinking outside the box. Don't stress to much on it. If she gets it now that is great another head start she will have. If she doesn't they can test her again (I think every 2-3 years). I know for sure it is not every year (unless they changed it). Because of cost, time, testing and reviewing...
K.H. answers from Killeen on February 21, 2008
the "CogAT" cognitive abilities test, is actually 9 separate tests. 3 measuring skill in verbal reasoning, three in quantitative reasoning, and three in nonverbal reasoning. they are timeed tests which are adequate for most students.These are not achievment tests, they do not measure how well the student does, they measure students abilities to discover and use relationships, and to show flexibilty in reasoning.
the average score is 50%, about 10% of studeants will test above 90%, 4% percent will score above the 96th% and only 1% will test above 99th%.
only students who score above the 96th% will be accepted into TG, do not be discouraged if your student does not get accepted, being nominated is a great deal.
there really is no way to prepair you child for the test other than make sure they get good sleep, a good breakast, and a calm morning.
the TG program is a big part of family life as there needs to be alot of interaction from the family to complete projects. So if your child is accepted be prepaired to participate and be active in your childs education.
I hope this helps.
E.W. answers from Austin on February 22, 2008
I have had five kids go through GT testing, three of them made it. The kindergarten level is the easiest and the most preferable. At our school, they were very careful to make it painless and simple for the K level. Never more than 30 min of testing in one sitting--so the testing takes about two weeks. My daughter thought the whole thing was a game. My second grader quit on the second day because he did not like the pressure and he did not want to create a project. Kindergarten was the only grade where a project was not required. My Fifth Grader loved the whole process and made it. My sixth grade boy girl twins tried. one made it the other did not. the one that did not make it was devastated for 3 months and lost friends at school over the process. After one and half school years of watchting the GT process, I believe that the most bang for your buck is in the elementary school. Our GT program for the now first grade girl is excellent. The middle school program is take it or leave it and does not really seem to challenge. Your little one should continue --this is the best time to try.
L.M. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
My 17yr old daughter has been in the GT classes since 3rd grade. I was not aware of the testing any sooner than that. I,like you, am a little concerned ss she is only in kindergarten. As far as what to expect, basically, more school work. Really. I think the concept is wonderful, and it is going to help her get an academic scholarship for college and that I am grateful for,but the pressure that is placed on these kids is unbelievable. Don't feel like you have to let her do just because someone nominated her.It is not for everyone that passes the exams. I know 6 children that started with my daughter that have "dropped out" of the program over the years because of the pressure these kids are under. This is something you and your husband need to think about long and hard. I wish you luck in whatever descion you make.
S.O. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
This is very beneficial for your daughter's long term education. First of all once your accepted in your in as long as you chose to be. Later on in junior high and highschool this program changes it's name to AP classes, which will give you high school credits in junior high and college credit in highschool. The testing is based on 6 catergories. Both of my kids were in it my daughter was tested at the beginning of kindergarten and her creativity was to average to be accepted till the teacher just couldnt believe that she didn't get in and had her retested at my consent at the end of the kindergarten year and she made it her creativity had matured during the year. My son was very strong in creativity and his iq was like 48 points higher than my daughters. That's the test they give them is an iq test. After the test I was able to review the test. This was like 14 years ago but one thing I remember is that they had shapes drawn out and they were told what to make out of them, like a barn, or house then some of the shapes that weren't your regular circle, square ect. Scribbles really, they were asked to come up with something. Sort of like making pictures out of clouds. That was the creativity part. Thats really all I reviewed since at the beginning of the year she was weak in that area. I remember the test was based on reading and math also. I hope you read what I wrote because being in the gifted and talented will help them later on, in that AP classes are harder, I noticed that being in gt in elememtary helped my kids be prepared for the challenge. My oldest went into Highschool with 4 highschool credits from being in AP classes. My second had 5 credits. She had my oldest help her choose the right electives that would help her in HS. Good luck
L.G. answers from Houston on February 20, 2008
I had my daughter tested which was advised by her grandmother who was a teacher and counselor. You will participate by filling out a questionnaire regarding your childs habits, personality, etc. Your feedback will help determine is the child is GT.
Only the top 5% of children in the population are placed in GT classes so it is very rare. Remember, that's not top 5% in the class or school, thats across the board.
I can't recall exact skills that kids are supposed to achieve in kindergarten but when you look at her report cards, just reference the tasks/skills they are graded on. Those are where she should be or where she should be trying to achieve.
The fact that the teacher sent home the form speaks for itself.
If she gets placed, the child will remain in her regular class with regular kids but I THINK they will be giving more advanced work and as they get older I believe they are placed in advanced classes with other kids at the same level.
This way, it will keep her interested and challenged versus bored and held back.
B.H. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
I teach Kindergarten and the testing is not bad. It is not book knowledge. It is actually the way the child thinks. You really cannot prep your child. On target for K at this point is a reading level of maybe 3 or 4, knowing all sounds and letters, being able to blend words to read, writing words (simple words) simple addion with pictures, rhyming, etc. I am sure your child is fine. Try the testing and see what happens. I am on my third child in the program and I have not had a problem with it. They learn a little different stuff, some harder stuff, and may go at a faster pace - in the older grades - but it is not bad. Parent support is needed in the GATE program. Hope this helps. I encourage my parents to try and see what happens...you never know.
L.B. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
Years ago our daughter was tested when she was in first grade. She is now in 8th. It really is quite an honor and a life long one at that if she qualifies. Our daughter did not however. She is very smart but not quite what they were looking for. Being tested and qualifying means your child would be place in GT classes through out her school years. It has many advantages, like enrichment programs, speacial trips for GT students, and a great transcript for college. GT students are almost always at the top of their graduating class. It really is quite an honor just to be nominated. But if she goes through the GT program could mean bigger rewards later in life. Congrats. And don't worry, it will be great.
J.D. answers from San Antonio on February 21, 2008
As a retired elementary school principal and now the care-giver for 3 month old granddaughter I can share some with you regarding the GT testing. In the state of Texas the public schools are required to test "high achieving" students for possible placement in GT programs in kindergarten. Testing is only done with parental approval and not all students who are tested qualify. As you mentioned the type of tests cannot not be released to ensure the validity of the results. By TEA rules the tests cover a wide range of skills/abililities because we know that giftedness can show in various intelects. I suggest that you do allow the school to test your daughter, no harm done and you will get the results of the testing. I don't know which school district you live in, but a kindergarten GT program is usually very limited. The identified children are often pulled out of class for a few hours each week (during the spring semester) to work with a teacher who has GT certification. It is also advantageous because the classroom teacher will gain a better understanding of your daughter's unique abilities and be able to better meet her needs. The GT program usually increases in time in first grade, with students pulled-out for up to half-day/wk. It is great for the children to have this time to work in the small group with peers of similiar level.
Let me know if I can assist, or you have specific questions.
P.S. answers from San Angelo on February 21, 2008
Hello!! Gifted and talented children are generally 1st born children because you spend more time and resources on your 1st child than you do on the later ones.
I have been blessed with 3 children who are gifted and talented and placed in the GT programs. These children are very smart, they ask adult questions, and can be very unnerving to teachers.
The gifted and talented class develops their special gifts further. Critical thinking is used predominantly in teaching these kids. These are the kids that will take AP classes in high school.
Your child could also be selected to jump a grade or two because they are so very smart. Please don't do it!! I was extremely smart as a child, my mother declined. When the school offered to jump my children 2-3 grades, I declined. They may be smart enough for the class, but their maturity and emotional skills are below their classmates if they advance and a whole new set of problems occur.
But it is your decision to make. You can also help your child by giving her educational computer games to play on the computer.
One last thing, she would be with other children with similar talents in a gifted program or she could be the brain in her current class. One thing that is vital for her growth over the next few years will be self esteem. Trust me on this or look at studies done on young children, especially girls.
L.B. answers from Brownsville on February 21, 2008
I have 3 children Grace 9 (3rd grade), Will 6 (1st grade) and Joe 4 (Pre-K). My 2 oldest have been tested every year since Kinder and have never gotten in. I think that there should be no pressure on them. If they get in great if not it's not the end of the world. There is enough stress on them as it is. I will say that GT is a great program and they really do alot of interesting activities, but they are also required to do all of their classroom work that was missed.
F. answers from San Antonio on February 21, 2008
I have two children, fourth grade and kinder, who are in the G/T program at their elementary school. I was also in a G/T program when I was in school. It is a great supplemental program that promotes critical thinking skills and taking things one step farther. If your daughter's teacher thinks she should be tested, I would go for it. The testing isn't intimidating or scary in any way, it is just different from a regular testing situation because they are looking for certain aptitudes and skills. Both of my kids love the G/T program. In our school it is a pull-out program, and my kids enjoy the smaller class size and the challenging curriculum. Good luck with your decision!
E.T. answers from Beaumont on February 21, 2008
Well, I don't remember much about the testing itself, but I would strongly recommend letting your child take the test, pressure- free. They did the same thing to me when I was in Kindergarten, and thankfully the schools here had a really good program for GT students that benefitted me greatly (and my 3 sisters as well). We were placed in GT programs called Summit & VEGA, and it was a wonderful thing to be a part of. The big problem with gifted children who are not challenged enough in school is that they get bored, and often develop behavioral problems, or just don't take school seriously. The GT programs, if they are set up right, understand that some children need a little more of a challenge to stay interested and along with that, avenues to express their creativity. The programs here nourish the child's desire to learn, and their creativity, and also reward them with extra field trips and fun class projects that are interesting and educational. I certainly would recommend allowing your child to participate, but I would also strongly recommend that you pay attention to the program and ask lots of questions, like how they plan on challenging your child. Some programs, like the Summit program when it first came out here in the 80's, only doubled the work load, not the difficulty of the work. That is NOT the idea behind challenging the kids, so please do not let that happen to your child. My mom actually ended up taking my oldest sister out of the progam because before they worked out the details of what it meant to be GT and trained the teachers for it, they were only assigning extra problems. That will be even more frustratiing for a GT kid, because once they know how to do something they want to move on, not do redundant problems all day. The only reason my mom let me (and my younger sisters) in the program is they assured her that things had changed in the 6 years since my sister had tried it. I am glad she gave it another shot with us! It certainly won't hurt for your child to take the test, but don't stress over it. If she doesn't get accepted don't take it too hard or be disappointed because as you stated, there are very few slots for the program. But take it as a good sign that the teacher nominated your daughter, and know that she is already ahead of the curve if she is being considered for the GT program. Congratulations, you must be doing something right! Oh, and not all districts have funding for GT programs these days, so it's fantastic that hers does!
A.G. answers from Waco on February 21, 2008
My granddaughter is in the GT program at Hewitt Elementry and loves it. They do their regular school work from what I undertstand and then on certain days they go to the GT program and to be honest I'm not sure what they do. Anyway she is doing quiet well and it doesn't hurt for them to be tested and I think the program is great. If you like I can give you my dauther's email address and she can tell you more about it.
T.L. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
My son is in the 2nd grade. He has been tested for the GT class. In our school the 2nd grade is considered the "talent pool". I was real suprised when they told me that my son was going to be in this class...reason being is I have twins, one boy and one girl. My girl is really smart (book wise). My son could careless...But he is ALWAYS asking questions about anything and everything. His teacher told me that she saw something in him. Now he goes once a week to this class. He does extra projects that is really cool. I really do believe that it teaches them to use their brains in different ways. I am proud that my child is in this class.
T.E. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
I have a degree in clinical psychology (and had to take a class on IQ testing) and I was tested for GT WAAAAAYYY long ago. They're probably just going to administer one of the IQ tests appropriate for her age. The test administrator will take her in a room and ask her some questions and/or do some puzzles. They try to make it an unintimidating as possible (if they're a good test administrator). More along the lines of "I'm going to ask you a few questions and you give me the best answer you can" or "now you're going to do a few puzzles, some are easy and some are hard, so do the best you can". These sorts of statements would probably be a good way for you to explain the process to her.
They should also take into consideration her performance in her classes and other information that you provide. Try not to be too tough on her if they give you a questionaire about her abilities. Parents tend to downplay their children's accomplishments and abilities - we're taught to be too modest. :-)
Congratulations on having a daughter who has made an impression on her teacher(s). Even if she doesn't make it into GT classes, you at least know that her teachers see her as very bright and capable. :-)
S.C. answers from Austin on February 21, 2008
My daughter is in Kindergarten, too and they just completeld the GT testing. This is what the GT teacher told me: GT is kinda like an enrichment program. When these kids score high on the test, they can handle "extra" or "other " work in which they learn even more on a higher level . The test is pretty hard and I know in our school only 7 out of 100 kids were accepted into the program. The 7 kids who scored the highest were put into the Gifted and Talented Program. If they don't make it this year, they can be tested again next year. If your child's teacher is nominating her, I bet your daughter does well in school! I'm a former teacher and have seen some really good GT programs-just depends on the teacher. As far as where your child should be functioning-I'd talk to her teacher and also pay careful attention to her progress reports and report cards.
C.F. answers from Brownsville on February 21, 2008
E.Y. answers from Victoria on February 25, 2008
Both my kids were nominated for testing - at a later age. They test in our area in late elementary for placement in middle school. They both tested as G&T would be beneficial for them. They are now in 6th and 8th grade and in GT classes. From what GT teachers have told me, GT teaching is not for "smarter" kids it is a different approach to teaching to keep the kids from being bored. At the age my kids are now, they have a few more projects than kids in the non-GT classes, but it is not overwhelming to them - maybe because they benefit from GT testing- duh! Anyway, it has worked out fine for us.
R.B. answers from San Antonio on February 21, 2008
We nominated our son when he was in first grade. I am not sure how your school district does it, but if your child tests and qualifies, she will get to spend a few hours once a week in GT and get a lot of great experiences. The higher the grade the more time they get. My son started all day TAG once a week last year.
My son is now in fourth grade and he just loves it. Throughout the last four years, he has made a model bridge, eyeball and brain replica, learned powerpoint and many other things. It has been such a blessing for him as well as myself as he has had the same teacher for the last few years. I have become very active and involved with his TAG class and do everything I can to help. They also get to go on field trips.
TAG is always the highlight of my son's week.
The testing is not so bad especially since she is so youg. They will go over it with you after it is completed regardless if your child quailifies or not if you request it.
Good luck and I hope this helps.
J.M. answers from El Paso on February 21, 2008
Hi J., my name is J.. My son is in a GT program at his school. First I have to say, I'm very surprised that your daughter's school has GT available at such a young age. At most school's the program is only available after 3rd grade. But if you are interested in knowing a little about it I can tell you about it. Basically what GT has meant for my son is that he has regular classes but some of his core classes like science, math, history and language are very small classes that stress hands on activities and labs. It's not a lot of book work,, they do more projects, and they get a lot of independent studies. MY son has really benefited from this program. Before he was easily distracted in class and would get bored very easily. My son's teacher commented that it probably was due to the fact that my son felt he was being held back, since he wanted to do more. Now he is animated and excited about the new experiences in his GT classes. I'm not sure what kind of benefits it would offer your daughter at such a young age but if you really want to get the inside scoop about the GT program offered at your daughter's school, talk to the counselor at the school. She/He would probably be able to offer you more info, maybe even set up a way for you to sit in on a GT class that your child might encounter next year if she gets in the program. I hope I've been able to give you some insight into your question.
E.M. answers from Beaumont on February 21, 2008
My daughter was tested at age 5 as well. The test is relatively simple, a basic IQ test combined with the TAKS. Although her IQ was well above what is considered average, she missed one too many questions on the other part. Here's what they don't tell you...almost none of the kids will be labeled GT in kindergarten. But they do flag those kids and watch them throughout school. They also "cluster" those children together in classes. You will notice as she goes through the grades, that the same kids are always together. My daughter is now 10 and in a GT 4th grade class based upon her scores on the 3rd grade TAKS and her maturity. Another thing...they did not inform the parents of this before hand. We found out at Open House two days before school started. The Program is simply accelerated learning. They do not spend as much time per subject and delve more "in-depth" into the lesson. They also have more group projects and "research papers." Overall, I have been pleased with the Program, but it is not for the feint of heart. There is a lot of responsibility involved on both the child's and parent's side. As for what to expect for a kindergartener, if she is being singled out to test for GT then she is well above what is required of her to accomplish in kindergarten. So don't fret...she is on track. I hope this helps.
D.B. answers from El Paso on February 21, 2008
My 18 year old son was tested for the GT program when he was in the 2nd grade. I had asked why he hadn't been tested earlier, but in my state they aren't allowed to test until they are in 2nd. Anyway, that is neither here nor there. My son is extremely gifted and talented. The GT program challenged him in numerous ways. There are drawbacks though, we live in a small community and very few children in his school were GT. Thus being said, he was pulled from his classroom and put in the GT class daily for 2-3 hours with 4 other students (from 2nd - 5th grade). Although he was greatly challenged and loved his teacher, he lost out on some very valuable and practical social skills.
He functions on a plane I am unfamiliar with, beats to his own drum and often times drives me insane...lol! He has acquaintances, but only one true friend.
He was not a straight A student, made mostly C and some D's on his report card. If they graded only on his tests instead of including homework in jr high and high school, he would have been a straight A student. Every test he has ever taken he has either aced or missed two at the most.
G.G. answers from San Antonio on February 21, 2008
My daughter is an adult now, but she went through the GT testing and did quite well in elementary school with the program. I think it is meant to be a good program for the children, and it may well be in primary school. But, from my own experience, once she got into junior high school, they placed her into the national junior honor society, then on to honor classes in high school. She began to do poorly in high school because she didn't feel like she fit in with her peers. I tried to pull her out of the honor classes, but they wouldn't allow it. They told me that once they are placed in them, they cannot be replaced into other standard classes. As a result, she became very "anti-school'. She is 27 years old now and is just now starting into some college classes. I'm very happy to say that she has made it into the deans list every semester, but it has taken her a long time to regain the desire to study. They really overloaded her with alot of homework in the honor classes. Sometimes the educational programs mean well for our children, but I think as parents we should really go by our own gut feelings. I didn't listen to mine...and paid for it later. I hope this helps.
D.F. answers from Austin on February 21, 2008
My oldest son was in the same boat. I got the form and ignored it because I wanted him to just enjoy kindergarten. The teacher ended up calling me and asking me to please sign the release. I am really glad that I did. He did make it into the GT program and it was great. It was a great way for him to explore other areas and do special projects as well as take field trips with the school. We also received lots of information from the school on happenings around our area. He is now in the seventh grade and doing great. He needed that extra challenge. Hope this helps.
R.R. answers from Houston on February 22, 2008
Great and go for it! You didn't say what district you're in and they're all different in one way or another. I have 3 kids and all are in the program. We have a pull out program, where one day a week in elem they go to another school for the day. The classes are run somewhat differently, more group participation, project and team work style but still some individual work. All 3 loved it, although my older 2 are now in middle school and are at an advanced cirr school. I would recommend this in Texas especially because once your child has been accepted it's recognized statewide. The first year in all 3 had to unlearn habits-they had learned to only answer the question asked or be in trouble, not to keep bothering the teacher for more information and at the GT class these behaviors were preffered-something that has made transitioning to middle school a breeze. I believe that you cannot pass up any opportunity to exposed your kids to more learning and learning styles, especially when they don't realize they're learning!
The test itself, don't stress it, just like the TAKS. Less said about it the better, that way they just take it all instride. What they don't tell you...if you disagree when the score come back verrrrry close to the cut off you can appeal and they can retake the test. I did this with my oldest siting nervousness (her scores were very opposite of her grades and past teacher's opinions of her learning ability) and she made 100% on all of it. The other part is, the schools get paid a certain amount per child attending by the state each day. GT kids fall into Special Needs catagory and the schools receive additional funding per day for them, so it's in their best interest to participate. If your child is high achieving and you want her to participate, don't take no for an answer if the scores are close enough!
In middle school and high school, being GT certified in language and math dictates which classes the student is allowed to take. Leaned this one the hard way, didn't appeal a 98 score in math in 5th grade has held my 12 yr old back and frustrated, esp when she has more of an apptitude than the other one!
Negotiating school careers is like managing a small corporation! Good luck!
K.R. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
My son is in G.T. classes. They test them just to see what level they are on and how much they know then go from there. If your child is G.T. the school will let you know. Your child will either be put in another class with the G.T. kids or she will move at a much faster pace then the rest. It's all good though. Let me know if I can answer anymore questions. K. R.
L.P. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
The testing involves 2 or 3 tests. The children are put into "percentiles" and your district will have a set guideline that they go by to decide which students are accepted into the program. Contact the administration building for your district and ask to speak to the G/T Specialist to get all the details. Each district is different. If accepted, your child may be pulled out of class for an hour a couple times a week or your school may have some other sort of program. If she is placed, know your rights as a parent of a G/T child. My older son is G/T and I did not understand what this designation means, legally, as far as the school is concerned. There are guidelines the school must follow to accommidate a G/T student. It is a great thing, but it can also be tough on the kids. SOmetimes too much is expected of them. They are, after all, still little kids.
M.R. answers from Boise on February 21, 2008
Both of my boys were nominated for GT testing in kindergarten. I gave permission for both to get tested. My older son didn't pass in kinder, but it wasn't a big deal. For some reason they have to wait a year before being tested again so he couldn't take the test in first grade but was nominated again in second and passed. He wouldn't have cared that much except that while he was in first, my younger son tested into the program when he was in kinder so my older son was a little jealous. Now they are both in GT(John 1st grade, Joey 2nd) and they go at the same time which they think is kind of cool. They meet once a week for a few hours. The program at our school seems pretty good. I would give my permission to have her tested as it is a great program, but if it she doesn't make it, I would not worry about it at all. She will probably test in again in a year or two and if not it really doesn't mean anything. Kids can change so much in a year or two at this age.
L.C. answers from Austin on February 21, 2008
Hi, my 3rd grader is in the GT program this year. When he tested last year, it really didn't seem like a big deal to me. He had to do a small project that he presented to a small group of teachers. He was also nominated by his 2nd grade teacher. She was a GT teacher herself. I thought the questionaire that I had to fill out was the most difficult part! They ask you all kinds of questions on how you think your child compares to their peers regarding all different types of things. I answered the best I could and he did his little presentation to the GT teachers and he was accepted. I get the impression that it wasn't all that difficult to get in. My son is very smart and he's strong in certain subject areas, but "gifted"? Not sure about that:)
C.W. answers from Sherman on April 09, 2008
Both of my kids tested for GT. Both were in the program at Colbert school. It's a good program. Nothing really secretive about it. They go to the GT class one hour a day. GT stands for Gifted and talented. GT gives kids that sometimes get bored with normal school work a challenge without increasing the load on them. The GT teacher at school will gladly tell you about the test, how your child did, and what the program will be doing.
J.L. answers from Waco on February 21, 2008
Hello. My youngest daughter is now in third grade, and has been in the GT program since last year. In our district, they have to be nominated by someone on the school staff. They do take a test, but I honestly couldn't tell you what is on it. There was also a very detailed parent questionaire that we had to fill out about our child. In second grade the GT kids met once a week for a four hour block, had special assignments, special field trips based on those assignments. It was all school contained, no homework, except at the end of the year. They had a very detailed project that they worked on for the last four months of the year with a project board, a written report, and they did live presentations for the other classes in the school. There were ten GT kids in her class last year, and they were all on a little bit different level. She loved it, it gave her that extra advanced work she needed to challenge herself, and she could pace herself. Now in third grade, they meet once a week but it is only for an hour. Again, in our district they do not have to retest, once you are in the program, you are accepted into it each year unless you wish for your child to not participate. Hope this helps, if your child is accepted, it is always something you can start and see how she enjoys it.
D.C. answers from San Antonio on February 21, 2008
My daughter has been in GT since K. In our school testing is done in stages. Kinder through Second, Third through Fifth. My daughter was tested in K and will be tested at the beginning of next year to see if she continues onto Third GT. She will not be tested until 5th to see if she will go onto Middle School GT. While kids in GT are not tested every year, teachers each year will nominate students in they're classes that they think will benefit from GT. A child's First Grade teacher might not nominate him, but his Second Grade teacher still can. Three kids in the whole K grade were tested (they were in her K classroom), she was the only one accepted that year and had one-on-one time with the GT teacher for two hours a day every Friday. In Second grade, the other two were again tested plus several from other classes who were not nominated in K. 7 out of ten of them were placed in GT that year, including the two who tested in Kinder. The class went from one in Kinder to eight in the First grade. There are a couple more this year. My daughter will have to test again at the end of this year or the beginning of next year for Third grade GT. I'm not sure her scores will get her in because she doesn't feel she needs to read the sample problems and she also rushes through and skips questions which are automatically counted wrong.
I don't know what area your daughter excells in, each GT child is different. Just as an example, my daughter was organizing the candy counters at 2 years (you know how other people just put the candy back on any shelf instead of where it belongs?). She had to do it before we left or she'd be upset. She potty trained herself at 2 1/2. Really, I didn't get to "be Mommy".She taught herself her letters at 3. She would point at street signs and spell them out and she was learning that when put together in the right order they made words. She was truly reading at age 4. We were reading a book to her that she had just gotten for her birthday. My husbad was pointing at words he had read a couple of pages back and she was correctly identifying them. He wanted to see if she was just memorizing or really knew. He flipped forward several pages and pointed out words that he had not read. She started sounding them out and it was like a light flipped in her head and she started turning pages and reading words that most second graders have trouble with. She read that book all the way through with only a little bit of help after that. This was a Dick and Jane book. She started writing words (the way they sound mostly, the way all beginning writers do) after that and wrote her first sentence the night before the first day of Kinder. She was already counting to twenty. She looks at things and guesses the outcomes. A lot of times she's right and sometimes her guess is so off the wall you want to laugh. This is a GT trait. They think outside of the box. They may also have trouble sitting still. My daughter is constantly moving, the teachers actually let her stand by her chair in class while doing her work so long as she's not distracting others. She loves helping others. She also hates when she doesn't get it right the first time. That infuriates her. She's a perfectionist, but can't figure out where her toys go when it's time to pick up her room. In Kinder she was so bored with the homework and classwork that she actually asked for MORE work because she already knew the work and it took her about five minutes to do, the same way in First. This year she is actually being challenged because she is learning new things. However, she catches on quicker and gets bored with the work sooner, while some students are still trying to understand the topic. She does have subjects that she doesn't grasp as quickly. If the question isn't phrased just so, then she doesn't understand. She is very literal - if I say we'll do a string activity and then I use yarn instead, or if I say let's color and I get out the markers than she says I was wrong about what activity I said we were going to do.
My son who will start Kinder next year has practically grown up in the school since he was two - he knows the teachers, the librarian, the ladies in the front office. He knows the layout of the school. He has taken speech twice a week for 30 minutes each day, since he was three, but the GT teacher says that does not keep kids out of GT. She has watched my son and sees the same characteristics in him. I don't. She says you never know, kids don't always show the same traits. He may or may not get into GT. It doesn't mean anything intelligence-wise, it's a learning difference. If he makes it in - great; if not, no biggie. He is very intelligent, I just don't see GT in his future.
Our school has a pull-out program. My daughter is in a regular homeroom all week, but on Mondays she and her classmates go to the GT room for 2 hours. The students are not clustered in one homeroom class, they are scattered throughout the second grade teachers. They do NOT skip them from their current grade level to another (first to third or anything like that). Your daughter will be kept in her Kindergarten level. In GT, my daughter is working a grade or two above her regular class on different subjects, but she does the same work as the rest of her class outside of GT. She is not sent homework from GT - it is all in-GT work. I have taught my daughter that she is not smarter than the other students, her brain just learns faster and thinks differently, just as some students go to the guided reading teacher for extra help in some areas; different students learn at different paces - some need new ways to learn. In our GT, it's almost a Montessori type class. The kids may start off on one topic, but if they go off in a different direction then the teacher will let them explore the new idea so long as they are not simply goofing off. Example: They may start off discussing how soil gets nutrients, get side tracked to which animals eat plants, and end up talking about the differences between rocks, minerals and precious gems or how they're formed. If they start doing knock-knock jokes, the teacher redirects them. In a regular class, they aren't able to slide around like that because they are on a schedule.
I asked the GT teacher this morning for some information on the program. She said she'll send it to me. She'll give me info on the type of testing your daughter will go through, just not the name of the test. She has actually had parents find out which test will be given and had the child study it just to get in. I'm not sure who you spoke with at your school. Was it the GT teacher? If not, please ask for a conference time to meet him/her. I am up at the school all of the time volunteering and such, so I am able to talk to the teachers anytime I have a question if I see them when they're not in the middle of something. I have a great relationship with all of my daughter's teachers right now - I dread the first time I meet a teacher that I don't get along with.
I know this is long, I'm sorry. The stuff about my kids is to show how every child is different, even though it sounds like bragging. Looking at the other posters to your question, I can guarantee that they have all had similar experiences one way or another. My advice is let her be tested. It doesn't mean she has to go into GT this year. Maybe next year. If she does, you can let her join and if you don't agree with your school's program, or if your daughter doesn't enjoy it, take her out.
Whatever you decide, you'll make the right choice for your family.
M.H. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
I was actually in the GT program oh so many years ago. I'm glad to see that schools are still doing it.
I wouldn't worry about it. From what I remember it's just a test of creative/abstract thinking. It's not anything that is going to make your daughter feel bad if she doesn't get in.
GT programs just challenge kids to think a little more outside the box and gives them a better outlet for their creativity. I learned some useful things from those classes.
J.M. answers from San Antonio on February 21, 2008
I also got the paperwork the other day for my 5 year old son. Since this is my first in school as well, I also do not know what to expect from the test. My son's teacher has been discussing GT classes with us since October so I have had a little more time to research where a kindergartner's development should be. Remember, the are not just looking at academic development, but also their social development, maturity, passion, etc. It is my understanding that most kiddos in kinder are just starting to read and understand basic math. At my son's school, they base reading development on a DRA scale. My understanding is that most kids start at a level -A (the scale starts at -A, A, 1, 2, etc.) and are expected to read at a level 4 by the end of the year. When my son started kinder, they tested him and he was at a level 2, now he is at a level 8. Which is one of the main reasons he was nominated. His teacher also explained that his answers to questions are always more thought out and intelligent for his age.
As far as what happens when the children pass the tests, I have no clue. I am not sure if they go to a special class or just get more advanced assignments in their current class.
Good luck to your little girl! And Congrats to you!!!
S.H. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
I used to volunteer at my children's first public school. At first, I wanted so badly for my children to be tested for gifted/talented children and one counselor told me that usually gifted/talented children are gifted/talented in one specific area. The teachers look out for certain attention/behavioral/retaining abilities. They never tested any of my children and all of them are honors. My daughter (oldest child) just got nominated for National Honor Society by her principal at Dawson High. Next year she will be a homecoming nominee. I left the public system and homeschooled my children using K12/TXVA for 6 years.
In kindergarten, they were writing their names, reciting their addresses, recognizing alphabets, colors, shapes, forming simple 3-5 letter words, sounding out, drawing actual pictures, etc. along those lines. I now homeschool some community children. In my daycare, my 2 and 3 year olds are site reading, spelling their names. My business has outgrown us, so we had to move to Pearland for a new home. Click on 'watch me read' at www.lacingexcellence.org Since we're updating the system, it may be Friday before you can view 2 and 3 year olds reading. Before summer, all toddlers will be online for wiewing.
R.E. answers from Austin on February 21, 2008
It is so ironic that i decided to read my mamasource today because generally work is so insane that i delete and move on. I hope i can offer a little help this morning. i have 3 children and my middle son was sent home with a packet in kinder as well. Like you i thought he was on task for his age. So in answering all the questions like so you like your child is above level i said no. Because i thought he was on task as everyone else his age. Truly not knowing what a kinder child should be doing at that age. With my answers the school interpreted it as me not thinking/wanting his tested. The following year i got the GT information again and i called the teacher and explained that i wanted him to be tested but at my point of view i didn't think/realize he might be GT. He was tested and is in fact a GT student. He is now a 5th grader and likes be a GT student. From my experience to sum it up GT students are in mainstream classes but their are specific GT teachers that will keep your child challenged. The teacher makes sure your child recieves work and instruction on their level. For example, my son was reading at 11th grade level in 4th grade so he was challenged with books that fit his reading level where another student may have been reading at a 5th grade level in 4th grade and they would be reading a book fitting that level. All in all i would say dont be shy with GT testing it will benefit your child either way. Thanks
L.B. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
Actually - in my mind - there is no way to prep for the test. They test a childs maturity age vs their chronilogical age. They look for kids who are unusually observant and who can communicate well. Many kids exhibit these traits at some time or another - so they are looking for kids who exhibit this all the time.
Both my kids were tested and placed in G and T in the 1st grade. In our school district, the G and T kids were mostly in separate classes - not with the other kids. They did the same work as the other students in same grade - but were offered different methods and additional projects for accomplishing the same. The G and T students are not smarter - but my own personal term is that they are "faster processers" and so the curriculum challenges and caters to this. I was very pleased with the methods and curriculum in our district and both my kids did very well in school. I say - allow the kids to be tested for it. If they are selected - it means the program will be beneficial to them. If they are not selected , it is only because they do not fit the profile for that particular program - so no harm, no foul.
A "fifties something", married, full time working mom of two - who are now in their early twenties.
W.M. answers from Odessa on February 21, 2008
My little girl is 5 too and was just accepted in the GT program at school. This is my second little girl my first is in first grade. At this age the program is for around an hour per week. If she is accepted they will send home more information on the program. Our kinder. teacher said she rarely ever nominates children at this age because they are ususally too young to evaluate and it is hard to see the characteristics they are looking for in the program.
I just went with it and let my little girl test to see what they said.
My little girl never went to day care and this is her first experience in school with other children and she loves it.
The letter they sent home reads:
The instructional program will include some individual projects, cooperatve learning, critical thinking skills, higher level thinking skills, creativity, deductive and inductive reasoning and accelerated content. Additional field trips may be planned during the year.
In accourdance with the Texas State Plan for Gifted and Talented Education students indentified as potentionally gifted must receive differentiated (specifically enriched) instruction. This modified instruction is your child's right as long as she continues to meet the GT criteria.
Potential giftedness also has a responsibility. This responsibility requires that the student use her potential in a way that is positive, creative, and contributes to her development not only academically, but socially. Each semester you will recieve a report. This progress report will give you information on the activities during the program, up-coming events, participation, and behaviour in the G/T program.
I hope this helps.
D.L. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
My 8 year old daughter has been nominated for the testing 3 years in a row now and has not been placed in the Gifted and Talented Program. I have asked my daughter questions about the test and apparently it takes a couple of days to take it and its basically in reading and math. It seems to be sort of an appitutde test and it's fun for the children that are taking it. Each time she has completely aced the reading and was short a couple of points for the math. Expectations for not being placed are minimal. They are just considered above average and continue with normal day to day work. I am Happy to say that she has been an all "A" honor roll student since first grade. Good luck with your beginner.
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!
C.U. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
Hi J., I used to teach a couple of GT classes. I had to go through some district training. I think every district is somewhat different in how they test students, and qualify them as gifted. I think they're mostly looking to see how much your child thinks "outside of the box". Most children just mimic what's been taught, when a gifted child will come up with something you weren't thinking about, but it fits just as well (and usually even better) into what the teacher was assigning and teaching. Their answers don't look rehearsed or regurgitated (sp?). They think a lot more creatively, and come up with answers that aren't typical, but that are great answers and products. I don't know if that helps or not. At home, does your child come up with creative products? Has she brought home some remarkable work from school (for a kindergartner). They also seem to have a natural interest in learning. I know average kids can have an average interest in learning, but GT kids really are genuinely interested in learning longer than most other kids. The biggest discipline issue I had with my GT students was keeping them from reading while I was teaching. (If that tells you anything). I taught fifth grade Language Arts, Reading,and Social Studies. The teachers are told to differentiate more for GT kids. I did a lot of projects with my GT students, while my regular students did more things out of the book. I was allowed to be a little more free and creative with the projects I assigned. They LOVE research, and having a lot of freedom to go their own way with the products. There are a lot of rubrics involved so that they still stay along with the guidelines of the lesson and project, but it still allows them to be more freely creative. I hope this helps you some.
K.C. answers from Longview on February 21, 2008
The test is the Iowa Basic Skills Test. The reason it is so hard for K kids to get in is because some of the material is regional in nature and uses terms that we are not used to in the south. For example, They will be showed a picture of a window with a "crank" on it and ask them what it is? The answer is "crank", but most children here have never seen windows like that.
It is a good program in some ways. These kids are pulled out of class for more work (usually problem solving and fun), but they are still responsible for what they missed. Sometimes this is a probem and sometimes not. It really is personal choice. My daughter did not test in in Kindergarten (1 point away) and did test in with a perfect score the next year. She is home-schooled now so we go at the spped she needs, which is usually warp! Ha! Just ask some parents with older ones what their opinion is regarding the program if their children are in it. Hudson PEP is Longivew has a great program and the teachers work well with the kids being pulled out. It's a very unified school in how they handle most everything. We did not pull our kids out due to the school. I would pay extra(we are moving to another district) to put them in if we weren't homeschooling.
G.D. answers from Austin on February 21, 2008
Our oldest was tested in kindergarten and he was one of two kids that tested into the program. My husband and I were not even sure he should be tested. Trust your teacher.
The GT program usually does not have anything to do with how they score on typical classroom tests or if they can read or do advanced math etc.
Most GT programs focus on creativity and thinking "outside the box". It's is a great opportunity for those kiddos who need a different approach to education.
Good Luck and check out hoagies.com
L.N. answers from Austin on February 21, 2008
I teach 2nd grade at a public school and even though some districts are have slightly different qualifications for TAG/GATE, from the three states I have taught in, there are two ways to qualify for the program. For Intellectual, they take an IQ test most commonly used is the Raven. It is a lot of spacial relations and reasoning. You can't really teach the concepts and it is not as language based so a lot of students that come from a different country can pass the test without even mastering the English language. In most districts, if your child does not qualify, you usually have to wait two years to have your child tested again. Once they are in 3rd grade, they start taking standardized tests such as the TEKS and if they do well two years in a row, they can qualify for TAG/GATE for High Achieving. My advice to parents from being in TAG/GATE classes when I was young and from teaching these kids as a teacher would be:
1. Wait to get your child tested. First, the tests are long. There are over 50 problems on the tests that takes a lot of concentration. A lot of kids do not qualify when they are in K or 1st but will make it in 2nd or higher because they are able to concentrate for longer periods of time. The tests are not timed and when a student returns to the classroom quickly, chances are they did not qualify.
2. Don't make a big deal out of it. If you tell them it measures intelligence and they do not pass, they might think they are not intelligent. And if they do qualify, some of these kids stop trying because they think that they are already smart. High achieving kids actually do better in the long run in life than those who get in the program just by passing an intelligence test. Also, they might have a superiority complex and treat other students that are not gifted in a negative way. Also, you might notice that students who are labeled "highly gifted" due to their extremely high scores are somewhat socially awkward. Remember that TAG/GATE is in the Special Ed. rainbow so being in the program does not guarantee that they will do well in life just as much as students that do not qualify for TAG/GATE doe snot mean they will not do well in life.
3. There are a lot of different ways in which districts differ in identifying and teaching TAG/GATE kids. Some districts have testing for other gifts (the arts, physical ability, language/expressive, etc.) but most districts do not. Some districts distribute gifted kids in all the classes and have pull-out programs and some cluster the kids in one class. In public schools, there are at least one TAG/GATE teacher that gets paid for being in charge of testing and teaching the program. You should talk to that person to find out the specifics at your school.
All students are gifted in different ways. Make sure you encourage your child to be the best they can be and as teachers and adults, we know that the biggest deciding factor in life is effort.
M.H. answers from Austin on February 21, 2008
I nominated my daughter for the GT program in Kinder and again in 1st grade. We were not told when the testing would be and therefore no preparation was really done. We found out she was accepted near the end of the spring semester of 1st grade. I was able to find information on the AISD website under the GT program. I have not really had a good experience with her teacher regarding the program, mostly because I don't think she's had any GT kids in her class before. My daughter tends to do a lot of her work alone and at her own pace. I think each school is different but I know that once they are in the program they're in permanently and they don't have to re-test. I hope this helps some.
D.D. answers from Austin on February 23, 2008
Hi J., I'm a mom with 2 sons ages 22 and 19 and a daughter age 13. All three of them have been in the Gifted and Talented Program in AISD. You did not mention which school district you were in. In AISD when a child is placed in the Gifted and Talented program there is no significant change in the schooling. They remain in the class they have been in but the teachers are notified every year that the child has been identified as Gifted and Talented. As a result, teachers may provide enrichment activities for those students.
Having been a teacher myself (7th and 8th grade Reading and English) I can tell you from experience that it is not difficult to spot gifted and talented children even if they have not received that official designation. In my experience many teachers provide enrichment activities for those students who complete the class assignments quickly. easily, and in a much shorter amount of time than the majority of the students in the class.
AISD also periodically sends information to parents of children identified as Gifted and Talented that gives them pointers on what kinds of behaviors they can expect and tips on how to keep these children motivated academically.
In AISD, eligibility for Advanced Placement classes in middle school and high school is not confined to those who have received the Gifted and Talented Designation. Students and parents self-select for those classes. Quite often if teachers see that students they consider capable of doing the work in those classes do not sign up for them, they will take the time to talk to students and parents in order to encourage them to do so.
My advice about the testing is simply allow the schools to administer the test. Very few kindergartners are placed in the G/T program based on the tests but teachers tend to keep recommending these students in subsequent years. Parents may also request that their children be tested for this program. As an example, my oldest son's kindergarten teacher recommended that he be tested and he wasn't placed in the program. Then his teachers in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades recommended him for the program. He was not placed in it until 5th grade. (His 5th grade teacher later told me that he was highly creative but tended to be non-conformist and that although he always tested well within range for the G/T program, he was repeatedly ruled out because of his non-conformity. (I confess I never quite understood that since all of his teachers felt he was gifted and liked that he demonstrated an ability to problem-solve in creative and innovative ways.) She told me that when it appeared he was going to be ruled out again in 5th grade she made an appeal based on the fact that non-conformity was a known and identifiable trait of gifted and talented students, therefore that should be working in his favor rather than against him. Interestingly enough, all those years he was given plenty of enrichment activities by his teachers so that his schooling didn't differ from others who were officially identified as Gifted and Talented. My other son and daughter were tested in 2nd and 1st grade respectively and were both placed immediately in the G/T program.
Basically, from my experience as both a parent and a teacher I would tell you that it is great to have a child officially identified as Gifted and Talented but many, many teachers will provide enrichment for ALL students who demonstrate they are able and willing to learn more than the basic curriculum.
I hope this helps. D. D.
E.M. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
GT programs are very specific to your town/school district. I was in a small town and the "program" basically consisted of getting to play educational computer games during study hall. My husband, however, was in a much larger school and he was enrolled in higher level "fast-track" courses that allowed him to eventually graduate high school with some college credits under his belt.
You should definitely talk to the GT administrator for your district. I'd be surprised if they didn't have a pamphlet or even a parents' night set up to educate parents on what the GT program entails (not the test itself, but the program).
For what it's worth, if she is brighter than most kids, GT might keep her from getting bored with school,and I'd highly recommend giving it a shot. But also, I'm not convinced that testing at such a young age is all that predictive of future potential, so just be open to hearing what your child has to say about school and if her attitude ever shifts for the worse, make a change.
A.G. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
My daughter is in the GT program and has been for some time. She is in 6th grade now. I don't know too much about the testing itself, but it does allow the child to be challenged a little more, but not to the extent that it was overwhelming. They are given a little more challenging homework. What's nice is that all her friends are in the GT progam and they are all smart, wonderful little girls and boys who have a desire to succeed. And if you feel that it is too difficult for your child or too stressful, just take her out.
N.F. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
I have a 5th grader who has been in GATE classes since 1st grade. He was tested in Jan. of his kindergarten year. The test will cover 3 or 5 areas depending on the age of your child. Your child will need to score 90 something or better on the majority of the tests in order to go into the GATE class.
The tests check for academic excellence but at this age they are also looking for creativity or other areas of giftedness. For instance, they might give the child something to draw and will look for symetry and certain details. They may ask the student to look at four pictures and then tell a story using those pictures. They may test the students general academic level on reading and math. The teacher and/or parent will also be asked to fill out a questionaire on the child's tendancies. These tendencies will also be given a score.
If your child qualifies, then your child has the opportunity to be in the GATE classes throughout elementary school. These classes usually move at a slightly faster pace and offer a little bit more of a challenge in the learning environment. These students will also be placed in GATE/Pre-AP classes in junior high.
There are positives and negatives to GATE classes. If your child qualifies and you agree to let her go into these classes, she will be in class with the same children for several years. She will be placed with teachers who are qualified to teach gifted students and her class size will be much smaller than many other classes usually.
Each child has different abilities so it os hard to say where your child should be. I would think that in kindergarten she should be doing some reading and some basic math understanding.
Good luck and I hope this helps! However, don't be concerned if your child doesn't qualify. My second child does better on the TAKS test and makes better grades even in the Ventures/GATE class than her older sibling but she has yet to come close to passing the GATE test.
A.S. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
My oldest son is in third grade and was recently tested for GT. In our school district the main thing they test for is IQ, thier IQ has to be 132 which is well above average.
I also have a kinder. he is very much average in his class. He is starting to read and is writing sentences. From what I have heard GT has become more of a program to keep the bored children busy, losts of busy work, but we are not in it so I really don't know.
N.W. answers from Houston on February 22, 2008
One of my twin daughters had this testing. It is very simple and not intrusive at all. GT is a different way of learning. Not all GT kids make straight A's or have extremely high IQ's. Most do though. Basically, they have the brain to take on tasks that others cannot. They see things differently than you and I. Some kids in Kindergarten that can comprehend literature at a higher level. Or maybe they can build structures out of lego's that others their age cannot. You can spot GT kids fairly quickly in Kindergarten and the sooner they know the better. Tey do two different kinds of standardized testing in Kindergarten. The IOWA and an IQ test. These numbers also help the teachers spot the kiddos with a different level of learning. Also, as they progress in grades they get more freedom to learn on their own and they get to do really fun "out of the box" projects. I would definitely let your child take this test. It will set her up for having the best teachers in the school and will give her the choice in middle school and high school to take the classes that she chooses. In other words she can take GT or AP classes or she can take regular. She will get a higher GPA later for taking those GT and AP classes though. Good luck!
Mom to twins Arielle and Ashlyn, 8 year old FT
Klein Independent School District
R.G. answers from Austin on February 21, 2008
My daughter was first tested for GT when she was in kindergarten at the suggestion of her teacher. My daughter demonstrated verbal and cognitive skills above that of a typical kindergartener. My late husband and I knew she was bright, but we didn't think she was that far above the average kindergartener. Due to unexpected illnesses while she was being tested in kindergarten, she ended up taking the series of tests in first grade and did very well. She now has the GT designation that will follow her through 12th grade. All it means is that this child tends to learn above the norm and needs to be more challenged in their normal work than other kids their age. These are the kids that will more than likely be taking the advanced and honors courses in middle and high school. It's not a bad designation to have. You should complete the paperwork to have your child tested. It doesn't hurt to try. It might eventually help your child. I know it has mine because the teachers recognize that those kids need to be challenged more and have a need to gain more knowledge in the classroom. My child is now in 3rd grade and absolutely loves school! It helps that all the 3rd grade teachers in her school are GT certified, too!
H.J. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
Our daughter just finished her GT testing. We knew going in she should be in GT and probably accelerated (she's 5, reads like she's 9). She's currently splitting kindergarten and 1st grade (she's in a cluster class for 1st grade where the kids all read at or well-above grade-level, so she's in there for language arts).
GT testing should not be secretive...that's just goofy. You can't prep your kid for IQ testing. They should be doing a standard IQ test as part of their test battery, send home a questionaire, talk to the teacher(s) and observe the child.
GT kids aren't just smart or early readers or some sort of priodigy. They also think differently from their peers. They often show "more"...creativity, sensitivity, insight. Some are natural leaders. There are a lot of characteristics.
The biggest things these kids often need is to have curriculum presented more in-depth and at a faster pace, but it varies by child. Too often these kids get bored, then they act out or start to dislike school.
Since the teacher recommended your daughter for GT, set up a conference and talk to her about why she recommended her, how is she the same/different from her peers.
We have found books by Sally Yahnke Walker and Judy Galbraith to be helpful. Go to the library, do a search for "gifted and talented children" and see what they have. Good search string for Google, too.
Good luck! There is a lot of info out there, and often once you find one site, it'll lead to others. Try www.gtworld.org as a starter.
P.B. answers from Austin on February 21, 2008
My daughter, now 24, was tested at the same age. I also work in the education system. Testing does not mean placement that will always be YOUR option. Once in a TG program a student can always be removed at parent request. Talented and Gifted does not mean smarter. These students are generally intelligent but the big difference is how they learn. These students tend to look at things differently. I always told my daughter she was not smarter just thoughtful. There are two types of TG kids. I call them poets and scientists. Those creative kids who can't pick up a room because they caught up in one toy, can't throw things away because of what they see in it etc. The guy who invented velcro had to be TG. Everyone else in the world just picked the burrs out of their clothing, this guy stopped and examined one and recreated it.
The testing when my daughter was young consisted in part with just drawing pictures in circles on a page. There are pictures commonly drawn by people they count the uncommon pictures. This is just a part. My daughter thought the testing was fun and never knew or felt "tested" I have rambled a bit but I hope this gave you some information.
T.S. answers from Longview on February 21, 2008
I have 3 kids that have been nominated for it and been it, then pulled out.
You have to look at how your school utilizes it. It is basically the same curriculum with little added things. For instance my son was given projects to work on --which he hated. But he was also with a teacher that allowed and accepted children to move around more and interact more as long as they got their work done.
My dd thrived in it and loved the projects. She also did not like the looser structure of the classroom--she prefers order over chaos.
My youngest was not in it long. He also needs a lot of order and hates projects. I never even consider having him in it once he got older. He is an auditory learner and does not need any kind of manipulatives to ingrain the information into his thinking.
My nephews were both pulled out of it. My sister pulled hers out because while they had a lot of emphasis on things like music and different types of pe like gymnastics, he was not learning his basics very well. He was still struggling with things like multiplication and spelling because they never spent very much time going over those. They spent all their time doing creative things.
My sis-in-law pulled hers out because of similar reasons. She said they did not spend so much extra time on creative things, but they spent it on group projects--while the rest of the class was learning how to spell.
Their boys were in schools that pulled kids out during regular class hours to do things with the gt groups.
My kids were in schools where the gt kids were in a class all by themselves. They worked together all day long and only mixed with the regular kids during lunch and pe.
So all that to say, look at how your schools handle it, do some calling and ask questions. Talk to other parents and observe how many stick with the program after 2 years. None of us did.
M.W. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
My son has been in GT classes since the 3rd grade, and I wasn't even aware of it until December of that year. He is now 12, in the 7th grade and still in GT classes. At first, I wasn't sure I wanted him in it. Didn't want him to be picked on or singled out. But, come to find out, there a quite a lot of these students in his school that are also in these classes. Some have stayed right along with him and some have gone back to regular classes. Once your child gets into middle school, if she continues to be in GT, you can choose which subjects you want her to be in w/ a GT curriculum(sp).
Don't fret. It may be that your daughter's teacher sees that she is picking up quickly and has the potential to learn a little faster than some.
I think my son was tested at an earlier grade, but wasn't ready until he was a little older.
If you have any other questions, let me know. I would be happy to share.
J.A. answers from Houston on February 21, 2008
My oldest son took the GT test when he was in 1st grade.Part of the test is to see if they are mature enough to handle the extra work. I am not a big fan of GT until they get into Jr High and High School. There is really no benefit until then. Alot of my friends are teachers and even they will tell you GT just gives the kids more homework. My son is now in regular classes and is doing just fine. He loves to read so we just give him extra books at home to read.
In Kindergarten they should be able to write their names, do some simple adding and subtracting and at some schools they will be reading simple books by this time of the year. By simple books I am talking about the books that have one or two sentences on each page.
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