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Should I Participate in a Testing Set-Up I Believe Is Unethical?


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#51 kiwik

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 06:55 PM

She sounds almost exactly like my son, honestly. We started practicing reading, on his request, when he was just shy of 5. He picked up blending easily, we did Progressive Phonics books and he read the "red words" without problems. But actual, fluent reading just kind of popped up this May. Let's see...my May 21st journal entry from this year (so 6 years 7 months) says "He's reading now...picking up books and asking for help with only one word in 20." My July 13th entry is about how he plowed through his first chapter book, a Magic Treehouse, in one sitting. :) He now reads on about a 3rd-4th grade level, we're going to work through Charlotte's Web together this week.

He's been adding fluently about the same amount of time, but a couple of months ago he seemed frustrated about subtraction so we worked on it and now it's pretty fluent. And he's gotten really good at skip-counting, to where he asked me the other night how many seconds are in 40 minutes, and I explained how to get the answer, and he did the heavy lifting himself. He also did some exercises on division by equal groups, and with just a bit of trial and error got answers like 36/6 correct. It's fun stuff to see them making connections!

A few things, though, make me hesitate to assume that my son is gifted or even high IQ. One is the reports of profoundly gifted kids' parents here. My kids are NOT on that level! Another is our pediatrician who said, when my son was an infant, that early verbal skill is the best predictor of high IQ. My son was on the late end for talking, and I guess I internalized the pediatrician's comment because I've pretty much scrubbed him mentally from Team Gifted. ;) Another factor is my daughter. She is crazily bright. At 4.5 she's reading fluently at a ~2nd grade level, adding and subtracting with great number sense, etc. Crazy kid just listened to an audiobook version of Robinson Crusoe today, and reported back on the content with great comprehension. *She* might be gifted, we'll have to see how she continues to progress. Jury's definitely still out on my son. If we had a chance to be tracked into a gifted program, I would not be attached to getting him in. I might think differently about her.

Educational choice is so overwhelming and complicated! How could you *not* want the very best for your kids, right?!

I wouldn't go on early milestones to predict giftedness. Not all gifted kids talk, walk or read early. My PG son did none of these things - though once he started school in April he got to reading magic treehouse by November. He could do maths preschool but we weren't talking amazing earth dropping stuff. I would never have got him tested without pressure from a friend.

I forgot to answer the question. To me the answer in this case is NO. While on the whole I think refusing to do things against your ethics is right (and it has caused me a lot of difficulty) I don't think you should inflict your ethics in your daughter. A medical system where only the rich receive proper treatment is unethical but if you can by all means you should take your child to the doctor.

If you see an ethical problem then you should work on fixing it not your daughter who isn't old enough to see the problem.

Does that help?

#52 Barbara H

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 10:54 PM

 

 

All I can say is, in our school district, about 90% of kids take the SAT and the average SAT score is in the 75th% nationally. That's our average. For 90% of the kids. So you can kind of imagine the households these children are coming from. The children don't have to be in the top 1% nationally--they have to be in the top 2% in this district. Which is, of course, a narrower band than the top 1% nationally.

 

 

It sounds like the district has many advantaged and bright students. That said, I'd keep in mind that the average of 75%tile average for the SAT is not necessarily a sign of students being particularly gifted or well educated. According to the College Board only 43% of students who take the SAT score as college-ready (which is basically prediction that they would be able to earn a first year college GPA of B- or above). So, average national average is actually not college ready.

 

I am a bit leery of putting a lot of stock in the second hand recounting of other people about the level of the test. The only way you are really going to know is if your daughter tests. One thing I'd keep in mind is if you opt not to have her test and she is aware of the program, she may be drawing conclusions about her abilities even absent the scores.



#53 Binip

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 03:36 PM

Update: Apparently my child was recommended for the program (still needs testing) by the teacher, but I need to ask if this is a wide-net recommendation or if she thinks my daughter really needs acceleration. I also learned that the test takes seven hours!

 

 

It sounds like the district has many advantaged and bright students. That said, I'd keep in mind that the average of 75%tile average for the SAT is not necessarily a sign of students being particularly gifted or well educated. 

 

Yes, the district has a very high number of advantaged and academically-oriented families.

 

 

 

According to the College Board only 43% of students who take the SAT score as college-ready (which is basically prediction that they would be able to earn a first year college GPA of B- or above).  

So, average national average is actually not college ready.

 

Well, yes, but that's still the 57th% and above are college ready. My point was to highlight that a child who will test as "accelerated" in one district will not necessarily test that high in another district, because acceleration is ready. The top 2% here might overlap, score-wise, with the top .5% in a district where they have a large percentage of ELLs or children who are otherwise disadvantaged.

 

 

I am a bit leery of putting a lot of stock in the second hand recounting of other people about the level of the test. The only way you are really going to know is if your daughter tests. One thing I'd keep in mind is if you opt not to have her test and she is aware of the program, she may be drawing conclusions about her abilities even absent the scores.

 

Oh ugh, I didn't even think about that.



#54 Binip

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 03:49 PM

Somewhat off topic, but the last comment sparked a thought.  What, if anything, does your daughter think of being in the gifted program?

 

 

You know, this is a good point.

 

I haven't talked to her about it in hopes of shielding her from this dichotomy which is so much more loaded to me, than it is to her.

 

We will have to talk about the test.

 

I really don't want her to go in and feel that she "didn't make it". I guess I can present it more as being the right fit, more as a special-needs thing, that she can excel doing enrichment at home whereas these kids need more enrichment at school, which is true--ultimately accelerated learning is put in place for that very reason.

 

Tips on presentation?



#55 SKL

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 04:19 PM

I probably would NOT tell a first-grader that she's about to take a test to find out if she is gifted.  When my eldest went through testing in 1st grade (for another reason) I didn't even tell her anything about it.  I didn't want her performance to be affected by expectations or worries.

 

When my eldest was 4, she was accelerated into KG and her younger sister was not.  The reason was the age cut-off.  However, I told my youngest (who was far advanced beyond any KG child in that school) that she didn't have to go to KG because kids learn to read in KG and she already knew how to read.  ;)  Later she was accepted into KG and I told her that now that the other kids knew how to read, it was time for her to join KG.  ;)  Whatever works, right?  (I had decided that I'd get her accelerated come h@ll or high water, but I didn't know when that would officially happen.)

 

For my youngest, who will be 7 in January, this year I will be straight with her.  If she doesn't get into the gifted program, it's going to be because she didn't do her best.  Her older sister doesn't qualify, but she already figured out that she doesn't have a high IQ, just by watching her younger sister soar ahead of her.  She's OK with it.  We all have different talents.  I would rather accept that my kid isn't the smartest than put her into a program where the competition is really too tough for her.

 

There's a book called "First Grade Takes a Test" which you might look at if your daughter takes the test and does not get in.  I do not recommend reading it in advance of the test, though.  I think it prejudiced my daughter against testing because it talks about a kid being pulled out and missing her friends etc.



#56 songsparrow

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 04:27 PM

Thanks so much to everyone who has replied and shared your own personal stories. It has really helped me get some perspective. I will not bring it up to her teacher and if her teacher doesn't specifically mention her achievement during the conference, we won't test this year. If her teacher does mention it or mention that she's way ahead or something, then we will test.

 

 

I see that your later post said that her teacher did recommend her for testing.  I was going to reply and urge you not to rely on the teacher to recognize your daughter's need for acceleration.  Perhaps it's different in your school district, since it sounds like it has an exceptional gifted program - perhaps the teachers have been trained for what to look for in their students.  But most teachers are not, and do not know how to recognize gifted children (especially those who are very asynchronous and are struggling in some areas).  If you think that your child would benefit from a program, I would request testing.  



#57 kubiac

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 09:33 PM

l read somewhere that you're supposed to tell them that they'll be playing a game where the goal is to show the adult how smart a X-year-old can be. Take that advice with a grain of salt but I thought that was a fairly appropriate way of framing it.



#58 Binip

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 01:27 PM

 If she doesn't get into the gifted program, it's going to be because she didn't do her best. 

 

Well, I suppose that's a realistic thing to tell a child if you know she's profoundly gifted.

 

With a normal distribution, you are going to have many more kids in the gray area where they could fall above or below the cutoff, than kids like your daughter who are so far away from the norm that she's only competing with a handful of children for the top spot. Let's say they'll take kids 2.5 standard deviations above the mean. One in 20 is probably being tested (let's just pretend they selected based on some normalized score and not recommendations). Of those, about 1 in 81 will get in.

 

If your child is 3.5 standard deviations from the mean, then a mere hypothetical .5 children out of 1,000 are "competing" with her for that spot (so, one year she has a competitor, the next year,  not), and of course the other children also trying to get in are, on average, are a full standard deviation below her in terms of typical performance.

 

You can also see here that any public school program aimed at enriching the top 2% is going to have almost as wide of a distribution of intelligences as a regular classroom, because even though the regular classroom meets the needs of most kids, their intelligences are more clumped up near the mean. (Well, that is, if the normalization is not too far off from the actual distribution--but it might be quite a different shape. Point is for a lot of kids being tested, even rightfully tested, they have a good reason to think that they might not get in.)

 

 

 

 

There's a book called "First Grade Takes a Test" which you might look at if your daughter takes the test and does not get in.  I do not recommend reading it in advance of the test, though.  I think it prejudiced my daughter against testing because it talks about a kid being pulled out and missing her friends etc.

 

I don't believe that will be the case in my daughter's class, though. Her elementary school hosts the accelerated program, first of all, and they all play together of course, and on top of that she has quite bright friends.

 

I see that your later post said that her teacher did recommend her for testing.  I was going to reply and urge you not to rely on the teacher to recognize your daughter's need for acceleration.  Perhaps it's different in your school district, since it sounds like it has an exceptional gifted program - perhaps the teachers have been trained for what to look for in their students.  But most teachers are not, and do not know how to recognize gifted children (especially those who are very asynchronous and are struggling in some areas).  If you think that your child would benefit from a program, I would request testing.  

 

Thank you for your thoughts. I believe that in this school and district they are very deliberate and thoughtful about selection for testing. About 15% of children are tested annually. They do cast a wide net. So it's more likely that a child who will not get in, is recommended, than vice-versa. Part of my angst!

 

l read somewhere that you're supposed to tell them that they'll be playing a game where the goal is to show the adult how smart a X-year-old can be. Take that advice with a grain of salt but I thought that was a fairly appropriate way of framing it.

 

Interesting idea. My daughter tends to get really stressed out under pressure. I can see how with some children it would work, though. If anyone else has ideas of how to present this as a non-stressful choice for her I'd really appreciate it. Everything helps because maybe I can combine some of them. 



#59 SKL

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 02:54 PM

Well, I suppose that's a realistic thing to tell a child if you know she's profoundly gifted.

 

With a normal distribution, you are going to have many more kids in the gray area where they could fall above or below the cutoff, than kids like your daughter who are so far away from the norm that she's only competing with a handful of children for the top spot. Let's say they'll take kids 2.5 standard deviations above the mean. One in 20 is probably being tested (let's just pretend they selected based on some normalized score and not recommendations). Of those, about 1 in 81 will get in.

 

If your child is 3.5 standard deviations from the mean, then a mere hypothetical .5 children out of 1,000 are "competing" with her for that spot (so, one year she has a competitor, the next year,  not), and of course the other children also trying to get in are, on average, are a full standard deviation below her in terms of typical performance.

 

You can also see here that any public school program aimed at enriching the top 2% is going to have almost as wide of a distribution of intelligences as a regular classroom, because even though the regular classroom meets the needs of most kids, their intelligences are more clumped up near the mean. (Well, that is, if the normalization is not too far off from the actual distribution--but it might be quite a different shape. Point is for a lot of kids being tested, even rightfully tested, they have a good reason to think that they might not get in.)

 

In my kids' Lutheran school there is only one 2nd grade with only 24 students.  So there is not a lot of competition.  Of course it is possible one or two kids in her class have higher IQs, but on the other hand, I'm pretty sure they have room for more than 1 or 2 third-graders in the gifted program.

 

I know my kid and I know she is intentionally choosing not to meet certain challenges, in favor of having fun.  Fine.  Thankfully, in our state, it doesn't matter that much.  You don't have to be in a gifted program in primary school in order to have a bright future.

 

I would also note that Miss E is very strong-willed and she will sabotage my effort if I try to get her in and she doesn't want it.  She's been known to practically fast all day in protest of what I served her for breakfast.  I have no desire to beat my head against the wall.



#60 Binip

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 07:56 PM

I spoke with the teacher personally today (it was our conference day). She said that the teachers found the testing schema as bewildering and odd as many of the parents. She said this year all children testing even .7 years above grade level were tested, and that last year, when all kids one year ahead were tested, which was about half the class, still only about 1:20 of those tested got in. She said she had no recommendations as she'd hate to say no, don't test, but she also thought that it was an extremely wide category and that a lot of kids were bound to take the test and not get in. Moreover, she pointed out that there had been pupils coming back and telling other kids that they took the test. For heaven's sake.

 

I think what we'll do, based on this, is tell her it's practice for the state tests. She has the opportunity to get some testing experience and do something a lot of kids in her class will be doing. It's a priviledge. Then they'll let us know how she did. There is no doubt that she'll do above average, even if she doesn't get it, so at the end there will be good news anyway. ("You're normal! Woot!")



#61 Arcadia

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 08:07 PM

. She said this year all children testing even .7 years above grade level were tested, and that last year, when all kids one year ahead were tested, which was about half the class, still only about 1:20 of those tested got in..........

. Moreover, she pointed out that there had been pupils coming back and telling other kids that they took the test.

Kids are gossipy in a funny way.  I'm not surprise they gossip about the test.

Since that many are tested, I'll just tell your daughter to go and have fun.   What I told my boys when they were tested for subject acceleration was that the teacher need to know where to place them so if they do to the best of their abilities on the tests, they would be placed almost correctly.  So I kind of word it like testing for accommodations.



#62 kiwik

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 04:38 AM

I told ds6 she was a doctor who was interested in how people's brains work and she would ask a lit of questions and play games (some easy, some hard, some silly). He quite enjoyed it.

#63 [email protected]

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:27 PM

l read somewhere that you're supposed to tell them that they'll be playing a game where the goal is to show the adult how smart a X-year-old can be. Take that advice with a grain of salt but I thought that was a fairly appropriate way of framing it.


I've never read that but that is how we've approached most tests. I tell her it is like a game where she gets to show what she knows.

When we did the SCAT and as we are preparing for Explore in a few weeks I did review with her the idea that there were specifically problems on the test designed to be too hard for her and not to stress. She expects to get everything right so I didn't want her to freak out if she saw unfamiliar concepts.

In general she doesn't seem to feel much pressure about tests or contests. She is very happy go-lucky and seems to think its all fun. She is a perfectionist about things around the house and is even starting to have what I would consider OCD type thought processes about things like making her bed right, brushing her teeth properly or making sure she cleans her room just right. So far, I haven't really seem those issues in school work.

#64 Little Nyssa

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 09:39 PM

Here's what I would do. Let her take the test and see if she tests into the program. Then you will be part of the community of parents of gifted children. You can bet that if the program is as good as you describe, there is a powerful group of gifted parents advocating for it! Then you can bring up your concerns and perhaps get things changed if enough of the parents agree.
I think that the parents in our area did this last year-- the procedure for getting in was changed from nomination by parent or teacher to qualifying based on a test that everyone took.

#65 Melodiya99

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 10:08 PM

From a changing things perspective, it might help if your daughter ends up in the gifted program. At least if you make a sort of fuss, people won't be thinking that's it's because your daughter couldn't make it and you're discontent. It could just makes things clearer in the end.



#66 Binip

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 12:06 AM

So. We did the test around the holidays. Test results went out today. I told her it was a practice test and she has no idea that there were any possible results. I have floated the idea of her being challenged in school and she said, "Uh, that's okay. I like being smart." we will continue challenging her at home regardless. Anyway, now I'm the nervous one be ause it's a NUMBER and I don't know if I need that in my head. I like seeing her in a qualitative way. I might have an objective person look at it and just tell me if I have to do anything and then tear it up.

pardon the typos. This was written on a phone.

#67 sunnyday

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 01:27 PM

Funny enough, I thought of this thread yesterday. I was in my son's classroom and a little girl approached me. She's the second strongest reader in the class and does all the reading enrichment activities my son does, but she doesn't do his math enrichment. And it makes sense, because she doesn't have the advantage of the outside stuff I do with DS, so she doesn't have the background to be able to skip the basics. She approached me and said, "Can I come to your house? Because me and [DS] both know second grade math." DS says that she is "working up to" being able to do "special math" like he does.

 

There's not a highly capable program in place at our elementary yet, but I'm thinking of advocating for them to start one and to get DS into it. So I was definitely thinking about the ethics of someone like DS with a parent advocate getting these opportunities while someone like the little girl probably gets overlooked. (I know I shouldn't judge based on appearances but I've seen her outside of school as well and she and her sister just give off the impression of there being a little bit of benign neglect in her family.)

 

Anyway, keep us posted about the results and next steps for your DD. And definitely your DD doesn't need to know the actual numbers. Just be sure to remind yourself that the numbers don't tell you who she is or will be -- they're just one piece of the puzzle, you know? (I have no idea what my IQ score was when I tested into the first grade gifted program, but I do know my parents always treated me as "the smart one" in the family regardless of my achievement. It was kind of awkward and also affected my little brother I think.)



#68 Binip

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 12:10 PM

Thanks! That's sad about your brother and yet another reason I'm not sure I need to know a number. Both my kids are bright in their own ways. I'd hate to be biased towards one even subconsciously...

#69 Binip

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Posted Today, 02:09 AM

I never kept you all posted. :)

 

My daughter passed the math portion (99th %, 135 - 145 IQ in math) but for the verbal portion did well on the subject matter (also 99th%) but below average verbal IQ. So she did not get in.

 

She got recommended for testing again this year, but doesn't want to spend two Saturdays doing it. I don't know whether I should ask her or not.

 

I will say that I wrote letters to the school board about my issues with IQ test prep (which had been advertised by after-school program) and the idea of self-recommendations, and they actually changed it for K and 1st and now test 100% of pupils in-school.

 

I know that sounds crazy to take away from instructional time but for such a high-stakes program, I'm glad that nobody had time to prep. I feel good about making my voice heard. I don't think I was the only one. It changed the program to be more egalitarian.

 

This year I think her math score will go down as she's been in public school for a year, so I don't know if it's worth it. It is a lot of work for a 2nd grader who has a very slim chance. I'm almost ready to say, don't take the test, instead you will do another gifted program that does enrichment outside of school, and just do a few special classes with her. Make her feel special and give her the work to get her into the advanced track in high school.




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