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.
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.