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    #135931 - 08/18/12 01:27 PM Re: Have test results - not what I expected [Re: Cricket2]
    mountainmom2011 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/05/12
    Posts: 404
    Originally Posted By: Cricket2
    OTOH, the WJ isn't a test used by schools usually and it might mean more to them to see apples compared to apples. I'd consider looking @ what tests they use: MAPS, DRA, ITBS, etc.


    The only one I've heard of them using is DRA and once she reaches 1 year above grade level they stop testing. And they do Everyday Math assessments at various times throughout the year. My older dd has had those but younger dd hasn't had any yet.


    Edited by mountainmom2011 (08/18/12 01:27 PM)

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    #135932 - 08/18/12 01:57 PM Re: Have test results - not what I expected [Re: mountainmom2011]
    polarbear Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3363
    Originally Posted By: mountainmom2011
    Oh, and wanted to add that I think this principal thinks that I'm just destined to be an unsatisfied parent. Between one dd needing more help which I can't get her... and the other dd who needs more advancement; which sounds like they either a.) don't believe me or b.) are unwilling to provide, I'm believing more and more each day that our school (a magnet) doesn't have their students' best interests at heart and teaches to the middle.


    I think the reality is - you aren't satisfied, right? It's ok to let the school know it smile I think to put it in perspective re administrators sometimes it helps to realize you're not the only unsatisfied customer they have. It's not terribly unusual to find that schools tend to teach "to the middle" simply because that's where the great majority of their customers are, so that's where they keep the highest percentage of people possible satisfied - it doesn't necessarily mean they don't care, but it probably means they don't have the energy or staff or resources to do everything for everyone. (And it could mean they don't care too - but I think most of the time most teachers/principals/etc really do care... just with a different perspective than we have because they are overseeing a large number of kids and we're trying to optimize school for only our kids.

    I think the key thing you need to do is to decide what you want for your dd this year, advocate for it if you need to, then get through to the other side (i.e., find out once and for all - for this year - will you get what she needs from this school?). We had our kids in a magnet school and ultimately switched schools because we were very caught up in a teach-to-the-middle situation even though in theory the school was supposed to be supportive of kids working ahead as well as students who were struggling (which my ds fit into both categories!)... anyway, jmo but I think the culture of a school depends a lot on the leadership, and if you've got a principal who doesn't support working outside of the box and isn't gung-ho about either gifted or special needs kids, you may find the school is never going to be a very good fit.

    What to do now? Personally I wouldn't seek out a WJ-III achievement test simply because it is a series of very short tests that test a wide variety of very specific skills. It doesn't show whether or not a child will really be successful at a higher grade level or whether or not they would benefit from going deeper in any area. OTOH, I wouldn't *worry* about having your dd take the WJ-III - it is not going to find a disability where one doesn't exist, and the scoring is normed against age/grade level peers, so she's not going to be disadvantaged or not "look" gifted simply because she hasn't taken above-grade-level math etc. If she's a high achiever in math in first grade, she'll look like a high achiever on the WJ-III in math (unless of course Everday Math has totally warped her brain... sorry... I just had to say that lol!)....

    If you decide you want to continue to advocate for a grade skip or subject acceleration, you need to gather samples of work and tests that the teachers are familiar with and *trust* - something they know.

    I also wouldn't panic if you can't get her accelerated right now. There are things you *can* do - for instance, you can let her teacher know there are specific times that she finds class slow or boring, and you can either ask the teacher to give her more challenging worksheets or problems or whatever during that time. If the teacher doesn't know what to give her or balks at the idea of having to take time to think something up, you can make suggestions or provide the work. If the teacher says she has x number of students just like dd who could benefit from learning math faster but no time to work with them, if you have time you could offer to volunteer to come in and lead a small group ahead in math once a week during math time. You can also look at it as, this is school - let school be what it is for now, and continue to encourage and support her eager mind outside of school. When/if she has work or a project sent home, have her dig deeper or give a little extra in terms of work so the teacher can see where she's really at.

    Hang in there!

    polarbear

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    #135934 - 08/18/12 02:15 PM Re: Have test results - not what I expected [Re: mountainmom2011]
    Cricket2 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/11/09
    Posts: 2172
    Loc: Colorado
    Originally Posted By: mountainmom2011

    This all said, I don't know how she would score on the WJ-III. It is based on things that are learned academically and if she isn't being/hasn't been instructed at an advanced level I doubt her results would be in the same percentiles as her WISC. And I know in the past comparing ability (IQ) to achievement has been a basis for determining if a learning disability is present. I seriously doubt she has a learning disability so would she be inaccurately diagnosed to have one b/c of a discrepancy?

    Do highly gifted kids still score high on the WJ despite no acceleration unless there is a learning disability?

    No guarantees, of course, but FWIW, my dd13 scored very highly on the WJ-III at age 7 despite no advanced instruction. The writing portion was at grade 18+ and the reading part a bit lower, but pretty close to that. She had had virtually no instruction at all in reading or writing up to that point b/c all they'd taught in school was phonics, reading early reader books as a group, and maybe some very minimal writing instruction, but nothing beyond basic punctuation and spelling.
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    #135936 - 08/18/12 02:24 PM Re: Have test results - not what I expected [Re: Cricket2]
    polarbear Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3363
    Originally Posted By: Cricket2

    No guarantees, of course, but FWIW, my dd13 scored very highly on the WJ-III at age 7 despite no advanced instruction. The writing portion was at grade 18+ and the reading part a bit lower, but pretty close to that. She had had virtually no instruction at all in reading or writing up to that point b/c all they'd taught in school was phonics, reading early reader books as a group, and maybe some very minimal writing instruction, but nothing beyond basic punctuation and spelling.


    I've seen the WJ-III achievement tests that my ds took at age 8, and they really didn't include much more than very basic concepts such as putting together very short sentences or linking a picture to a concept, things like that, things that you would expect a child in the grade level he/she is in to have been exposed to. You could probably find good descriptions of them online if you search for it.

    Another thought - I'd consider talking to someone in the district gifted program to see what's offered outside of your magnet school - you can ask if there are services or acceleration offered in first grade at other schools. It's not an over-the-prinicipals' head type of talk, it's just looking for information so you can make choices for your dd (whether or not you'd ever consider any of the other programs as choices). As part of that conversation, you can ask what testing the district uses to screen for the gifted program.

    polarbear

    ps - I think once you mention your dd's FSIQ to a district gifted services representative you'll find they are very happy to talk to you! I've always found it's much easier to talk to the gifted program staff than to the regular ed teachers and administrators at our kids' schools about gifted issues - they tend to discount what a high IQ is or how infrequently it occurs, whereas the gifted staff is very familiar with seeing all the borderline kids who's parents try to advocate their way into the program. (Oh gosh, I apologize for sounding a bit snarky there - I really don't mean to!)... Anyway, the gifted services folks will know your dd is really bright and understand that she's bored. It doesn't guarantee they'll do anything about any of it or be able to help, but it's at least always nice to talk to someone who understands smile Plus you might also get some info that will help you advocate in future years.


    Edited by polarbear (08/18/12 02:28 PM)

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    #135942 - 08/18/12 03:55 PM Re: Have test results - not what I expected [Re: polarbear]
    mountainmom2011 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/05/12
    Posts: 404
    Originally Posted By: polarbear
    Originally Posted By: mountainmom2011
    Oh, and wanted to add that I think this principal thinks that I'm just destined to be an unsatisfied parent. Between one dd needing more help which I can't get her... and the other dd who needs more advancement; which sounds like they either a.) don't believe me or b.) are unwilling to provide, I'm believing more and more each day that our school (a magnet) doesn't have their students' best interests at heart and teaches to the middle.


    I think the reality is - you aren't satisfied, right? It's ok to let the school know it smile I think to put it in perspective re administrators sometimes it helps to realize you're not the only unsatisfied customer they have. It's not terribly unusual to find that schools tend to teach "to the middle" simply because that's where the great majority of their customers are, so that's where they keep the highest percentage of people possible satisfied - it doesn't necessarily mean they don't care, but it probably means they don't have the energy or staff or resources to do everything for everyone. (And it could mean they don't care too - but I think most of the time most teachers/principals/etc really do care... just with a different perspective than we have because they are overseeing a large number of kids and we're trying to optimize school for only our kids.

    I think the key thing you need to do is to decide what you want for your dd this year, advocate for it if you need to, then get through to the other side (i.e., find out once and for all - for this year - will you get what she needs from this school?). We had our kids in a magnet school and ultimately switched schools because we were very caught up in a teach-to-the-middle situation even though in theory the school was supposed to be supportive of kids working ahead as well as students who were struggling (which my ds fit into both categories!)... anyway, jmo but I think the culture of a school depends a lot on the leadership, and if you've got a principal who doesn't support working outside of the box and isn't gung-ho about either gifted or special needs kids, you may find the school is never going to be a very good fit.


    You're right. Maybe next year things will improve in the G&T class and it won't matter. I have heard some good things about it from parents who have kids in it. But I have also heard it is no different than the regular classes. Only time will tell...

    Originally Posted By: polarbear
    If she's a high achiever in math in first grade, she'll look like a high achiever on the WJ-III in math (unless of course Everday Math has totally warped her brain... sorry... I just had to say that lol!)....


    Oh great, I already hate Everyday Math with a passion, it is only making things worse for older dd and I fear it's going to cause major problems for her as she gets further along in school. It's no surprise that nearly all the other schools in the district use a different program or are in the process of dropping EM. Our principal seems to think it's great and that their state test scores improved on it. DD#2 is just now starting EM in 1st grade this year so she has yet to be exposed to it and I was hoping it wouldn't cause issues with her as it does for dd (due to her dyslexia). Please tell me it hasn't been too bad for you with your gifted children ***fingers crossed***. Although, in the G&T class they use EM and Sunshine Math.


    Originally Posted By: polarbear
    I also wouldn't panic if you can't get her accelerated right now. There are things you *can* do - for instance, you can let her teacher know there are specific times that she finds class slow or boring, and you can either ask the teacher to give her more challenging worksheets or problems or whatever during that time. If the teacher doesn't know what to give her or balks at the idea of having to take time to think something up, you can make suggestions or provide the work. If the teacher says she has x number of students just like dd who could benefit from learning math faster but no time to work with them, if you have time you could offer to volunteer to come in and lead a small group ahead in math once a week during math time. You can also look at it as, this is school - let school be what it is for now, and continue to encourage and support her eager mind outside of school. When/if she has work or a project sent home, have her dig deeper or give a little extra in terms of work so the teacher can see where she's really at.


    Lots of good advice, thank you! I am signed up for volunteering and went in for the first time this past Wednesday to help with math. I'll be coming in every Wednesday. It was painful though to see dd spacing out at circle time while the teacher taught them how to use a number line. At the conference we had with the teacher she did mention how last year she had a parent take the advanced students to the hall to work with them (in addition to using Sunshine Math). So I'm guessing/hoping it will get better and that the beginning of the year is just super slow. I really do like her teacher, she is very extroverted, unlike dd and myself, so I think she will be good for both of us.

    I think I will hold off a bit before contacting the district gifted coordinator. Maybe things will move along in a month or so, and if not I guess I will continue working with the teacher and see where that gets me. Regardless, we will stick around for at least next year to try out the G&T program and see if that works for us. I do know that in other schools they do accelerate students into higher grades for things like math (I substitute) so I know it is possible outside of our magnet school. There are some positives to our school that I find important, it's an expeditionary outbound school and older dd actually likes school since switching to it.


    Edited by mountainmom2011 (08/18/12 04:03 PM)

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    #135966 - 08/19/12 10:17 AM Re: Have test results - not what I expected [Re: mountainmom2011]
    st pauli girl Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/29/08
    Posts: 1917
    If you are committed to staying at the school, there's probably not a big reason to get the WJ testing done, unless it's a test the school staff is familiar with. In my son's case the school wanted to do achievement testing after seeing his SB results, and it turned out the WJ was one the school used. I would double-check with the GT program about what achievement tests they use. If you really want this info, then you may as well use a test that will mean something to the school.

    Re: your question about how well your DD might do on the WJ, I agree that it shouldn't matter if she hasn't had any prep. If she's doing well in her grade, that will be reflected. It's not the most comprehensive test, as others have mentioned, asking a few questions per grade level, IIRC.

    I also do think there's value in finding out more about the GT program if you've heard it's no different from the regular classroom. Not every GT program works for every kid. If there are options nearby, or in nearby districts if open enrollment is an option, you will want to do your research before the open enrollment period ends (some districts around close their open enrollment in February). I know this isn't an ideal situation, but I know several parents who send their kids to different schools in different districts to get a better fit for each. Not always a choice, but I'm just throwing that out there.

    ETA: please note I'm just stating the above based on personal experience, and I know that everyone makes decisions based on what works for your family. I throw my experiences out there mostly because when we went out of district to an accelerated program, we found a much better fit and I havent had school stress since then, beyond wondering what we'll do in 2 years when this program ends. I spent soooo much time working to get a better fit in our local school, and it just never worked out for us.

    You also said that you thought your DD would do better with 2nd grade math because she'd do better at a faster pace. Hate to be such a pessimist, but going up a grade in a nonaccelerated program, you may find that things are better at first, but really the pace issue will remain. But sometimes it works out, especially I'd you can get your kiddo grouped with other accelerated learners in the next grade up.


    Edited by st pauli girl (08/19/12 11:28 AM)

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    #136243 - 08/24/12 07:04 AM Re: Have test results - not what I expected [Re: st pauli girl]
    mountainmom2011 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/05/12
    Posts: 404
    @Pauli

    The info I'm hearing about the GT program is mixed. It was only 1 parent (who has a kid in a traditional classroom) that said the GT class was no different. So I take it with a grain of salt. Other parents who have kids in it have had nice things to say about it. I do have a friend whose dd is starting it this year and the mom is very vocal about her opinions. So if there is something she doesn't like about it I'll be sure to hear it. So far she has positive feedback.

    The other bit of info I keep hearing from teachers and the principal is that the class is an 'intervention' of sorts. When I asked dd's kindergarten teacher last spring if we should apply for dd and she said that the GT class is for students who need a lot of emotional support. She made it sound as if it's a class for kids who have emotional and social problems....?!?!? The district website says nothing of the sort. But then the principal also called it an intervention. And then I heard from a friend (who doesn't know that I had dd tested and will be applying) who tried to get her dd in but she didn't qualify, who tells me that unless your child is a freak they don't get in. *sigh*. I truly think that none of them are right if I go by the description on the districts website. Not to mention I subbed for a G&T class (at a different school) last year and the kids were delightful... granted some of them were a bit more emotional when they got frustrated but heck, I can relate with dd being like that.

    "You also said that you thought your DD would do better with 2nd grade math because she'd do better at a faster pace. Hate to be such a pessimist, but going up a grade in a nonaccelerated program, you may find that things are better at first, but really the pace issue will remain. But sometimes it works out, especially I'd you can get your kiddo grouped with other accelerated learners in the next grade up."

    - You're right. I hadn't even considered this and perhaps this is why the G&T class is really the only option b/c she will be with kids that learn at the same pace as her.


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    #136245 - 08/24/12 07:27 AM Re: Have test results - not what I expected [Re: mountainmom2011]
    knute974 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/22/09
    Posts: 681
    Loc: controlled chaos
    Originally Posted By: mountainmom2011

    The other bit of info I keep hearing from teachers and the principal is that the class is an 'intervention' of sorts.


    This is "eduspeak." Gifted and talented education is addressed in the Colorado's Response to Intervention Document under Special considerations

    Response to Intervention provides support systems for students with exceptional
    ability or potential. Students who are gifted require special provisions because of their strengths and abovegrade instructional level or potential. In gifted education, strength-based interventions or strength-based programming, are used to describe tiered instruction.
    RTI guide p. 35

    http://www.cde.state.co.us/RtI/downloads/PDF/RtIGuide.pdf

    Originally Posted By: mountainmom2011

    When I asked dd's kindergarten teacher last spring if we should apply for dd and she said that the GT class is for students who need a lot of emotional support. She made it sound as if it's a class for kids who have emotional and social problems....?!?!? The district website says nothing of the sort. But then the principal also called it an intervention. And then I heard from a friend (who doesn't know that I had dd tested and will be applying) who tried to get her dd in but she didn't qualify, who tells me that unless your child is a freak they don't get in. *sigh*. I truly think that none of them are right if I go by the description on the districts website. Not to mention I subbed for a G&T class (at a different school) last year and the kids were delightful... granted some of them were a bit more emotional when they got frustrated but heck, I can relate with dd being like that.


    This tends to be a perception of traditional teachers/families who don't have a lot of exposure to gt classrooms. Yes, our kids do have different social/emotional needs than typical kids. Yes, there are some more intense kids in there. Yes, there are sometimes some kids with other exceptionalities, i.e. one ASD kid with behavioral issues can color people's perception of a whole class. These types of comments really reflects a lack of understanding of gt kids.

    I've got to get the kids to school. Will elaborate later.

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