Friday, January 22, 2010

Raising Gifted Children: I'm Not Griping Today

I'm reading: Raising Gifted Children: I'm Not Griping TodayTweet this!

True, I'm not griping today. I do have a few rants on how gifted children are left behind and how our public school system falls short meeting the needs of academically talented students, but I'm going to keep them to myself. For today, at least.

I was surprised to learn from Switched on Mom that some school districts, hers for instance, do not release results from NWEA MAP tests. My boys have taken that test at two different schools. (Frustratingly, the scores are not portable and the student needs to start from scratch after moving to a new district.) We have always received some type of report noting my children's scores and how they compare to district as well as national averages.

A few months ago, the boys' school held a Testing 101 night at which administrators talked about the different types of standardized tests administered to students. Were this a rant, I'd go into detail about the school psychologist's admission that yes, mostly these tests ares used to weed out kids who might prevent the school from meeting annual progress goals under No Child Left Behind and making sure those kids have services to get up to speed.

The MAP tests, however, are used in part to gain entry into the enrichment program. But noting that my boys seem to make most oftheirh progress over the summer (seriously, forget that lexile stuff; you'd be amazed at what reading the entire Garfield comic book series can do to boost reading scores), I was hear to learn more about the specific learning goals that come with the score.

At the testing night, the principal explained parents were welcome to email her to see that extra information regarding their child's customized learning goals.

I received a sapling's worth of paper on my boys' goals. I brought one boy's goal set to a parent conference to review with the teacher, which admittedly was much too large a task for our allotted time. She promised she'd get back to me with answers on how her curriculum relates to my son's goals, and bless her, she did. Every single line. Each item.

Now it's my turn to review all the info and try to understand her color-coded notes.

This was clearly a task that took a bit of time. I am very grateful for her efforts.


Drew @ Cook Like Your Grandmother said...

Wow, that is such a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it's great that the teacher took the time to go over everything for you. On the other hand, "standardized testing" means that sapling was killed with a standardized plan.

If there's that much detail generated for each child -- which is good for the parents, I think -- is it reasonable to think the teacher could possibly read and respond and react to everything for every child? Can you really specialize everything that much in a traditional classroom setting?

Information overload can be as much a problem as not having enough. No good answers here ... nope, nothing at all.

Kim Moldofsky said...

Totally a mixed blessing. The teacher in questions is for smaller "enrichment." My guess is that level of detail is never examined unless there is a reason or request to examine it. But I appreciate she took such a thorough look. Now I need to give it the once-over so I can see how the instruction fits my son's needs.

And frankly, when my boys attended a private school for gifted kids with much smaller classes, there was no evidence the teachers reviewed this material even though parents were told that the school worked hard to match education to needs.