Elementary/Middle School Honors and Gifted Programs

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Elementary/Middle School Honors and Gifted Programs
By Wolfpiper (Wolfpiper) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 11:19 pm: Edit

In my relatively small (700 kids grades K-6) elementary school, all kids were placed in the same classes, with the exception of resource kids and some students in 6th grade math. When I moved to another state, I learned that kids here (4th grade and possibly younger) are already being placed in gifted or regular programs in certain subjects. Now, they are starting Pre-AP programs in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade.

Quite frankly, I doubt how much good this does the kids. For example, I took level English in seventh grade and was moved into honors in 8th. I didn't take G/T English or history in middle school, yet I've done well in high school AP/PreAP subjects in those areas thus far, though AP Lang and Comp is though. *knocks on wood*.

Isn't there such a thing as too early to disignate kids? Is too much weight placed on rather you have a regular or "gifted" 3rd grader? How much do these early course help in higher level HS courses?

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 11:28 pm: Edit


Gifted programs vary enormously in quality and in the type of students in them. In some schools, for example, in order to make the numbers, the teachers will accept students who are "gifted" and those who are high achievers, i.e., students who are performing at a high level by dint of hard work rather than brilliance. It can make things difficult.
Óur district does not have a gifted program. Yet, despite my earlier rant about some teachers' unwillingness to accelerate my S, in later grades he had some teachers who were able to challenge him without labeling him (änd other students) "gifted." His cousin, who lives in a different part of the country, was in a gifted program in elementary school. Supposedly, the class was two grades ahead of the regular class. I heard from my relative that parents lobbied strenuously to have their child in the program. Not clear whether it was out of elitism or whether the regular class was so undemanding that they had to pursue the gifted option.

By Pattykk (Pattykk) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 12:06 am: Edit

My daughter attended a gifted center in Fairfax, Virginia from the third to the fifth grades. She was very happy to be with kids who enjoyed learning, and they did many wonderful things with absolutely fabulous teachers. The atmosphere in that center was unlike any I have encountered in any other school-private or public. The kids were treated with respect and allowed to fly as high as they could. No endless reviews, no rigid rules, etc. My son did not have these advantages, because we moved. It is my experience that very few teachers in regular classrooms are able to offer much differentiation. A few offer honors contracts and special projects, but the experience my daughter had in Fairfax was in a class by itself. I wish all school systems could offer their gifted children that opportunity. I am sure you can handle AP work if you did not enter a gifted program in elementary school, but it is wonderful to be given an early opp to spread your wings. I might add that I think all children are gifted, albeit in different ways, and I think all of them could benefit from less rigidity in the classroom.

By Bookworm (Bookworm) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 12:37 am: Edit

Gifted programs in my area depend on student obtaining 130 IQ score on Wais-R, as well as top 10% on acheievement tests. Testing can be done in schools, but often parents look for outside psychologists. Tremendous pressure on psychologists to 'pass' these kids, starting age 4, 5. Parents will shop around or have kids repeat testing until they pass. Once in the gifted program, almost impossible to make them leave.
The advantage is that classes tend to be little smaller, often better teachers, better behaved students, and distinct schools.
Personally, I think children develop skills at different rates. Some shine in reading, others in math. I'd rather kids in early years be pulled from class for special advanced sessions, and distinctions wait until later years.
My S wasn't allowed to take HS math when in middle school, but his teacher allowed him to self-study. I posted this before, but it took his math dept head to take the case to county superintendant for him to be able to skip to an appropriate class. (Don't even get me started with trying to take 5 classes at CC with hours that didn't conflict too much with school classes, and the notices we received about his exceeding limit of missed classes!)

By Momrath (Momrath) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 01:33 am: Edit

"Gifted" is a hot-button label that gets parents, teachers and administrators jumping up and down with "elitist" on one side and "deserving" on the other.

My son was diagnosed (just kidding, but sometimes it seemed like an affliction) as gifted when he was four. He subsequently attended kindergarten at a public school for intellectually gifted in NYC. It was wonderful.

We then moved overseas. His elementary school identified gifted children, but did not have a pull out program. His highschool made no special arrangements. In both cases the administration and faculty were adamantly against pull-out programs.

Gifted children, by my definition, are not just bright, talented or academically driven. They see the world differently and hence benefit from a different kind of education. They are ardent procrastinators. (Nothing is ever good enough to be considered finished.) They often try to hide their brillance, i.e., difference, in order to be "like everyone else."

Although my son received an excellent education without the benefit of gifted pull out programs, I often wonder what would have happened if he had continued at the gifted school in New York. The negative image is a room full of brainiac kids with hyper-neurotic parents (like us). The positive is a group of peers who stimulate each other with wild and wonderful ideas and teachers who know how to motivate and encourage. The New Yorker article ("Nerd Camp" July 26, 2004)that was discussed earlier on this board gives a good description of how gifted kids interact.

By Celebrian23 (Celebrian23) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 09:10 am: Edit

I don't like gifted programs for two reaons
1. it's hard to tell where a 3rd grader will be by the time they get to high school, ex. in 3rd grade i was average, i wasn't accepted into the gifted program, though all my friends were, now fast forward to the 11th grade, i am now in all advanced classes while my "gifted" friends aren't, my point is, how helpful are these programs really? Was it harder for me to achieve good grades becuase i was never in a gifted program? Am i not naturally academically gifted? Of course i'm gifted, it took me a little longer to attain these characteristics however

2. there is such a thing as too early, personally my middle school offerred a few honors classes, and that's all, and that's the way it should be,kids in elementary school shouldn't have to worry about things like that, not for a few years, you gradually introduce them to advanced material, it's going to be the kid in first grade who's in the gifted programs and will be all through elementary school that's going to have problems, kids are kids, and growth intellectually will come, and it's important for them to know it's important, but only in at the lowest sixth grades, should this be emphasized

By Kathiep (Kathiep) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 09:20 am: Edit

I have mixed feelings about our school district's gifted program. In elementary school the gifted kids are pulled out of class 3 times a week for about an hour a time. To become classified as gifted they must pass the 130 mark on an iq test and also another test. If it was just the pull out, that would be fine but they also have special game nights and field trips. Also, the gifted kids don't have to make up any class work that they may miss while out of the regular classroom. My kids have always been those well behaved bright kids that are not "gifted".

In our middle school the only perk for being gifted is a special leveled reading class. All the other kids are in a regular reading class which is extrememly frustrating for those high achieving bright kids who have to read books at half-pace so everyone's working together.

In high school, the gifted kids have a "seminar" class where they can do independent study, take Russian - which is not offered to the general student body and even go on an annual trip to Russia. This Russian thing annoys me because they don't do a test to see if one is gifted in languages, they just assume all the gifted kids are and they can participate if they want to. Even freshman can go on the Russian trip whereas the other language trips are only offered every 3 years (one year French, next year German, next year Spanish)and freshman are not allowed.

So while I wouldn't want to take away things from the truly gifted kids, I find it frustrating that kids that are tested in second grade get into a program that allows them quite a few perks that the high achieving kids can never get.

By Thumper1 (Thumper1) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 09:22 am: Edit

Bookworm...why does the school district use the WAIS for ID of gifted children. The WAIS is the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. I'm not sure how low the norms go, but it certainly isn't normed for elementary or middle school ages.

By Marite (Marite) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 09:25 am: Edit

>>Was it harder for me to achieve good grades becuase i was never in a gifted program? Am i not naturally academically gifted? Of course i'm gifted, it took me a little longer to attain these characteristics however >>

Good grades are not a sign of giftedness. Giftedness is not acquired. It is a mode of learning. Many gifted children become underachievers if they are not challenged. The MIT rec form is quite instructive. It asks the teacher whether a grade was obtained as a result of hard work or brilliance.

Ideally, there should not be a need for gifted programs as each child's needs should be addressed individually. Since students develop at different rates, there should also be different entry points into enrichment programs rather than a one-time labeling. Furthermore, a child can be gifted in one area and not in another (and children can be both gifted and have learning disabilities).

To pretend, however, that all children of the same age learn at the same rate in the same way is not right.

By Grlzmom (Grlzmom) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 09:51 am: Edit

I believe I have a different perspective on the gifted programs.

My oldest was identified as "gifted" at a very early age. This was confirmed by school testing in the 2nd grade. Our district's pull-out program only goes to 8th grade, then it is expected that the student will be motivated enough to take Honors/AP through HS. This was true in my dd case. Very motivated, definitely sees the world differently from most of her friends. The pull out program exposed her to many experiences she might not otherwise had. The program taught her to problem-solve and think.

Now part II. My youngest daughter is also very bright. She was pulled by her 2nd grade teacher for testing. After testing, my daughter was not accepted into the gifted program. The following year 3rd grade teacher felt like she needed to be in the program so SHE had her pulled for testing, again no acceptance. Same thing in the 4th grade. Don't really know what they were looking for but she wasn't it. She is artistically gifted (a dancer) and a straight A student. Now in middle school (7th grade) she is balanced between regular and honors classes -- and not labeled as a "girl geek" like her sister was.

Oldest is now leaving for college in another state to escape her reputation for the "smartest girl" and "goody two-shoes". She is intent on building a reputation based on who she wants to be rather than the pre-conceived notions of her K-12 classmates.

I don't like the idea of "labeling" at any level. Yes, the program was good for my oldest but not being accepted caused my younger to think she wasn't "smart enough like her sister".

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 09:58 am: Edit

The problem of any of these programs is how they are run. I have seen outstanding gifted programs; I have seen many that stink. I don't have any real solutions to this problem as I do see that it can really help everyone learn more if you separate kids in the early grades. A child who is having reading difficulties needs a different approach from one who is reading at high school level. The same with the math. I have heard the "one room schoolhouse" theory, and in watching it in action, have concluded that there are very few teachers skilled enough to carry it off. I know that I could not juggle 20-30 young kids with a wide band of abilities and learning methods without doing grouping of sorts. The issue becomes teaching the more advanced ones at a level where they are learning and not becoming bored, yet bringing the ones who are behind up to par, and bring the kids who are at grade level to the highest level possible while knowing the fundamentals very well. Not easy to do.

I have seen a model where half the day is spent together as a class with mixed ability levels and this time is spent on subjects where all of the kids can pretty much participate and learn. Then the kids are separated into "Courses" that have names addressing several issues. One kid might take advanced math, speech therapy, music, and a foreign language. The other might take fundamental math, lab science, and creative writing. I don't think it hurts kids to be exposed to the core of what they need to learn even if they are advanced or behind, but the time span should be shortened and time available for advancement or remediation. My son was in a class that just completed Integrated 1 in math but he was able to complete Alg 1, 2, geometry and trig and still do every assignment in this first year class as the teacher was skilled enough to multitask this group. He would have prefered to have them split into groups after about 20 minutes of whole class he told me, but the school did not have the resources to do this so he did it on his own. There was no low group or high group but they were identified by subject of emphasis, such as calculation skills, word problems, geometry, algebra, etc. THis is in contrast to the group approach done at a large school where there where 180 kids at the grade level so alot of mixing and matching could be done.

Right now the middle school and the junior high schools tend to be the scourge of American education. The kids just seem to be sorted into pens and do time during those years when so much can be done at that time. The best model for middle school that I have seen is at Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh where the school is an academic bootcamp where the kids are pushed as far as they can go so that highschool is a breeze. The kids can pick and choose their levels in highschool well prepared in the academics. In contrast, most middle school programs I see are a review of elementary school concepts with a few "advanced" (meaning freshman year of highschool) courses offered to the better students.

I wish now that I had gone into education more deeply than I did but frankly without the experiences with my kids, I don't think I would know as much as I do. Just reading about the theories is not enough, you need to experience them and feel the pain of the stupidity of some of policies as well as the joy of something that works.

By Mackinaw (Mackinaw) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 10:05 am: Edit

Our school district did no gifted programming at the elementary level and only a minimum of gifted programming in middle school. By high school there was none, because students could advance as far as they wanted either through AP or, in a few cases, courses at a nearby college.

There is a general attitude in our community and among our teachers that students with special needs on the "high end" of the intelligence spectrum will basically find their way (with the help of their parents), while students with special learning problems deserved the extra help of the school district.

This created an extremely problematic situation for S#1 who tested at 5th grade reading upon entering Kindergarden, and for whom almost every teacher-parent conference began with the teacher saying, "Well, D is unique, there isn't much we can do for him except to keep him busy." As parents, our task throughout much of school was to keep him interested in things at school. We did not have ready access to programs elsewhere, without sending him many miles away. (He was extremely talented in math as well as reading, writing -- all subjects except art.)

In reality, we did not want him to be pulled out but did wish the school had had a way to gear work and opportunities more to someone like him. Our district was just too small, I think, to do much; but the prevailing mentality was also a huge problem.

By Celebrian23 (Celebrian23) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 10:07 am: Edit

I think the only problem is it's difficult at the elementary level to have seperate classes for students, at the local elementary schools, there is no foreign language teacher (just an after school class) and there are only 4 teachers per grade, and just becuase you're advanced in math, doesn't mean you're advanced in english, which is why it's so hard at such a young age to accomadate everyone

By Massdad (Massdad) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 10:19 am: Edit

"gifted" programs are an interesting issue, one on which I've done a good deal of research.

Problem 1. How do we define gifted? The conflict schools face is that there is a lot of political pressure on schools to offer special programs to high achievers. Yet researchers have found that educational needs differ the most markedly for kids that are 3 or for standard deviations away from the norm, using normed intelligence tests. These kids tend to learn in a massively parallel fashion that is very foreign to us mere mortals. Many of them know higher math without ever being taught (after all, to them, it's just a nonverbal language) But these kids are so rare that a school would offend too many parents with such a restrictive definition. And the broad inclusion requirements significantly dilute any value for those that need it the most.

Problem 2. Identification. As others have said, the issue is one of learning rate and style, not achievement. But rate/style is hard to assess, and virtually impossible to do so for younger children. What is critical is to distinguish between early learners and rapid learners, for instance. Example: The significance of early reading has been found to be, early reading. That's all. Many early readers will be normal readers by 3rd grade. Some late readers will be stars by then. And the same goes for many other skills, even through HS. The ability to read, do simple math, algebra, calculus, analyze and critique complex reading passages etc. are all developmental skills, dependent on brain maturation. Early grasp of any of these skills is NOT a mark of giftedness (although gifted may acquire the skills early). Several organizations, led by Julian Stanley at Hopkins, have studied these issues. You might want to look at some of the work he or colleagues published.

Problem 3. Programming. Need I point out in light of the above that most gifted programs in the US are at their heart political, not educational? I'd be glad to elaborate if anyone cares. Meanwhile, back to my day job.

By Newnudad (Newnudad) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 10:25 am: Edit

Personal examples of Gifted behavior or Mode Of Learning as Marite points out!

D, was 6 - on her own - organized our silverware and misc junk drawers one day - all utensiles, pencils, pens and junk neatly and perfectly alligned. At 3 she did a very detailed crayon mural of hills and trees on our Apartment wall...Excellent use of color, shading and perspective...Mom was not happy, but I wish we could have saved it!

Kids change though, because her room now is a total mess! She blames it on too many AP courses and EC's...I think she is right. Happy to start at Northwestern in a couple of weeks, because she didn't think whe was good enough to get in.

S read first book at 2 1/2. 100% correct math and verbal on 2nd grade Terra Nova test. In 3rd grade came up with a 3rd correct answer on a 4th grade math problem. The teacher had marked his answer as incorrect - (two correct answers in the answer key) he proved to me and her that he was correct!

The downside is that they are both perfectionists and it is difficult to convince them that they cannot be 100% correct all the time. (Especially tough in softball & baseball where success is defined as failure 7 out of 10 times!)

I think every school board in country should help identify and teach gifted kids. You can say "elitist", but I think it is more
"maximizing our kid's skills and abilities" !

As an earlier poster pointed out - if not challenged, gifted kids will tune out and can get lost as a scholar forever.

Our middle schools have advanced Math, English and Science courses - you do not have to be identified as gifted in Elem School to participate - kids are tested in 6th for 7th Grade placement.

HS does have Gifted Seminars - placement tests again - D's best friend participated, D did not -elected to continue with Art. They both have good U's and were top GPA kids in HS.

I realize this is an emotional issue, but as Momrath said - sometimes it can be an affliction,and I do not want to see anyone's kids education chances "wasted".

By Wunderkind__Not (Wunderkind__Not) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 10:29 am: Edit

As a student taught through the gifted program, I feel I also have another perspective on this issue.

I went to a well-known elementary school in PA: Asa Packer. Subsequently, Nitschmann Middle School, and currently, Liberty High School (all public).

In first grade, IQ tests were given to suspected gifted children and if they exceeded the bar, were pulled out and placed in 'Pegasus'(gifted).

The class was not only more advanced and accelerated, but more intellectual as well. We would go through lessons quicker, develop foreign language skills, utilize computers, manage responsiblilities throughout the school, and play advanced games (set and 24 were favorites). We ran our school paper and television show.

The fact is that the school chose the gifted classes very well and every advanced child benefited because we were all brilliant, albeit hard-working or not.

Throughout middle school, we were placed in 'Seminar'(gifted) where we did the same. In this class, we would program computers and create tre buchets and much more. It was truly amazing to be with other brilliant children who could think on the same level with the same speed and clarity.

I have been raised academically through this program in PA and have found it life-changing. It further fostered my intlligence and natural aptitude on learning and comprehension.

Whether students in this program will have an edge later in life or in school is seemingly the question on all the parents' minds these days and the answer is this:

Students will become the students they were meant to be. Don't push your students into any gifted class. If they are accepted, geat. If not, oh well. They can still do just as well in the regular classes. They will find their peice of mind, their parents should as well.

My friend, an extremely hard-working person, and I are aiming for Princeton University. Both capable. Both intelligent. Both educated.

Giftedness is something one is born with and cannot be acquired. Professionals know this and parents sometimes aren't willing to here different.

By Backhandgrip (Backhandgrip) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 10:34 am: Edit

I think there is a trememdous benefit to having these bright kids together for the gifted program. All 4 my kids did it and the program is designed to stimulate not pressure the kids.In the regular class they go over and go over and go over concepts, and still there are kids who don't understand. Any bright child becomes bored and may even end up reading while the teacher is going over it again and again.The gifted program is geared towards creativity in our district and is excellent. There is plenty of opportunity for self study and presentations and more resources. I wish the rest of the district was as well run as the gifted program!

By Wunderkind__Not (Wunderkind__Not) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 10:36 am: Edit

By the way, we had annual testing for the program, especially when graduating to middle school and high school.

By Newnudad (Newnudad) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 10:44 am: Edit

Wunderkind - Thanks for the Post and the "insiders look" at a Gifted Program. Your District sounds like they have it set up right - If we were not here, I'd like to be there...

Good luck at Princeton or wherever!

By Celebrian23 (Celebrian23) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 10:48 am: Edit

I'm not against gifted programs, but i don't like how in many programs, once you're admitted, you're always in the program, i think you should have to prove your worthy of it every year, and i think every kid, no matter their grade, should be allowed entry if they fit the requirements,

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 10:48 am: Edit

I have a friend who teaches at a gifted and talented magnet in our district. I have heard for years of the political connections some parents have used to get their children into the program. Sometimes, political influence is used to jockey for position on the waiting list. Political connectedness is in no way an indication of giftedness. The main comment that my friend has made is that she has to deal with parents and even some administrators that really don't understand what a gifted student is and how to identify them. Her classes, she says, are full of high achievers, but there are few truly gifted children. She even has to deal with parents that do their kids homework and projects for them outright or micro supervise it while the kids lose the benefits from doing their own homework, simply because they are so competitive where their kids are concerned that they wouldn't dare have them do worse than the best students in the class.

Marite you mentioned the very same thing in your first post and >>> Good grades are not a sign of giftedness. Giftedness is not acquired. It is a mode of learning. Many gifted children become underachievers if they are not challenged. The MIT rec form is quite instructive. It asks the teacher whether a grade was obtained as a result of hard work or brilliance.>>> My friend would sound out an amen to that one. And so would I. People have always talked about late bloomers. I often think they were unidentified as truly being gifted and didn't find the program that challenged them until they reached college.

By Ohmadre (Ohmadre) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 10:53 am: Edit

My huge regret about the gifted program was that the wonderful, stimulating, non-traditional and hands-on approaches to learning and thinking and questioning and then applying, were not made available to more students. I am so glad my child was able to experience the program but the student who would have best benefitted from the approach was that bright but easily bored child or that creative-thinker child who could not or would not be served by traditional teaching - that student who was in danger of losing interest in school all together because he or she was perhaps pegged simply as a trouble student or simply required the elevated level of stimulation and energy I saw in the gifted classroom. The gifted program students became more excited about learning - for them, it was fun to rise to challenges. I am not sure why at least some of the approaches in that program could not have been applied in the traditional class room with a good degree of success.

By Mackinaw (Mackinaw) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 10:57 am: Edit

I think Massdad hit the nail on the head by focusing on three issues: Definition, Identification, & Programming.

The first is not a matter of resources but rather a matter of what "gifted" means and, in my experience with my two kids, whether it extends to gifts in arts and music as well as the so-called "core" subjects. I have to say that I haven't seen any very early readers slump back to average by middle/high school. (My own S remained "out there" on the extreme tail of the distribution in all subjects except art/music. Our main challenge was keeping him interested in and focused on school, given the available programming.)

Identification is really problematic (given a working definition), however, because it often relies on tests that can be very unreliable, especially if the gifted child has some kind of learning disorder (yes, this can go hand in hand with outstanding brainpower) but also because many gifted kids have not had the kind of upbringing that allows them to distinguish themselves on tests at an early age. Identification that uses more than one criterion (tests, teacher recommendations, interviews, assessment of work products, or whatever) can help to avoid inappropriate early streaming and branding of kids based on IQ tests. (The history of IQ testing is pretty sordid, especially in the early years.) As I mentioned earlier by reference to our school district, the prevailing mentality of the schools and community also matters here -- ours did not favor doing exceptional things for the high-end academic achievers (they did favor this for high-end athletic achievers).

Programming is often substantially an issue of resources including the size of the school and district -- as well as parent resources and resourcefulness in finding opportunities for their gifted kids. But the fundamental issue is whether kids should be taken out of the regular curriculum and school environment and if so, how to do this, and for how much of the curriculum. While it might benefit bright kids to be together with other bright kids, as Massdad notes it often happens that the REALLY bright kids get put with MERELY bright kids, and the value to the former is substantially diminished. When my S was in a middle school special math program, the teachers decided that the kids should solve problems using teamwork. My S could always solve the problem in his head in a minute or two, and then would have to team with his classmates for hours while they collectively came up with approaches and solutions. This wasn't fun or much of a learning experience for him. They can teach "teamwork" in other contexts.

Our district/city has no "magnet" schools but that approach might have been useful for offering concentrated opportunities for students with special talents and special aspirations.

By Thumper1 (Thumper1) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 11:10 am: Edit

The biggest problem I've seen with most Gifted programs in the public schools is that they expect students to be gifted in ALL areas in order to qualify. DS was a brilliant student in reading/language arts areas (always scoring at the top of standardized tests administered). However, he was an average math student. Thus his overall score was less than brilliant. Even the math section on the WISC pulled his composite score down. There were several enrichment things done in the reading areas and I tried my darndest to get him included...things like accelerated book clubs and the like. He was NOT eligible even though he clearly was gifted in this area (even the school agreed with this...their criteria for the program didn't). Also, there is precious little for students who are gifted in the arts. DS, also a great musician, did his enrichment outside of school attending a precollege program at a music conservatory for three years, and going summers to places like the Boston University Tanglewood Institute.

By Massdad (Massdad) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 11:33 am: Edit

mackinaw, thumper,

The identification problem is even more complex than you allude. Some extremely gifted children, for instance, do poorly on group tests normed for peers because they tend to "read into" the questions, for instance. And ceiling effects on tests are a real problem for many of these kids. And subjective behavioural observations have there own set of challenges.

Proper identification approaches and tools exist, but few schools use them. Why? Because they don't really want to identify gifted. They don't really want to do anything for gifted kids. They just want to keep "pushy" parents off their backs. After all, public education is ultimately a political activity - why else would we elect the management (the school board.)

The sad fact is that it us up to us parents to program for our kids, seeking resources outside the school, if necessary, as Marite has done. BUT, the sadder fact is the number of kids pushed to be "gifted" when they aren't. Hence my view that a key role of public schools is to protect the students from their parents!

By Mackinaw (Mackinaw) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 11:42 am: Edit

I agree with you on all points. I would only add that a key role of parents is often to protect their kids from the schools. (Not a vote for homeschooling here. I favor public education.)

On your last observation, my son's attitude toward the home-school nexus was reflected in how he reprogrammed the logo in the middle school computer during one of his "work on your own" sessions in the library. The official logo was "Home-School-Community -- Together in Excellence." He reprogrammed it to "Home-School-Community -- Together in Incompetence."

Parents are usually amateurs or semi-professionals in the education business. They do a lot of learning on the job. In retrospect we see things we might have done differently. The schools are professionals in the education business but often so bureaucratic or so lacking in imagination or resources that they can't or won't respond to special situations. Getting them to do things differently is very very hard.

By Thumper1 (Thumper1) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 11:49 am: Edit

Massdad, I agree with you. I found it MUCH more rewarding to help DS and DD find enrichment activities outside of school than trying to deal with the schools to establish programs or get my kids into them. This is where I decided my energy would best be spent, and I don't regret it one bit. I couldn't wait, nor did I want to wait, for the schools to decide if they were going to provide for my kiddos. Plus to be honest the programs we found for them were much more suited to their needs than what the school offered anyway (no string program...therefore no orchestra!!)

By Mackinaw (Mackinaw) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 12:02 pm: Edit

Thumper, we did the same with out-of-school activities, especially in music and art.

In music, kids almost always begin their training outside of school and it's not unusual for them to continue all the way through high school and beyond. Both school-year and summer programs can really be valuable.

In art, often the best way to get early training outside of school is with a local artist, because arts programs tend to cater to the masses and are not helpful to the gifted young artist. But there are, of course, some good summer programs or other programs at community colleges, and by high school our daughter took good advantage of those. (The school's art programs were underfinanced and weak.)

But the situation is very tough for kids who are gifted in math, writing, or some other "core" "academic subjects" (I consider art and music to be core -- but that's not the mainstream judgment even of most colleges.) How do you find a school-year program for the gifted young mathematician, scientist, or writer? At what grade level? Inside or outside of the school? That's where we wish we had had more resources for my son. (To be sure, we have college educations, and we did a huge amount to find interesting and challenging things for our kids, often things we could work with them on. But the 6-7 hours spent in school were in some ways an obstacle to their achievement and soaked up a lot of their energy and time outside of school as well.)

By Marite (Marite) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 12:25 pm: Edit


The Boston-area Math Circle saved our S from becoming a near-delinquent in middle school out of sheer boredom. The trouble with doing advanced math outside school, however, is that the student becomes even more out of step with the rest of the curriculum. We were flabbergasted when the 7th grade math teacher suggested our S was ready for Precalc. It turned out he was! That posed another problem of its own.

Anyway, you could look into setting up a Math Circle in your area. You need someone who knows a lot of math but is willing to keep it to himself or herself, letting the students work out solutions to the problems themselves.


As for writing, lots of reading and writing can be done outside school or even within school.

A nice book on the subject of gifted children is Ellen Winner's Gifted Children. She is married to Howard Gardner and tackles different areas of giftedness, including the arts.

By Mackinaw (Mackinaw) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 12:30 pm: Edit

Thanks, Marite. Our kids are well beyond K-12 now, but this is good advice.

One of the things that saved our son from being a delinquent was, oddly enough, his getting involved in an extracurricular -- debate. He spent 30 hrs per week at that (and was very successful at it), and it allowed him to exercise his mind, slake his competitive instincts, engage in team activity and develop really good research skills. The coaches made sure the kids did their homework. (But my son never seemed to have any -- did 90% of it in school.)

This kept him "connected" with the school in important ways.

By Marite (Marite) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 01:15 pm: Edit

Yes, my S has made lots of friends on his Science Team. He never was competitive before but team loyalty has made him want to do well in competitions. Like your son, my S does not seem to have much homework except that generated by his college classes. The debate team seems to eat up a huge amount of time; its'also been quite successful.

By Dix (Dix) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 03:56 pm: Edit

The history of "gifted programs" in the public school system, which began at approximately the same time as desegregation, is what has ultimately labled these programs as "elitist." I believe they continue to maintain that image due to their definition being related to mathmatical/verbal criteria that can be tested. Personally I prefer Gardner's concept of multiple intelligences. Creating programs that would embrace Gardner's definition of giftedness, identifying each child's gift, would be more inclusive. The gifted program that my 4 children were part of (beginning grade 3 through middle school) appeared to be more of an "appearance of compliance." By high school I saw more attention to the idea of multiple intelligences.

By Massdad (Massdad) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 05:01 pm: Edit


The problem with your approach is that, while it is nice and soft, and one can justify inclusion of many kids, the approach is devilishly difficult to implement in a way that meets the needs of true gifted.

Yes, many programs use "criteria that can be tested". What else would one do? It turns out subjective criteria, by any evidence based evaluation that has been done, miss many children that need the intervention of a gifted program.

I often hear the phrase "many children are gifted, just in different ways." It's a nice statement, but TOTALLY misses what I think is the pressing need, which is to help the truly gifted. The truly gifted are a different nut to crack, and often do not do well in a typical school setting.

By Takiusproteus (Takiusproteus) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 05:44 pm: Edit

1. The idea of a segregated schools for 'gifted' students is a flawed one. Sure, it's got good intentions - cultivate bright minds and let them mingle together and develop in a special way. But it degrades into a "I want my kid in this special school so he/she can get into a better college and because I think my kid is special so you better let him/her into it! I want the prestige and bragging rights! blah blah!" Look at the 92nd Street Y. It's ridiculous.

2. There's a strong movement to racially diversify schools so that every student can be exposed to different cultures and thus enrich themselves. Let's take the logic and intent of this and apply it to "giftedness". Shouldn't gifted kids be allowed to mingle with the less-gifted? Shouldn't they be allowed to be together and learn from one another? What we get as a result of this intelligence-based segregation is an elitist attitude and arrogance. The smart kids, receiving different treatment, think they're better than everyone else and look down on them. (and on the other side, the excluded kids shun those chosen favored few) It creates the impression that intelligence makes a person worthier and more valuable to society or more important - an impression which is unhealthy and incorrect. They grow up believing that brilliance is everything.

I think we should not segregate by intelligence. Just provide the opportunities and the means for the gifted to challenge themselves. Offer the chance for them to take initiative, self-motivate, and excel.

By Dix (Dix) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 06:04 pm: Edit

I agree that the "truly gifted" need an enriched education. That includes the kinesthetic gifted child, who is forced to sit 5 hours a day in a crowded classroom. Perhaps his enlightened teacher gives some opportunity for expressing that gift during a 15 min recess(if no rain/snow), otherwise the child waits for PE once a week. The same applies to the artistic child who draws/sketches on every assignment and is reprimanded for it. There appears to be a higher value on mathematic and verbal gifts. It is just as long a school day for children whose gifts are not valued within an IQ based system.

By Marite (Marite) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 06:21 pm: Edit

"Shouldn't gifted kids be allowed to mingle with the less-gifted?" Sure nothing prevents it.

My S attends a highly diverse public high school (at least 27 languages spoken, a very high proportion on F/R lunch). He has friends whose interests and abilities run the gamut from brilliant to struggling. Some actually have told him to his face they hate math. None of them expects that he should be in the same math class as they. When his college class is over, he hastens back to the high school and mingles with his friends.

The more important question is: should students who read at 4rd grade level be in the same class as students who read at college level? Would we say that 18 years old should be in the same class with 10 years old? We would not, but it happens all the time in high schools, except these are not biological ages but grade levels.

By Takiusproteus (Takiusproteus) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 06:50 pm: Edit


I'm referring to the exclusively gifted schools as being unhealthy, rather than the public schools that offer advanced courses. These schools admit only a select few kids from all the students in the region, while the rest of the kids continue in the usual local public school track. The 'gifted' kids are isolated and have one entire school devoted to them.

By Marite (Marite) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 07:00 pm: Edit


point taken. I have to say, though, that a school like ours is unusual insofar as it is extremely diverse yet also is close enough to Harvard and MIT to allow students to take advantage of these two schools (mostly Harvard). If my S had been in a suburban school without such access, I would have tried to put him in a magnet school that offered the level of math and science that he needed. So I am not knocking magnet schools a priori. We can be public-minded, but we must first and foremost be advocates for our own kids. I don't think anyone benefitted when my S was acting up in class out of sheer boredom.

By Tabby (Tabby) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 07:03 pm: Edit

Wow, this is a fascinating post for me to read, coming in from a week of teaching an academically gifted 3rd grade class! I agree with so many thoughts in so many of the posts - and I don't like the term "gifted" either - I would prefer accelerated to describe my job, but no one asked me...
I am a parent of one child who went through an accelerated gifted program, and one child who is dyslexic, not academically gifted, but very talented. So I can not only see from both sides of the desk, but also, as a parent of very different learners, perhaps can relate to a broad view of this area.
Our school system has a great program, in my opinion, designed to include as many "gifted" and "talented" learners as possible. Testing may take place at any time in the child's school career. 2 standard deviations above the mean on an IQ test (WISC-III for children) and/or a matrix of 6 w math/reading tests (Woodcock-Johnson) is the criteria (gifted/talented falls under Special Education in our state). BUT, after selection, the parent may elect to place the child in an accelerated and enriched class OR a two half-day a week pull out of strictly enrichment. We also have a Talented Arts program whereby a child may try out for Talented Music, Visual Arts, or Theatre classes held for 2 hours each week. This pulls in many children, like my D, who aren't academically gifted but really right-brained and talented. You can be in both - S was in Tal. Music as well as the gifted program.
I have never heard of another program quite like ours which is so strong in identifying talented kids. I feel it respects many learners and tries to include as many students as possible.
I also would like to see even more learners benefit from such a program. There is a model of education called a "revolving door" whereby all students in a school receive enrichment on a rotational basis. This is a good thing; I do, however, believe that many of my students need even more challenge than strictly enrichment. I am in favor of accelerating those for whom it is appropriate. It IS frustrating when I am assigned a student who clearly isn't strong in math but "made it" on IQ or language skills. The pushy parent is to blame here. No child is forced to take accelerated classes in every subject, but many pushy parents are determined to keep their children in "all gifted classes" despite my recommendations.
As all students get older in our system, they may qualify for Honors classes. At the h.s. level, the gifted classes are pretty much interchangeable with honors. The talented classes also continue throughout school. If still more challenge is needed in the form of Phys/Cal, Diff EQ, etc., our state has a magnet residential school for high achieving students with all classes taught using college textbooks (my S goes there).
So, even though Louisiana suffers from an image problem, we have pockets of excellence and I wanted to share this info on CC.

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 05:47 pm: Edit

Both of my children spent time in gifted programs (4th-6th grade for DD, 3rd-5th for DS). My son's reaction to being in a 3rd/4th mixed-age gifted program after the first day (as the youngest 3rd grader): "Mom, Mom, I learned some math I didn't know (they had him with the fourth graders) and I made some friends. They like math too. I never met anyone else who got it about math before."

My daughter was relieved to meet people like her who wanted to talk about books and write novels. (She wrote a LONG story with several friends in 4th grade.)

Frankly, I thought it was great that my kids were finally getting the education they needed and deserved--but I was STUNNED to find out that for my kids, it was about the social aspects. For the first time, they met kids who shared their intellectual skills. My son was, at the time, very shy and somewhat socially inept. After two years of working with the teacher who reamins one of his two favorites (he was in the 3/4 mix for two years), he had learned strong social skills that have stuck with him. He also learned to write coherently and well.

That teacher made this point: "these kids are as far from the intellectual average as the kids in full-time special education." (Think about it: bottom 2%, top 2%.) "So we give them full-time special education, we just call it a gifted program instead of special ed."

In middle school, they went to a pretty demanding public school--but not a gifted program--because they were tired of "being different." My son ended up in algebra 1--with 8th, 9th, and 10th graders--as a sixth grader, and inside of two weeks was in all 7th grade courses, except for PE and art. My daughter ended up in a mix of 8th and 7th grade courses--and algebra 1--as a 7th grader. Fortunately, the other students respected their brains, thanks to a school culture that emphasized hard work and intellectual skills.

Nonetheless, they both chose to go elsewhere--to private schools with honors and AP courses--for high school. Neither felt public school offered sufficient challenge. My D, especially, felt that the English courses in her public schools--despite the excellence of her teachers--simply didn't assign or evaluate enough writing. My son was faced with running out of courses at the end of 11th grade--as it turned out he chose to go to college at the end of 11th grade anyway, despite the availability of further courses at his HS.

Others have asked why gifted children can't simply take classes with older children or go to college early. Well, they can, but for the kid--who like most children wants to fit in socially--it can be very difficult on the social side. Even now, my 17-year-old son hangs around with kids years older than him (he's now a sophomore at MIT)--but it was HARD when they graduated from high school and he was still there... and he certainly couldn't take PE with 15 year olds when he was 11--even though he took math and science with them...

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 08:03 pm: Edit

I just want to add one incident from my experience with Gifted education to the issue of "identification." When my son was a first grader he attended a public school in Texas where the students were ability grouped for reading and math and had a homeroom teacher. As a result he had 3 different teachers. I was approached by the homeroom teacher to have him tested for "gifted pull-out" which was the model used in this school district. I expressed my reluctance- he already had 3 teachers, was in the "top" group for both math and reading (where he was especially strong)- this seemed plenty enriching to me.I was told that "if he didn't get into the gifted program in first grade it would be much harder in 3rd grade"- or something along these lines. I had no doubt but that we would not be in the same school district in 1-2 years, but I decided to go ahead. My son was tested and put into their pull out program. He liked it well enough, and came home every week with interesting problem solving "extension" type work. His G/T teacher felt he was extraordinary- she lavished praise on his every insight.

At the end of the school year we did indeed move. I was given an open copy of his records, including the IQ test done for qualifying purposes ( a Slosson- which is a more limited type of IQ assessment). He had scored outrageously high (above 160 or so) and I was astounded- it just was not how I (or my husband) saw our son. I looked carefully at the protocol and the items he had wrong and right..and then I looked at the score sheet. Lo and behold, the scoring was evidently done by someone not so gifted in math, and a major error had been made in addition! The correct score was much more in line with my perception of my son- a very bright boy who would do well in school, but certainly not an intellect of the proportions suggested by a single, erroneous test result. He would still have "qualified" as "gifted" in that Texas school district, but I wondered if the teacher would have been as robust in her excitement about him....hmmm

The OP asked at what age giftedness could be tested for or the kids "designated". My opinion, use caution at any age. I think that the very enriched schools that some of our children attend suit many "gifted" children quite well (especially those with IQ's in the 130-150 range). In reality, many of the children whom I subsequently knew who seemed to thrive only in self contained gifted classes were not those with the highest IQ overall, but rather the biggest discrepancies in their intellect- the very verbally gifted child who couldn't put pencil to paper, for example..As well as those children for whom the social acceptance and overall milieu was important- the segment of this population that I have heard called "gifted and clueless"...

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 08:30 pm: Edit

I'm just as happy that my S was never tested for IQ. This has allowed us to try to address his different levels of abilities rather than having him labeled "gifted" across the board. Not an easy task but somehow he has managed, though I wish his high school English and social studies curriculum had been more rigorous. I'm just wondering whether a pre-test administered at the beginning of the school year in each class would not serve the identification purpose than a one-time IQ test.
On the issue of socialization, my S now has two groups of friends: his summer friends who share his love of math and his high school friends who run the gamut from brilliant to challenged, from math/science types to artistically inclined. He spent all his waking hours with his summer friends for six weeks and loved it. His high school friends he tends to see over lunch and after school. They are not in the same classes as he. The two groups feed the different sides of his personality.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 08:44 pm: Edit

We would have never had my oldest tested, but it was covered by insurance and required as part of a follow up study at the UW for babies that were born extra small and extra early. When it was obvious that the local public kindergarten just wasnt approrpriate ( the teachers opinion) we hunted for alternatives. She attended a private school for "gifted" kids, but it really was great, very low key and fun, her 3/4/5th grade teacher is a carbon copy of MsFrizzle only think arts/writing instead of science. The saving grace of her having to be back in Seattle this year is that her grade school hired her to run an after school science program and I believe they are giving her lots of freedom and control ( and $$)
She has never been in public school so I can't say whether she would have adapted, but she has always gotten a lot of energy from others and not one to be real self motivated and directed except with special things.
Her sister hasn't been identified, but she hasnt an IQ test either. I suspect she is actually quite bright despite her difficulties in school and we are planning on having her tested to get a better handle on what her strengths are.
This of course is very expensive, $1,400 but we just refi our house plus we have been working with a lawyer to try and get the school district to reimburse us for some of the things that we have had to go outside the system for/that they did not provide

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 08:53 pm: Edit

I can see, if there is any concern, that testing makes sense. My S is totally "normal." All he requires is to be accelerated in some subjects more than in some others, and to be in grade level classes for still others. He has just been told by one of his summer friends that he is too lazy to be called a nerd. .

By Alwaysamom (Alwaysamom) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 08:53 pm: Edit

Our district had an excellent gifted education program which my older two daughters were lucky enough to experience. All students were tested in fourth grade, testing which included two I.Q. type tests, then depending on the results, there was a third test and a personal interview by a school board psychologist.

If the benchmarks were met, 98th percentile, they had two options. A pullout program for one day a week for fifth through eighth grades, or a self-contained program at a separate school, for those grades. We opted for the self-contained program and never for a moment regretted it. As others have said, we found that our daughters finally found school interesting, finally had classmates who also found it interesting and who were ready and willing and eager to learn.

The kids in this program were a very diverse group, ethnically and economically. Almost all were not only academically gifted, but also artistically and athletically gifted. It was an interesting group. These were well-rounded, high achievers. Even though it was the smallest school in the district, they routinely won the county sports championships. They raised the most money in the annual charity fundraising efforts which were undertaken by each school in the school board. The school orchestra was something to behold. Probably the most amazing and wonderful part of the entire experience for those four years was the group of dedicated and terrific teachers who made the program what it was. My Ds still keep in touch with a few of the teachers who taught there there, two attended their h/s graduations.

It may not be the right choice for every child but it certainly was for ours. Also, the program was run very well and it was not one where parents could lobby or strategize to gain entrance for their children, it went simply by the proscribed testing. I think it depends largely on how the individual programs are set up and handled. Certainly, it CAN be a wonderful opportunity and experience.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 08:57 pm: Edit

This might seem not relevant but bear with me...

In our current school situation the population is heavily non-first-language English speaking. The parents are well educated, on the whole, many speak English quite fluently as a 2nd or 3rd language (those Europeans, darn them!)- but atleast 50% of the kids do not speak English at home primarily. There is concern by some (and I have had it at times) that the kids who are native English speakers, even those with enriched language environments at home, are going to be disadvantaged by having a more diluted language environment in the classroom. The headmaster has answered my concern with this comment-"don't you think that for the first language English speakers there is more to be gained by developing effective communication with non-native speakers than they lose by virtue of the (slightly lower) language level of the classroom."

I think this a very instructive notion when considering the socialization of the "gifted" child. Not only do your sons groups of friends feed different sides of his personality, Marite, they also require him to develop and use different skills. While the former might matter more in some aspects of his professional future when he communicates with his intellectual peers, it is the skills learned with the latter that will ensure his happiness and success with the rest of the folks out there!!

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 09:05 pm: Edit


I so agree with you!

On the issue of students whose first language is not English, there is a test called Naglieri? Have you heard of it?

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 09:09 pm: Edit

In our current school situation the population is heavily non-first-language English speaking. The parents are well educated, on the whole, many speak English quite fluently as a 2nd or 3rd language (those Europeans, darn them!)- but atleast 50% of the kids do not speak English at home primarily

We have lots of ESL students in Seattle.
Many however when assessed for grade level upon entrance to district are put in special ed.
Why? When some can speak four different languages, just none of them is English? You would not believe the process to get them out of special ed and into a class where they can learn english and practice their many skills?
However there is a "bright" side, when these kids are accurately assessed, they can exit special ed and that raises the districts success rate! @@

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 09:18 pm: Edit

I just "googled" it and one of the sites I came up with was for a store (in Texas) offering a list of materials for the following:

"Tips to Prepare Your Child For G/T or Naglieri Testing"

and then there was: "We’re dedicated to helping your child excel at school, on standardized tests, and - in life!"

Have to love it!

The whole issue of IQ testing is so thorny, and even more so in second language learners. I had heard of the Naglieri, but will pursue further. Thanks for this.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 09:25 pm: Edit

At our school kids who are ESL rarely go into special ed...most often it only happens if they have been in ESL programming for a few years and are not making expected progress. Most of their educational programming is in the "mainstream". Of course, the school doesn't have to worry about No Child Left Behind and such, they really only focus on the needs of a given child.

Some kids with multiple language exposures, however, speak no single base language fluently- and these kids are at very high risk educationally. It would be nice to be proactive in assisting them, but they can be hard to identify initially.

I would guess that the ESL population at most US schools is very different than ours- which is largely upper middle class, well educated parents, etc...

By Momrath (Momrath) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 09:38 pm: Edit

It's true that knowing the results of an IQ test, does put a different spin on how a child is perceived and received. My son was tested when he was four as a requirement for applying to private school in NYC. The results were meant to be confidential, so the schools had access to them but we didn't. At one of the snobby elite upper eastside schools a group from admissions actually came out of their office to oogle at him as he made a wonderfully complex drawing. At the time we had no idea what had piqued their interest, but later learned that he had scored particularly high. Well, they rejected him anyway, which considering the social and financial standing of the other families involved in the school, was probably a good thing.

He had been attending a decidedly diverse and politically correct preschool. They had characterized him as a bright, but quiet kid. After those amazing scores came out (which they egalitarianly shared with us) he was treated like some kind of royalty. All kind of anectdotes were unearthed about "how they knew he was different."

The point of all this nonsense is that he was exactly the same kid as before, but having a high score IQ test became a kind of validation and doors opened, not the least of which was admission to a public school with a gifted program a couple of blocks from our home absolutely free! The most positive part of knowing was that we were able to learn about the social side of growing up gifted and help him navigate through the ups and down of the educational process, especially after he no longer was enrolled in a pull-out program.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 09:48 pm: Edit

Momrath: Any accurate test result which then informs and provides guidance for instruction (not to mention free instruction)or for more effective parenting is worthwhile as far as I am concerned.. By the way, are you free for coffee this week?

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 10:42 pm: Edit

On testing: putting a score on the kid for IQ or SAT can help to persuade teachers that the kid is indeed different, not just lazy or obnoxious. When my son scored a 630 on his math SAT in 6th grade, his algebra teacher pointed out that the score was better than she had done on her second try as a senior--and she stopped questioning my son's statements that he hadn't done the homework because he already knew the stuff and wanted to learn something different so he'd read ahead instead. I'd said it over and over--that he learned math just be seeing it once--but she hadn't believed me. The score changed her mind.

Yes, it's a stupid reason to have your kid tested. But it does work. Having a number clarifies things for many teachers.

A comment on IQ testing: I had the kids tested for the G/T progam in elementary school and found the results fascinating. They were sorted by specific areas of strength and weaknesses. With my D, there was one very specific weakness--and we tried several things to try to help her out. In the end, it turned out to be a minor vision problem--one weaker eye--that was corrected by special exercises--and that improved her reading speed enormously, and reduced her headaches. She'd had other vision tests previously, which had failed to catch the problem.

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 10:53 pm: Edit


I wonder whether some teachers are more easily persuaded by SAT scores that IQ scores? There are many out there who are ready to dismiss IQ scores or to claim that "everybody is gifted, so what?" They can more easily compare your kid's SAT scores to their own (as in your anecdote)or with those of high schoolers. It also gives them a better sense of where your kid should be academically.
To the credit of my S's teachers, when he received his SAT scores in 7th grade, he'd already been allowed to do precalculus. The math teacher had given him a pre-test of a sort and that was it. As to his ELA teacher, she was always challenging him to do more and better. They glanced at his SAT scores, and just went on as before, which was just fine.

By Bookworm (Bookworm) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 11:47 pm: Edit

Back in college, we studied the Rosenthal effect. 4th graders were tested, and teachers informed of their IQs. Not their true IQs, however. The students with supposedly high scores were treated differently, in subtle ways.Would be nice if every student was brushed with this magical powder. Unfortunately, how a student dresses, how good-looking they are, all impact on teachers.
(Thumper-I made correction WISC from WAIS, but posted uneditted version_)

By Emptynester (Emptynester) on Sunday, August 29, 2004 - 10:59 am: Edit

Are elem school gifted and honors programs a purely public school phenomenon?

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Sunday, August 29, 2004 - 11:46 am: Edit

In public school( in our area) the gifted program begins at 1st grade. Private schools are often set up for "gifted" kids, either stated and indentified formally or assumed to be so but not formally indentified. However the test used in public school to indentify children is group administered acheivment test, private school IQ test ( WIsc- standford-binet- Wppsi) we found an individual test to be much more accurate, however the public school will not accept outside testing except in the appeal process. This limits the children in the gifted program because there are undoubtably many like us, who wouldn't appeal the process even if we did have an outside eval that disputed the schools data.

By Bookworm (Bookworm) on Sunday, August 29, 2004 - 12:04 pm: Edit

In my area, in private school they do 'pull-outs' for math and English. Teachers are ones who suggest it.
Private schools have private psychologists do testing, and only accept certain practioners. Public schools start as early as K, and testing can be done in-school (for free) or privately. Any psychologists report was acceptable, and many kids scored that magic number by using certain "easy" psychologists or repeat testing (lying to psychologists, tho often obvious). They made the system unweildy by adding Ach tests, which doubled price for parents. Sadly, there is much info these tests can demonstrate beyond giftedness or LD, such as style of learning.

By Momrath (Momrath) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 12:01 am: Edit

Robyrm, I'd love to have coffee or lunch, but I work full time (and then some). Would you be able or interested to get together near my office in the business district? You can reach me at broswebr@cbn.net.id.

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