Testing, testing, 1-2-3

This may surprise a few people, but I do have two sons. I tend to write about my 11 year old, the one who is twice-exceptional and who has been hell on wheels since he was ten weeks old. Ten weeks old in utero. Yeah, couldn’t find a heartbeat at first because he was doing laps. A is an endless source of blog material, especially now that I’m homeschooling him. But he does have a younger brother. I’ve been asked if J is gifted, if he’s been tested, if he’s at all like his sibling. My answers are I have no idea, no, and Thank GOD very little. I’m not convinced I could handle two high intensity twice-exceptional sons, though I’ve been assured I could and would.

J is not homeschooled, but a thriving third grader at our local public school. I’m a little worried about him, as I know expectations and homework and all that ramps up in third grade, and that’s when his brother began to struggle. It’s also The Year When Testing Begins. I am not a fan of state testing; I think its efficacy is greatly hampered by the intense focus placed on it. But that’s not until March, so we have several months to smack the older kid for freaking out his younger brother have it hanging over our collective heads prepare. No, there is other testing in third grade, and it came waltzing in to the classroom the second week of September…’cause nothing says Welcome Back To School quite like get-your-number-two-pencils-and-color-in-these-bubbles-for-two-weeks.

Yes, my sweet third grader had the pleasure of CoGAT and ITBS testing earlier this month. You know, the testing that most school districts use to figure out if a kid would be appropriately served with gifted programming. Because of A’s history, I don’t put a lot of stock in these particular evaluations. I don’t think they are an accurate assessment of giftedness, but rather of how well one takes tests. When he took them, the scores were so low I thought we should be checking for a pulse, not giftedness. Further evaluation with the Gifted Development Center indicated significant twice-exceptionality (hi, slow processing speed!), and we were able to move forward with the necessary academic interventions.

All that said, I’m curious to see how J did. When I managed to pry anything out of him about the testing, all I got was that he finished every test and it didn’t seem that hard. There will be a great deal of ironic laughter if his testing indicates a need for gifted accommodations. That would then be followed by an even greater deal of chaos control between the brother who was denied services and the brother who got them. Borrowing trouble worrying about the future? Yup, I’m really good at that, thanks for noticing.

I know schools need to evaluate their students, I get that. It’s the unquestioned reliance on testing that I do not appreciate. Some kids are just puke-poor test takers, and tying academic interventions solely to the results of a couple of tests taken over two weeks is ludicrous. I say solely because that has been our experience; if your school district uses different or additional methods I am officially jealous.

Regardless of his testing results, J will continue to get a strong education at his school, with fun supplements here at home. Testing is just another part of school that kids have to survive; I just wish there wasn’t so much of it.

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Jen writes over at Laughing at Chaos, and is the author of If This is a Gift, Can I Send It Back?: Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice-Exceptional.

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5 thoughts on “Testing, testing, 1-2-3

  1. Many similarities. Reminds me of when dd sat the English equivalent of CoGAT some 7 years ago. Did not know about it until afterwards when the teacher sneaked me a view of the results (9,9,7). She said the 7 would have been higher. She took one look at the paper and refused to do it because it “looked like fractions” which they hadn’t done yet. Knuckled down when threatened with having to do them in the headmasters office! She wasn’t their favorite student. Always looking for cracks in the system.

  2. We added another test (on every grade) this year! SLO’s or Student Learning Objective Assessments as pre and post tests this school year to “maybe” evaluate teachers. (This is a test to see if our county wants to use this test.) Ten hours for some grades- twice a year. Maybe the teachers could use that time to… um… teach.

  3. What happened to IQ testing for Gifted? Mine’s in 3rd and half of me wants her to test Gifted (to “justify” to myself her personality,w hich is a line-up) and the other half of me wants her to not. Because I think I placed too many expectations on myself because of the Gifted label to Achieve Great Things. And really, says Dweck these days, what is needed is Hard Work. Mine is not really achieving these days because drill and fine motor, not curiosity and intuition, is what makes an elementary kid do well. Sadly!

  4. The reel challenge is to take each son as he is without comparing them. My older is 10, gifted…with lapse in concentration. My 2nd son is 7 and jumped one year in advance at school. We’ve tested them both but we never gave any scores. They just know they are gifted…both of them. Point. And us too. Final point. ;-)
    Giftedness can’t just be bottled in a score…it’s just a key to understand a lot of “why”.
    So, Jen, until you run out of writing material, don’t give a f# to tests ;-)))))

  5. I have two very different sons (DS11- tested gifted and accelerated two years and in 8th grade and DS6 not tested yet but I suspect gifted and in 1st). You oldest “helping” your youngest with info. sounds a lot like mine. Totally made my DS6 fret over kindergarten and now 1st grade. He means well, but goes a bit overboard. :) Don’t get me started on testing. DS6 had his first ever timed math test (it was explained as a pretest to him) and he got very angry when he saw he didn’t get all of them correct. What ever happened to just letting kids learn addition and subtraction first and not worry about the drill and kill? The explanation given to me about why they bumped up the timed tests (they used to start in 2nd grade) was that the state is now evaluating teachers and they want to meet their own goals for showing student improvement. UGH! So lets have the kids suffer and perhaps get math anxiety because of a teacher evaluation. Is my emotional intensity showing? :)

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