Gifted ed?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by kcjo13, Dec 5, 2013.

  1. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I need some guidance on gifted programs. My school (where my kids attend) has never had a particularly stellar gifted program, it was just kinda there. My daughter has qualified based on TNova scores for the past 3 years. This year, they changed the testing criteria and are now basing participation on maps scores. They had a meeting today in which they gave each child their scores on a sheet of paper, with either a Yes or a No circled-whether or not they will be in the program this year.

    My child had NO circled. She was devastated.

    I am in NO WAY saying that she should be grandfathered in to a program she is not qualified for. But my questions are:

    1) why was this not a parent notification? What is the goal in announcing this to a room full of kids?

    2) how is it that test scores show my kid qualified for 3 years, and suddenly not?

    3) what are other schools doing to qualify students for gifted programs?

    I guess I'm pretty bitter, if you can't tell. The program doesn't do a lot of activities, but what they did do, my daughter always participated in to the fullest extent. She is very creative and intelligent, not a good tester. The school used to have a parent nomination method, but I also don't want to be THAT parent.

    I'm frustrated. And mama-bearing my daughter. Help me through this...and be honest. If I need to lay off, tell me.
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I'm on my phone now, so I can't type a long response, but as a gifted ed teacher, the idea I basing eligibility on a single test is absurd to me.
     
  4. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Gifted is special ed here, so students have IEPs. There has to be an IEP meeting to exit the from the program. Qualifications are based on IQ scores, and a screening checklist, and a tiny bit school performance. X
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    This is very similar to the way things are here.
     
  6. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Okay, computer back up.

    There are four tiers of gifted service in my district. The first two are essentially classroom differentiation, the third is a pull-out program, and the fourth is a full-day gifted program. In order to get into the highest two tiers, students have to be screened. Those screenings look at IQ testing (CogAT, NNAT, and any private testing parents may have done), parent information, behavior rating scales, work samples, and any other pertinent information. It's a fairly involved process. The highest level in particular is taken extremely seriously. I was part of the committee last year. They put hundreds of people in a room, six to a table, don't let you say a word, and you do nothing but look at files ALL. DAY. LONG. And it takes place over seven days (luckily they only wanted classroom teachers for one day). Four votes either way made a decision, a split decision went to an even more intense committee.

    Decisions about levels 1, 2, and 3 happen on a yearly basis. For level 4, once students are in, they are IN unless parents take them out.
     
  7. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Yeah, I've never heard of the kids being the ones who receive notifications-all ours are mailed to their parents at home, everything is kept very confidential.

    In our district qualification is only based on testing (so I have seen truly gifted kids not qualify because like you said, they may just not be good testers or may not have the same academic experiences to score well). But once they qualify they keep that label until 5th Grade, where they have to re-apply-unless there's a major drop in grades or behavior.
     
  8. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Same for us.

    I'm not a mom. Keep that in mind.

    My gut reaction is that one test doesn't make sense. My gut reaction is that the notification process was wrong.

    But, my next thoughts are: would I have had a problem with the one test and the notification process if my (imaginary) child had qualified for the program ... if 'yes' had been circled?

    If you answer yes to part 2, then I think it makes sense that you are upset and would question the school. If you answer no, I think it makes sense that you console your child through this and mark it up as a life lesson.

    I almost deleted this ... I always feel strange about discussing parenting when I'm not a parent.

    OP is one of my faves, I hope I don't offend.
     
  9. gr3teacher

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    There are a lot of times though where I would be okay with my child receiving one type of news, but not another. I'd be perfectly fine with my daughter opening her final report card and finding out she had gotten placed in the next grade level. I would not be okay with her opening the report card and finding that she had been retained.

    Even expanding it out to adulthood, I don't think any of us would bat an eye at a principal giving us something positive for our files without talking to us about it, but we'd all be furious if they gave us something negative without talking to us.
     
  10. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    My daughter's district doesn'treally have a g/t program at the elementary level. Everyone is given a test in kindergarten, and that's the end of that. Those kiddos that score high enough are labeled g/t, but nothing is really done for them.


    I think most 'g/t' programs need to be re-labeled 'high achieving' though.
     
  11. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    The goal behind having the label be test-based is to avoid it being 'high-achieving.' There is a huge difference between a student who is hard-working, high-achieving and one who is gifted.

    That aside, giving the results to the students directly is absolutely ridiculous. If the test is properly set up the kids wouldn't be able to interpret the results anyway. They would just see the big "No, you aren't good enough." I'd be quite upset if any school handled it that way.
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I agree. Our gifted students are not necessarily high-achieving and the vast majority of our high-achieving students are not gifted. In my school board, all grade 3 students are screened and those that achieve a certain score on the screening are given a full psycho-educational assessment. Teachers do provide some input, but it has more to do with how the students think and approach learning situations than with achievement.
     
  13. TeacherGroupie

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    kcjo, is MAPS the standard annual state test? If it is, it's as nearly the wrong instrument for determining gifted status as I can think of: annual state tests are designed to determine floors, not guess at ceilings.

    Giftedness is not about who can memorize what.

    As for notifying these children directly and in a group and before the parents hear, that's reprehensible.
     
  14. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    THANK YOU all for your replies! I've been in and out of meetings, but I knew I could count on this group to give me some great ideas and things to think about. I wrote this late last night when anger was really clouding my judgment, and I needed time to think this through. I want to respond to a few ideas, and continue to get your input:

    Here, gifted or High Ability does not have a lot of meaning, really. It's basically participation in more of an after school club-like atmosphere (if you want to).

    First of all, aw! :wub: I really respect you and you're one of my faves! It is SO valuable to have your viewpoint as a person with no children, because parents' sight can be clouded by the need to be so overprotective, so I appreciate that!

    Second, the bolded part. I read this earlier, and I've been stewing on it all day. I cannot honestly say that if "yes" had been circled that I would have thought too much about it. I can honestly say that I would have raised my eyebrows and probably told my husband that I didn't agree with that, but oh well-someone else's problem.

    That's the honest truth.

    But, I've done a lot of thinking about it, and as it is, it was "no". Therefore, it did spur me into action (right or wrong, that's how I feel). I have this feeling that there are a lot of kids there who probably had "no", and their parents either don't care or don't have the knowledge or desire to speak up. And frankly, the parents of "yes" kids should be upset too. So I feel like I have to express my disappointment, not only for my own kid, but for others too.

    See, the thing that really bothers me is that the letter mentions "maintaining the integrity of the program". I have a real issue with that. First of all, is that implying that the program did not have integrity in the past? That includes my daughter, and implies that integrity equates to or requires test scores. I'm almost sure that wasn't the intent of the letter, but I'm sorry...words matter. Choose them wisely!

    I also really have an issue with a sudden change of direction-in December. Why was this not communicated to parents? Invited feedback? A more appropriate solution would have been to include parents in an informational session, and let them know that next year, the program would be changed to these certain criteria. To change the rules midstream is not ok.

    THIS. This is my biggest issue. Worded very well-I would like to borrow these analogies, if you don't mind.

    Yes, yes, yes. My daughter does work hard, and enjoys what she does. To reduce her ability to a number on a page, a single number, is just appalling to me.
     
  15. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    MAPS is Measures of Academic Progress. Benchmark testing for each grade level in reading, math, language arts, and science.

    Her math score was her lowest one, and what disqualified her.
     
  16. 2ndTimeAround

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    I don't know - I go back and forth on it. I have a gifted child and an average child.

    My average child was in the gifted program. One that was very exclusive at the time. She was in it for about 12 weeks and got kicked out. Because the other students in the program, none of which had a drug-addicted 2nd grade teacher (by her own admission - she was too out of it from pain killers to drive herself to school each day and had to have someone cover lunch/recess duty so she could nap), were already able to do long division and she was not, she was excluded. The powers that be did not think it was fair to hold back the other students while my daughter learned that skill.

    That daughter has average intelligence, as I said. But she had, HAD, an unique, creative way of problem solving that made her an excellent student in that program. I do believe that at younger ages such creativity can mask average intelligence. I did see a lot of students that started out in the program become disqualified later on. Sometimes it was because they refused to do the required work. Why waste a seat (resources were limited) on a child that isn't going to take advantage of the class? But sometimes it was because they just "couldn't hang" any longer. Not that intelligence was lost, of course, but more like it became evident later that they were not truly gifted.

    Was the note folded and stapled? Given to your daughter so she could give it to you? Did she in essence open your mail? If so, then I wouldn't blame the school and would be having a talk with my child. If it was addressed to her then I would have a discussion about timing with the teacher.
     
  17. TeacherGroupie

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    I was afraid it was like that. There's not a hope in Hades that a benchmark test can really identify the gifted. All it can hope to do is point a finger in the general direction of the high achievers. Some of those will in fact be gifted, but others won't. For one thing, a test like this will wrongly exclude the English learner who is gifted but simply not yet fluent in English (and, for the record, that exclusion is a lawsuit waiting to happen); it will also wrongly exclude the dyslexic kid who is gifted.
     
  18. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I'll add, kcjo, that your daughter might not be missing very much by not participating in the program that you describe. One of my daughters was in a window-dressing-type pull-out program - once a week, 45 minutes, all identified grades all together, and from her description doing little build-it projects; in fifth grade she opted out because it wasn't worth it to her to keep having to make up the regular classroom work every week.
     
  19. gr3teacher

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    Hearing how miserable some of these gifted programs are is frustrating to me. There is so much research out there showing the necessity of kids getting appropriate work.
     
  20. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    The note was not in any way addressed to me. It is a single page that begins "Dear Students and Parents". It had a small slip of paper stapled to it with her name, her maps scores, and "qualifies for Hal: Yes or No. No is circled.

    I have been out of town for 2 days. Today is the first time I've really been able to talk to my daughter about what happened. The Hal advisor came down after lunch yesterday, announced that all Hal students needed to come upstairs, then had a 5 minute meetin in which she explained the letter, and told them if their note said no, they could no longer be in Hal. The end.

    Oh, and I found out that they have been meeting this year. Every once in a while, on Wednesdays during lunch, they got together and practiced quiz bowl. My daughter had been participating all semester. Maps were administered the first full week of school.

    Oh, and my daughter missed that week due to a family emergency. She had to make up her maps the next week in between getting caught up on daily assignments. We were given no notice of these scores prior to now.

    To describe me as livid is putting it lightly.

    You're absolutely right, TG, I don't want her participating in this. But the circumstances are just outrageous. And she is understandably devastated. And worried to death about her image. Seventh grade, you know.

    I am forming a plan. I am trying to stay calm and level headed.
     

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