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Do you share test results with young kids?


Jackie
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The topic summarizes it.

 

DD took the ITBS about a month or so ago. We used the second grade test; she would be finishing kindy if enrolled in ps by age. I received the scores a few days ago; they're pretty much what I expected. She knows her learning is out of the "norm" but other than knowing Beast Academy has a 3 for third grade, she has zero clue what level she works at.

 

She has asked a few times to know the scores when we get them. I can put her off indefinitely until she forgets or I can show her. Telling her I have them but won't show them to her is not an option; she has anxiety issues and would tailspin on the assumption that she "failed".

 

ETA: We intend to do psych/IQ testing when she is 7 or 8. Same basic question applies there, too.

Edited by Jackie
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My kids know all their standardized tests scores. DS11 went to public school and knew his test scores in public school since K. They just took a look for a few mins and then ran off to play :)

 

For psych/IQ tests, we didn't show them. By that time they were so used to testing of all kinds that they didn't care. Someone in one of their outsourced class was blabbing his IQ score and ask everyone else for theirs. So not telling my kids saved them the awkwardness of either saying a white lie or replying that they don't want to tell. I did phrase the IQ testing as a abilities assessment, to see which areas they are weak in so we could help as parents. My kids were behind in motor skills so they don't find it weird to undergo an assessment of abilities.

 

ETA:

DS11 had below 80th percentile for the comprehension subsection in I think 2nd grade but his LA overall percentile was above 80th percentile and he wasn't upset.

Edited by Arcadia
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If they asked, I showed them;  if they didn't ask, I didn't.  Unless they did poorly.  Then if they asked, I'd distract them and they'd forget all about it.  I didn't want them to feel badly if they did poorly on a test subject.  I knew they'd get there eventually and I didn't want them worrying about it in the meantime.  If they did really well, I didn't make a big deal out of it either.  

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I said something along the lines of "You did very well - pretty good in area Y, especially well in area X.  Nice work!!!"  
But then I also seriously downplayed the test ahead of time, so my kids weren't worried about their scores, so the vagueness was sufficient.  We tested to satisfy state requirements, to gain comfort with the testing process, and so get a very general sense of how they were doing; specific scores weren't super-important to me and we treated it more like a game than a test, if that makes sense. 

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We've only done achievement testing and IQ, and we didn't tell him.  The most recent was achievement testing when he was 7.  I was vague about it with him.  He did extremely well and I told him he did well.  More specifically, I told him doesn't have to do spelling any more if he wants to drop it, but I didn't tell him it was because he tested as a 12th grader.  Now that he's almost 10, I'd tell him his scores if he asked. He's not extrinsically motivated, so I doubt he'll ever care. :laugh:

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When we had testing done with a psych, we were told specifically to discuss the results with our child (8yo at the time).  I believe that was because of the 2e nature of the results and the psych thought it would be good for my child to know they are very bright (even though they struggle with some areas of learning very much).  Even then, we didn't really go into the #'s, but did talk about the bell curve a bit and %ages.  But my child didn't care one bit and I doubt they remember that at all.

 

We had some other testing done through a school, and were told we were under no circumstances to share the results with the kids.  That bothered me a bit, and made me want to tell them everything! ;)  But my kids didn't ask about the results as we'd framed the testing as an entrance exam/assessment for where to start with studies and so they didn't care.  

 

 

 

 

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DD does ask-I kind of figure that when she goes to the work of taking a test, she deserves to know. Having said that, she hasn't had an IQ test since she was old enough to realize that it was a test-she had a lot of developmental tests as a very young child, and generally enjoyed them-as far as she was concerned, it was having a really great playmate and fun games to do.

 

But yeah, for things like grade level tests, the EXPLORE or the SAT, she asked and does know. She also knows not to play "the numbers game".

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Just a cautionary tale from my family. My sil shared her dds IQ results with both children thinking it was fine because both were high. The testing occurred for entrance to a gifted program many years ago. My neice with a score in the 140's quit trying to do many things well in school because her sister's score was much higher. She saw herself as not very bright, still does I suspect. Knowledge led to really awful things. It is better not to know imo. Neither dc has been tested and hope it stays that way.

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I would say it depends on the situation. Thus far in our house, we have not shared standardized testing scores (nor would we share IQ scores if we had them). But for non-normed tests that he actually studies for (content tests), yes, we share his scores with him.

 

We are not fans of standardized testing, but we take them annually because they are required by the state. We do not tell him his scores, because we do not want it to feed any pride. We tell him that he did very well and that we appreciate how hard he worked to focus and think through his answers, not rush, not make careless errors, etc. We also tell him that he scored about where we expected, and that we are very thankful (as he should also be) for the many advantages he has in his life to help him learn well (homeschooling, no learning difficulties, parents with decent resources, etc.) and that to whom much is given, much is expected. We also remind him that doing well on tests is not the same as doing well in learning and in life, and that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.

 

We have him take the National Latin Exam also, and for that, we do share his score with him. We view that differently because the kids are not normed against one another, and also DS is taking it young, and so he ends up more towards the middle of the pack. For him, knowing that some kids earned a perfect paper (and he did not) inspires him to do work harder next time. Plus, it is a good way for us to review his mistakes with him so he can learn from them (and so he can be appropriately bummed if he made any careless errors).

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Still thinking on this, and I appreciate the input. DD thinks tests are great fun; she would take them way more often if I let her. She has no context for the scores, as I don't even give percentages or grades on her school work.

 

I'm not worried about feeding her pride because she doesn't really have much pride. The combo of keeping some challenge level in her school work, not having peers to compare to, and her own anxiety means she often thinks she is bad at everything. I wonder if the results would help with that. On the other hand, I wonder if not being "perfect" would just reinforce her negativity.

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. The combo of keeping some challenge level in her school work, not having peers to compare to, and her own anxiety means she often thinks she is bad at everything.

Does she expect perfect scores like >= 99th percentile for standardized tests? Neither of my kids aim for that while DS10 who thinks he is below norm, thinks 80<score<90 is just pass. So it was safe for us to let him see his scores to let him see he is above average.

 

DS11 had a range from < 80th percentile to hitting the ceiling and he thinks most kids are at the >90th percentile which is true in our locality. He has peers to compare to in outside classes anyway because kids groan about school tests and exams during their German class breaktime. He would have thought we were hiding something if we didn't let him see his results.

 

We are low key about results and their peers joke about results so it helps. Our kids and their peers just see tests as part of school life, same as PE, music and art :lol:

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We don't share IQ scores because I don't see a reason to. The score was for me to have some idea of his potential and that's all there is to that. He does have a rough idea where he scores though due to his membership in 2 nationwide programs.

 

It is helpful in the future to get comfortable with other exam scores because there will come a point where parents are not in the picture. She will be receiving those scores, not you (but of course, that is years away, plenty of time to help her out with understanding them).

 

We didn't hide scores from DS when younger but he also didn't take many standardized tests. He immediately found out scores for things like Explore, SAT etc...but these were many years apart. He has always been comfortable with not getting perfect scores because we've always made it clear that tests are only a snapshot of how he was doing at one particular moment in time and that they don't test true ability, only what some organization/ school wants to test. For e.g. if they test math, they don't test things like number theory or group theory where he excels in understanding...they test more basic skills. That message was so very useful that when he almost bombed a very important midterm, the very first time he has ever scored that low in an area he loves (math), he didn't crumble but instead picked himself up and worked hard enough to ace the next midterm. That was exactly the skill I wanted him to have. To take tests seriously but not so seriously that he gives up or thinks he is a failure when he sees a bad score.

 

You have lots of time for this!

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We show DS his standardized test scores and even go over them with him. He has gone to the trouble of taking the longish tests, so in my opinion, he needs to know the outcome. As for his IQ test, we told him the range his scores fall under but not the exact numbers.

 

He has since gotten into a few programs that are based on IQ as well as standardized test scores. So, he knows where he stands with respect to the "norm". 

 

We emphasize that he is a hard worker (which he is) and that his achievement test scores are a reflection of that.

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I have shared most results with dd11. Sometimes I would just give her a general idea ("you did really well") and other times I was more specific. She knows scores she got on annual school achievement tests, and tests taken for admission to programs.

 

She has had extensive neuro-psych testing at 6 and 11. I did not share those reports when we got them, but about 3 months after the most recent one, I finally showed her those scores to rebut her statement to me that she is stupid. She says it a lot, and I tell her she's actually very intelligent, and she asked why I keep saying that.

 

When she did the most recent testing (as part of a school evaluation for her 504 plan), she got frustrated on one sub-section, and refused to continue for a while. She scored 84% on that, but did well enough on the rest of the test to score 99.7%ile overall.

 

She has a perfectionist streak, and very low self-esteem (and scored in lowest 1% for that on the neuro-psych test), so she took the results as confirmation of her position (not perfect equals stupid).

 

She is seeing a counselor, and they have been discussing dd's expectations of heself. Btw, her counselor thought dd should see her scores, but upon viewing the accompanying write-up herself, thought maybe seeing the full evaluation would have a negative effect. So, I cut and pasted the 13 page document until it was a 2 page document of mostly numbers.

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For us it depends...

 

DS9  has DYS level WJ-III achievement test scores that we haven't discussed with him because he knows he's smart and is generally sort of a jerk. With him we just focus on effort and attitude and every time he tells me how smart he is I just give him something harder.

 

DS7 is in PS and we have explicitly discussed test scores a number of times so he has a realistic self image. DW and I often "joke" that in any other family DS7 would get to be the smart kid. He is an optimally gifted kid with good social skills that the schools can deal with. He is smart enough to be a physics professor or a cardio thoracic surgeon or a writer or whatever he wants when he grows up. He has 99% MAP scores but hates testing. This spring he mentioned that several of his friends are "accelerated learners" while he isn't. We talked about the fact we didn't have him tested this year since he hates testing. We observed that he is the only non-accelerated kid in his reading and math groups and that he is reading harder books than anyone in his class. I think he found this reassuring.

Edited by raptor_dad
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With a child of 5 I wouldn't bother with the numbers. It's irrelevant to them (usually).  A "you did great - thanks for working hard on that test!" is usually sufficient.  If they're sticklers for numbers I would share end of year testing numbers with them. As my kids got older I shared numbers with them for ITBS/SAT 10/MAP.  I really liked sharing the RIT scores from the MAP because they show progress, vs percentiles/comparative scoring.

 

IQ and things like WJ achievement I didn't share numbers.  With our first she was in the room when the psych shared testing results, and it really set the tone for how to do this.  He handled things really well - lots of positive comments that gave DD a needed morale boost at the time - without sharing numbers.  I think numbers can be a big disadvantage, depending on child's temperament.  They can reassure the child of their innate uniqueness (but then again, you can do this without giving them numbers), or they can put a perfectionist into a tail spin when they reach a struggle ("but I have an XYZ IQ and I should be able to do this!"), or they might reinforce a fixed mindset and inherent laziness in some ("I don't have to work hard because I'm so stinkin' smart").  So no, we don't share scores. At least not yet.

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I have not shared achievement test results with my 6yo or 8yo.  Neither has really cared about scores yet though.  My 8yo asked only if he did well, so I told him he's showing good yearly growth, the goal being to focus not on absolute scores, but on improvement over time.  Since we use the NWEA MAP test we can consider just RIT scores, which do not depend on grade, and ignore the percentiles (because really, a score of 99% with a range of 99 to 99 is super not helpful).  I think 10-12yo is an appropriate age to let most kids take responsibility for their own achievement test results, but I don't have any kids that age yet, so I'm just making assumptions based on my own memories there.

 

We have IQ testing only for the 8yo, but again, have not shared results with him.  Actually, I didn't even tell him he was getting an IQ test.  I told him they were going to assess him to find his relative strengths and weaknesses so that I would better understand his learning style and be able to teach him more effectively.  I do not plan to tell him the results until he is an adult and has moved out of the house.  I have other kids who will also need testing in the future, and I expect there to be some pretty significant differences between their scores.  I know they would compare amongst themselves if they could; I can see that causing serious problems.  

 

But, even if I had an only child, I would not want to share IQ results in childhood.  Besides the uncertainty in how they would internalize the score, I would also worry that they might share those results with friends or relatives -- again with the comparing and causing of social/emotional problems.  

 

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I do not share standardized test scores because one of my children would struggle with comparison to the other. We have not done IQ testing, but I estimate that if we did, one of my children would be clearly gifted and the other would be above average.

My DS just took his first SAT Subject exam this spring and we haven't received the scores yet, but for any of the SAT/ACT/PSAT exams, he will obviously know those scores.

 

ETA:   We do have a conversation along the lines of, "You scored very well on your test.  It showed me exactly what I expected to see, that you are strong in reading comprehension, vocabulary, and math concepts, but not as strong in spelling or math computation."   Every year seems to be the same conversation, and the tests really do show their strengths and weaknesses.

Edited by SebastianCat
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I'm not sure what I would do. My 5.5yo (pre-K or K by age) is in the process of taking the first grade CAT, so in a couple of weeks or so I'll get to make that decision too. I'm thinking I probably would just give a general description of his scores, rather than exact numbers. He did listen along when I explained percentiles to his older brother, but I don't really want to risk him misunderstanding the meaning of percentiles, plus, that percentiles will be comparing him to kids 1-2 years older than him, so that e.g. a 50th percentile score would probably be well above average, instead of exactly average.

 

I would NOT share the grade equivalent scores for sure, because they're so meaningless (on both the CAT and the ITBS, as far as I can tell), since that just tells you at what grade level the average student would score like that at this test. So, who cares how a 6th or 12th grader would score on a 1st or 2nd grade test? Sure, it's neat that for my oldest kid (3rd grade) his GE in vocab is grade 12.9 (iirc), but also very meaningless, since he'd probably score below the 50th percentile on a 12th grade vocab test.

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I would if they asked.  I might not give the whole analysis that is going on in my mind, at that age, but something simple like "you are reading similar to most kids in the __ grade."  I would add "__ is your strength."  We often talk about how everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.

 

My "average" kid was tested individually in 1st grade.  She did pretty much average (or slightly above) on the tests, which was more or less expected by me.  I probably shared that with her in a general way, so she would not feel "dumb" as she struggled with group learning at that time.  My kids both took ITBS in KG and my "advanced" kid scored pretty high.  I don't think I discussed that with them.  The test was done in a group at school and I don't think they expected any feedback.  The scores came back much later.  If I had been asked, I would have shared at a basic level.

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I do share with my kids everything since kinder. Now oldest ds is finishing grade 3, exams will start next week, and руÑÑ‹ trying to achieve 100% score, so I do not see why I should make a secret out of it. Same with his IQ. But I have a very mature boy. He never goes bragging or something. In the other hand it gives him more confidentiality in everything he does.

 As long as they don't see *each others* scores, we're ok.

I think this will be a case with my youngest ds. He always envies his brother, always wants to be better :001_huh:

 

Edited by rushhush08
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My older son knows his test scores.  My younger has seen one set.  As long as they don't see *each others* scores, we're ok.

 

Good luck with that. Sometimes kids blab. Sometimes kids who don't blab might blab in the middle of a heated argument.

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Good luck with that. Sometimes kids blab. Sometimes kids who don't blab might blab in the middle of a heated argument.

True enough, but the fights they get into don't tend to involve test scores.   I don't make a big deal out of them.   I don't say "Don't tell your brother what you got."  (yet)  I doubt they really remember them after they see them.  What I have to make sure doesn't happen is "here's your scores."  "Oh..... Can I see how [other sibling] did?"   No.... they're private.....

Edited by tiuzzol2
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True enough, but the fights they get into don't tend to involve test scores.  

 

I was thinking along the lines of some argument (over anything) turning to "you're stupid", and then a kid countering with his scores.

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I was thinking along the lines of some argument (over anything) turning to "you're stupid", and then a kid countering with his scores.

 

 

Sure... that makes sense.  I guess we don't have that problem right now as every argument we have is over either LEGOs or respecting personal space.   

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Some elementary schools in our experience tested for IQ very early, but did not tell a student his score until perhaps in high school when it was thought it might motivate him to do better in an area where he was weak.  Still even being told early on just that the score was relatively high seemed to have a negative effect.  On the other hand, when in a reading group most cannot read the advanced words another child can read, how do you keep that kid feeling he is comparable in ability to the others?  It is obvious that something is different.  So some method of keeping a level head and a good attitude must be found, in spite of at least implicit information on high (or low) scores getting out.

 

In gifted classes I have taught, kids who acted as if they thought the others were relatively dull, was a harder problem than the kids who felt they were not as smart as the others.  I.e. self esteem and confidence seemed a little easier to teach than maturity and respect.  You can boost a shy kid a lot by praising one success, but convincing a narcissistic person to respect others can be a long job.

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Some elementary schools in our experience tested for IQ very early, but did not tell a student his score until perhaps in high school when it was thought it might motivate him to do better in an area where he was weak.  Still even being told early on just that the score was relatively high seemed to have a negative effect.  On the other hand, when in a reading group most cannot read the advanced words another child can read, how do you keep that kid feeling he is comparable in ability to the others?  It is obvious that something is different.  So some method of keeping a level head and a good attitude must be found, in spite of at least implicit information on high (or low) scores getting out.

 

In gifted classes I have taught, kids who acted as if they thought the others were relatively dull, was a harder problem than the kids who felt they were not as smart as the others.  I.e. self esteem and confidence seemed a little easier to teach than maturity and respect.  You can boost a shy kid a lot by praising one success, but convincing a narcissistic person to respect others can be a long job.

Agreed. Although I think each case is individual and parents usually can figure out if this knowledge will bring a negative impact on their child or not. DS attends a church school, there are no gifted schools in our area and homeschooling is prohibited, and this knowledge is motivating him not to slow down, but work accordingly his level. So I guess, there will always be an exception.

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