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    #246616 - 01/16/20 11:19 PM Worried about accelerated classmate not doing well
    Tigerle Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/14
    Posts: 601
    Loc: Europe
    Please don’t come down hard on me. I KNOW it’s not my monkeys, not my circus, but I need to get this out of my system somewhere so that in real life, I can keep repeating that mantra. (And I do have a bit of a legitimate interest, I promise).

    Context:
    Unlike his older siblings, DS7 is not accelerated, in fact his early October birthday makes him the oldest in the grade. We did explore early entry for him but he panicked at the very low key assessments (have a chat with the principal, have a trial day in the classroom) and decided for himself he wasn’t ready for school.

    Even though we felt he would have been ready intellectually, we figured we had to trust him to know what he could and couldn’t handle, because unlike unlike his older siblings, he was born with a birth defect which results in major physical disabilities (for which surgery was coming up, so getting that done was a factor as well) and some brain damage. The brain damage so far has manifested in a massive speech delay in his early years (appears to have been fully caught up since) and IQ scores two deviations below his older brother - which are still high enough he could enter into the same gifted program his brother is in, so anyone else but you all would laugh me out of the room for saying this is evidence of brain damage! However, hopefully, YOU get why I still HOVER? And monitor his academics in ways I never ever did with his older siblings?

    Luckily things seem to be going very well so far. He has an aide for the physical stuff, and a nursing service comes in twice daily for a medical procedure, but he does the academic stuff on his own and does it well. They don’t get grades yet, but have continuous assessment, and the kids aren’t stupid - they know that 20 out of 20 on that math sheet is an A.

    So, enter little A who was entered early with, I think, a May birthday. She’s so little her mum needs to carry her backpack into the classroom, so when the teacher noted as an aside that she had seated her next to DS7 “because she often needs help, too” to have the aide support them both I figured she was talking about being little. Organising her desk or tying her shoes, whatever. Now DS7 has begun mentioning, as kids do, who else does well and who doesn’t, and to my surprise, little A “never does well”. The other day, he mentioned getting 60 on a reading comprehension assessment, out of 100. I immediately went into worry overdrive and asked whether that was sort of good, or sort of medium, and did he get things wrong or run out of time, and he said probably medium, and he’d run out of time, but no one had gotten more than 60 on those ever, and it was still 10 times more than A got. Huh, 6? Told you mom, she never does well in anything.

    Yeah, I don’t love the situation, and I don’t like that DS7’s aide may be somehow caught up in it. I’m not worried at all that he may be missing out, clearly he is doing fine, or begrudging little A the extra support, because I feel an interest in having all accelerated little gifties do well and be happy, I was one of them myself and am raising two more, and little A’s parents have been super helpful when DS7 has needed support with integration in the classroom. If the situation were working for everyone, it’d be a total win win as far as I am concerned. But it appears it is not working at all for her and that there may be fallout at some point.

    Also, so help me god, I am having thoughts about whether little A should have been accelerated in the first place. Her dad told me that they’d insisted because they felt they’d “missed the boat” with accelerating her older brother and that they were unhappy with her preschool and wanted her out. But why didn’t older brother just move up into third grade from the 1st/2nd split grade classroom he was in, together with DD9 and one other girl, I asked, dumbfounded (never having heard his acceleration was even on the table, even though I had a number of talks with the teacher about how much I was wishing for DD9 not to be the only one, and there was never more than “possibly one other girl student” in play). Because his handwriting was a disaster, apparently. So was DD9s, I said, she worked her a** off all summer. Which is when the dad changed the subject. Aargh. How can I help thinking something is wrong here?

    Tl;dr: It appears that very young accelerated giftie is floundering, and that the teacher is trying to use DS7’s aide to rescue the situation, and I can’t help having thoughts about it and worrying, but also have no idea whether there is anything to be thought or done but “not my business”.

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    #246618 - 01/17/20 05:31 AM Re: Worried about accelerated classmate not doing well [Re: Tigerle]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4202
    Was the Iowa Acceleration Scale used in the decision-making process...?
    Having that tool as part of a school's process/procedure may tend to avoid unsuccessful grade accelerations.

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    #246619 - 01/17/20 05:37 AM Re: Worried about accelerated classmate not doing well [Re: Tigerle]
    spaghetti Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/05/15
    Posts: 437
    That reminds me of the student who was accelerated the year after mine was. He frequently got lost and was found wandering within the school building and even outside. He was always "found". He didn't have an aid. I'm glad this little one does.

    If the student is doing poorly, I imagine they'll make some changes. And if she's doing well and improving and thriving emotionally, I think they'll keep going. I've found that it "just takes time". And if she doesn't ultimately do well, it will stick in this teacher's brain that acceleration doesn't work, is harmful etc. I see the risk more to the adult observers who may internalize generalizations about gifted, than to the child.

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    #246623 - 01/17/20 11:29 AM Re: Worried about accelerated classmate not doing well [Re: Tigerle]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3556
    Aw. I'm sorry your DC's little classmate appears to be struggling. I agree; it really complicates matters when this specific acceleration appears to have been in response to the needs of a different person. Mostly for the student in question, but also, as spaghetti notes, for anyone else down the road who might be considered for acceleration.

    This doesn't mean it was necessarily inappropriate in terms of absolute cognitive or academic level, but it may be that it is currently out of reach for the little friend in terms of "doing school" ancillary skills, since it sounds like the student went straight from a (likely) play-based preschool into a traditional academic first grade. That's a big jump for a child who doesn't have the strength and/or motor skills to manage a backpack. (Note: we did exactly the same transition with one of ours, who was just a couple of months older than this one at the time. But that's the kid in our house who's had the best fine motor and social skills of all of ours at every stage of development.)

    I know you're not asking for advice, just venting...but FWIW, it seems to me possible that those soft skills will catch up into the functional range over the next year or two, just with natural development and practice, and that as long as the school is willing to scaffold for them in the interim, the long-term outcomes have a decent chance of being positive. And if this year doesn't look like it's on that trajectory, then maybe the school looks into placement into that 1/2 split next year, with the option of turning that into a grade 1 retention year if need be, or of putting it on the books as grade 2, if the necessary skills click into place sometime during the year.

    This is, of course, assuming that acceleration was actually academically appropriate, and that it's just soft skills and asynchronies that are getting in the way right now. It is still possible that it really wasn't appropriate to begin with.

    On another note, I am happy to hear how well your "baby" is doing!

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    #246625 - 01/17/20 02:34 PM Re: Worried about accelerated classmate not doing well [Re: Tigerle]
    Tigerle Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/14
    Posts: 601
    Loc: Europe
    Aww thanks @aeh, we are so proud and so grateful. I truly give thanks every day for every person in his life who is helping him succeed and be happy!

    Little A’s mom had a part to play in this as well. I don’t forget these things. It would be easy if I could just look down on her as that over invested hothousing mom and on her child as “the child that shouldn’t be there”,

    DS7 is there and little A is there and they’re both kids that someone else could assert “shouldn’t be there” but they are and they should be both successful and happy.

    No Iowa acceleration scale, @indigo, since we are not in the US (I thought you’d remember, LOL), but with a birthday so late in the year a formal evaluation would have been mandatory where we live, too. However, a friend who’s a neurologist and psychiatrist and has entered a child with a May birthday herself tells me that she thought that the evaluation was a joke, the school psychologist clearly out of their depth and that an assertive parent (who, in little A”s case, happens to be an educational psychologist herself!) might easily sway the results. The system, as a rule, is so suspicious of acceleration, that it is usually much more likely to err on the side of no acceleration even though it would be appropriate. I do hate that the situation plays into the negative stereotypes people have about it.

    @spaghetti, to clarify (yeah I know I wrote a novel, sorry) this little giftie doesn’t have an aide, my own DS7 does, as she’s (as far as I know) perfectly healthy and neurotypical. She’s just young. The teacher appears to think she rather needs one, though, so sort of borrows DS7’s aide for her.

    I don’t really think it is a sustainable situation, but you all are right in pointing out that she may just need a little more time. Hopefully things click for her in the second semester. There will not be a split classroom available, so it’s success or retention, I’m afraid.

    We had a slightly similar situation with DD9 entering middle school (fifth grade this fall. She struggled (still struggles, really) with executive function issues and I had to go meet a few teachers and explain that she was actually up to two years younger than her classmates and while she did her best and we tried to support her as best we could, it was our experience that some things are really a maturity issues and can’t be accelerated. But in her case, nobody had any doubt that intellectually and academically, she was right where she should be, because of how she blows tests and assignments out of the water.

    I”ve got so much anecdata by now, with accelerated family, friends, kids of friends and friends of kids....there is so much social, emotional and executive function baggage, the academic bit’s just got to work.



    Edited by Tigerle (01/17/20 02:40 PM)

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    #246626 - 01/17/20 04:20 PM Re: Worried about accelerated classmate not doing well [Re: Tigerle]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4202
    Originally Posted By: Tigerle
    No Iowa acceleration scale, @indigo, since we are not in the US (I thought you’d remember, LOL)
    Yes, Tigerle, I recall that you are not in the US... however that does not preclude use of the IAS.
    What causes you to believe that the IAS tool could not be used outside of the US?

    Originally Posted By: Tigerle
    ...the situation plays into the negative stereotypes people have about it.
    Sharing facts and research findings on acceleration, such as the information available through the Acceleration Institute, may help to counteract myths.

    Just to clarify... did I understand you to say that a parent of the child you are concerned about is an educational psychologist?

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    #246629 - 01/18/20 01:37 AM Re: Worried about accelerated classmate not doing well [Re: Tigerle]
    Tigerle Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/14
    Posts: 601
    Loc: Europe
    According to the giftedunlimited website, the IAS has been used in Canada and Australia, probably the two systems closest to the US. I don’t think it has ever been translated or adapted to other systems. I wish it had! It does seem to work much better at taking personal bias out of the decision making (which is the problem I find all systems and culture have in common) than the haphazard process I have seen for my kids. I do recall the school psychologist being totally useless for one of my own, and not even having been consulted for the other,

    Valid question about the mom in that context. I now had to google exactly where it was that she worked. She is a psychologist and has worked until recently at a research center for “neuroscience and learning”, which does research projects and offers lectures and workshops for educators. Not sure how much she has been working with actual children, she may have been very much in on the theoretical side of things. And of course when it’s your own kid we all find it hard to be objective, LOL. But it’s one of those aspects that makes this so odd.

    I do have to say that we have known the parents for decades (in a “friends of friends of friends” sort of way, and DH went to school with the dad) and they have always been EXTREMELY confident in their own abilities and opinions. As I have mentioned, extremely active and helpful in the community, but also very eccentric. Marching to the beat of their own drummer but being extremely confident about that drummer.

    At the beginning of the year, they organised a family “get to know” party for the whole class, with food and drink and games stations the kids were supposed to move between in teams. It was great for DS7, he loved the party and the games and all the kids and families could see how easily and happily he plays and mingles (even for the impromptu soccer game!) as long as there are no physical obstacles involved. Little As mom, however, was devastated, confiding in me that she had organised the party solely to help her integrate and lose her fears, but she refused to join a team with the other kids and mostly clung to the mom. I comforted her, saying it was a great party with a wonderful atmosphere and that she was having fun being surrounded by classmates anyway, which I was sure was helping her social integration and comfort level along regardless.

    Now I am thinking (still assuming that the gifted bit as such has been correctly assessed) that they may have intended to force her academic development by early entry rather than following her lead. Almost like an experiment a research psychologist who hasn’t had much clinical experience with children but likes to swim against the current may have come up with. And the school may have been guilted into going along with it, on account of “missing the boat” with her older brother. Told you I cannot help having all these inappropriate judgmental thoughts about the situation! But I wouldn’t even know that she was struggling academically, assuming she was happily chugging along and simply struggling with being little, if the teacher hadn’t sat her next to DS7 so that she could employ DS7’s aide to support her.

    I do believe that an accelerated giftie deserves to still be at the top of the class, it just shouldn’t be effortless!

    I am rooting for her, really I am. Maybe if reading clicks for her by second semester of first grade, the rest will fall into place with time.



    Edited by Tigerle (01/18/20 01:39 AM)

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    #246630 - 01/18/20 05:06 AM Re: Worried about accelerated classmate not doing well [Re: Tigerle]
    spaghetti Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/05/15
    Posts: 437
    Did I read that right? She's accelerated into first grade and does NOT read yet? I'd be worried. In the US, many kids go into K already reading. Our district wants kids to write all capital letters, read 25 sight words before K. It's on the K readiness list.
    But many go in reading at first grade level and do fine not accelerated. (but many go in not reading also). Unfortunately, tying shoes is not on the list and no longer taught in K so the PE teachers and recess monitors have long lines of kids lined up to get tied.

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    #246632 - 01/19/20 01:42 AM Re: Worried about accelerated classmate not doing well [Re: Tigerle]
    Tigerle Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/14
    Posts: 601
    Loc: Europe
    Nope, not reading, according to what I am gleaning from DS7s remarks (trying hard not to pry, at least not so he’d notice!).

    There is a cultural difference here though: kids aren’t expected to read before first grade/age six and teaching it earlier is frowned upon. Kindergarten is a pull out program in play based preschool and strictly about pre literacy and numeracy up to 10 only. Mine did a very structured and intense phonics awareness program but were only taught the letters of their names in order to sign their artwork. Kids who enter first grade as fluent readers are pretty reliably gifties who have figured it out on their own. Mine were both around 5.5 and that was actually early enough to lead to raised eyebrows and interrogations as to what we had done. That’s when regular US kindergartners are expected to learn!
    Some parents report that their gifted kids just weren’t interested, knew their letters but preferred their Legos or whatever, but picked it up at once as soon as they were made to focus on it in first grade.

    So, I hadn’t hesitated to explore early entry for my October born emerging reader because I felt confident that he’d pick it up just as well as the September born kids with birthdays before the cutoff, and early entry was decided against for other reasons. But I understand now that the younger the accelerated kid is in relation to their classmates, the more proof you’d want that they are truly academically precocious, to gain some predictability for their academic trajectory.

    Regardless of where everyone else is at on entering first grade, I don’t think I’d have entered a May born 5 year old unless she was a reader already (as mine both would have been). She was probably expected to pick it up fast as soon as she was taught but now is struggling alongside her average and below average 6 and 7 year old classmates. Nor would I have agreed to accelerate my August born first grade DD9 into second if the 1st/2nd split grade teacher hadn’t been able to tell me that she was doing the second graders work and doing it better than them. DD9 is struggling hard with organising herself in fifth grade middle school now. Lots of mislaid books, homework and tests, but her grades are fine.

    There are a least two kids in DS13s gifted program that were accelerated into middle school, skipping the transitional 4th grade (something the use of the IAS would have prevented, I think). In both cases, the moms have told me that a strong reason to do it was that the elementary school or elementary teacher was horrible and they wanted them out. Both struggled in 5th grade with writing and Foreign languages in particular. But the October born kid who is tall, confident and very well adjusted socially (it’s quite an eye opener when on sees all these little characters thrown together in one gifted classroom) has caught up and the May born kid who is short, still childish in 8th grade and socially struggling, is fighting retention every year. DS13 thinks he won’t make it into 9th.

    I think the IAS makes everyone look at the “package”, as it were, and will prevent an acceleration that would make the kid struggle too hard.



    Edited by Tigerle (01/19/20 01:50 AM)

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    #246633 - 01/19/20 06:18 AM Re: Worried about accelerated classmate not doing well [Re: Tigerle]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4202
    Originally Posted By: Tigerle
    ... accelerated into middle school, skipping the transitional 4th grade (something the use of the IAS would have prevented, I think).
    What informed your view, in making this assertion? In other words, do you have a source which led you to this conclusion?

    The Iowa Acceleration Scale (IAS) has been discussed frequently on the forums and elsewhere. Here are just a few links which may be of interest to anyone considering partial, full, or radical acceleration:
    1) roundup on Iowa Acceleration Scale (IAS) (link to IAS description on Hoagies' Gifted Education Page)
    2) IAS - Acceleration Institute
    3) IAS - Gifted Unlimited, LLC, formerly Great Potential Press (GPP)
    4) post discussing tests for Ability, Aptitude, Achievement
    5) post discussing aeh test insights
    6) post discussing single subject acceleration (SSA), IQ cutoff
    7) post discussing whether IAS forms are needed
    8) post discussing older sibling in receiving grade
    9) link to overview and high-level description of IAS
    10) obtaining a copy of the IAS (library, purchase new, purchase used)

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