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    #246669 - 01/23/20 01:03 PM Just writing to think. MAP scores, impatience, etc
    philly103 Offline

    Registered: 03/02/17
    Posts: 74
    We got DS6's mid-year kindergarten MAP scores. 195 math and 185 reading. 99.9 & 99.6% respectively.

    I think the scores are fine but I can't stop feeling like they reflect a lost opportunity. In pre-k, we were much more aggressive about advocacy and had great results. We've chosen to be more hands off this year. However, now I don't feel like he's really added anything since the work we did over the summer.

    I don't know if that's fair to the teachers because they're working on things that we haven't really focused on, like automaticity. And I'm not at all capable of measuring growth in language arts.

    We have a meeting scheduled and they've given us good feedback leading up to this. Yet I can't help but feel like he's not being adequately challenged and somehow still feeling like his teachers are working to do so.

    I know that I'll probably have to wait until the spring testing to see what progress actually occurred (they didn't do the fall testing). Yet there's a sense of impatience and I can't figure out if it's justified or not.

    How do others manage this sense of wanting to push but also wanting to let the process evolve?

    #246674 - 01/24/20 07:37 AM Re: Just writing to think. MAP scores, impatience, etc [Re: philly103]
    indigo Offline

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4203
    Originally Posted By: philly103
    How do others manage this sense of wanting to push but also wanting to let the process evolve?
    Like many of the parents here, over the years you may find that nothing is sufficient...
    - as most gifted programs teach one year ahead. Period.
    - as highly gifted and profoundly gifted kids often have strong internal motivation to learn... driven, compelled, unquenchable thirst for knowledge.

    That said, it may be productive for parents to fill wait-time by documenting and updating their records at home. This might include dates of tests/assessments, if known. Parental documentation might also include when tests/assessments were *not* conducted (such as Fall 2019, mentioned in your post). While awaiting quantitative results from tests and assessments, parents may wish to make notes on qualitative observations. If a time comes when your child needs more academic challenge and/or the company of intellectual peers, you may observe pervasive changes, such as those listed in this brief roundup:

    - not so happy
    for example: change in personality and/or outlook, feeling invalidated, unsupported, unaffirmed, left out, marginalized, ostracized, internalizing a sense of "guilt" for being "privileged" with higher-than-average intelligence, anxious, afraid to make a mistake, bored, hopeless

    - withdrawn from friends
    for example: saying classmates don't "get" child's humor, aren't interested in the same things, child has to hide his/her intelligence and "dumb down" to fit in, etc

    - changes in reading habits
    for example: lack of interest in reading in depth about topics of interest, and/or choosing genres influenced by popular taste of kids his/her chronological age and/or assigned grade level

    - avoiding challenge
    for example: shunning new experiences, procrastinating when faced with learning about topics which s/he may not be too interested in or naturally good at

    - etc, etc (more at these related posts)

    These observations may signal that a change is needed and may be overdue. Having kept documentation at home may then provide accurate records to assist in the advocacy process... and may be more compelling than expressing a "feeling."

    #246676 - 01/24/20 10:46 AM Re: Just writing to think. MAP scores, impatience, etc [Re: philly103]
    Irena Offline

    Registered: 05/26/12
    Posts: 1716
    Are the MAP scores even a decent measure of what you are looking for? I completely disregard tests like the PSSAs and MAP as really telling us anything about the child. I think they are mostly used to monitor and judge the schools, right? In fact I find them so useless I have been opting my kids (both identified as gifted) out of them as they do not seem to have any affect on kids' placements and all my sons' schools do is waste time prepping for these tests and giving them. For example, you do know that the the first of the three MAP tests that are given in a year are "practice" right? They are test preps.

    I just think you may be looking at the wrong 'tool' in trying to make this assessment. Although having said that I am not sure what you should do to figure out if your child is being challenged sufficiently.

    Edited by Irena (01/24/20 11:03 AM)

    #246677 - 01/24/20 11:36 AM Re: Just writing to think. MAP scores, impatience, etc [Re: philly103]
    aeh Offline

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3557
    The big picture perspective on instruments like MAP, as I've mentioned here before, is that they are tools for identifying and progress monitoring at-risk students. (That is, sorting students into intervention/non-intervention categories.) For everyone else (on- and above- grade level), they're just another little piece of data to combine with the rest of the portfolio. Fine as far as it goes.

    You can use them as part of a more holistic advocacy effort, but probably not as a stand-alone, as you wouldn't have enough information to make a truly thoughtful instructional plan.

    #246682 - 01/24/20 06:40 PM Re: Just writing to think. MAP scores, impatience, etc [Re: Irena]
    philly103 Offline

    Registered: 03/02/17
    Posts: 74
    I'm looking at them as an measure of what he's being taught in the classroom. My understanding of the instrument itself is that the scores are tied to material covered relative to educational standards.

    So, a math score of 190 should reflect a general skill level across multiple mathematical skills - operations, number sense, algebraic thinking, etc. If the student is being introduced to new material and improves in old material, their score should increase (vven if their percentile doesn't change). If they're not being introduced to new material then their scores should stay relatively constant. Whatever the new score, it will reflect general skills again.

    I don't think that's a reflection of if the child is being adequately challenged but more of a reflection of if they're being exposed to new material.

    I don't know what to say about your how your sons' schools use them or even how other schools use them, I've read a variety of different things. Some talent searches look at them, some gifted programs do as well. I've read a decent number of threads on here about it as well. I agree that they're not a panacea but I wouldn't put them in the category of worthless either.

    #246683 - 01/24/20 06:51 PM Re: Just writing to think. MAP scores, impatience, etc [Re: aeh]
    philly103 Offline

    Registered: 03/02/17
    Posts: 74
    Aeh, I've previously read your position about the limited value for these types of instruments. I accept that they're just a data point, not the whole set. I'm careful not to assign value to them beyond a moment in time piece of information. Moreover, since this is our first exposure to them, it's even less useful because these things seem predicated on measurements over time, making solitary instances far less useful.

    But I'm not a teacher and so I have to accept that there's a limitation on how much applicable information I bring to the subject. I try to find value in what's available as I educate myself for more.

    Anyway, I'm not disagreeing with you or with Irena on these things. Although, I might be less dismissive of them overall than I sense that you are.

    #246684 - 01/25/20 07:30 AM Re: Just writing to think. MAP scores, impatience, etc [Re: philly103]
    aeh Offline

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3557
    So it's not exactly that I'm dismissive of the MAP scores, but that I have a different sense of their limitations. Here's some anchoring data to work with: the following document details all of the skills that may possibly show up on a MAP K-2 assessment:

    Note that the highest mathematical skills that can be assessed are things like multiplication by a 1- or 2-digit number, division out of 100 or less, fractions to the 1/8.

    The reading assessment is similarly limited to skills like CVC-e, R-controlled vowels, and consonant-le.

    In other words, the ceiling on the MAP K-2/3 is pretty low. Your DC's scores are at the median for 3rd grade--which is above the design of this level of MAP, and well in the low reliability/high error upper extreme of the test, which means you won't be able to measure progress anyway. But it isn't really reasonable for a school to skip right over the universal screening instrument on the very first formal school experience of a student (fall of kindergarten, after all), in order to give them an out-of-level test, as they then don't have any data-based support for the decision to do out-of-level testing (even if this were in any way a routine occurrence--which it's not).

    So, yes, in some ways, of course it's a lost opportunity, but at the same time, there isn't any really good information that can come from a MAP test score at the ceiling of the overall K-2 instrument that you couldn't have gotten otherwise by observing that the student can read fluently and do division--both known third grade skills. Any primary grade teacher could tell you that without standardized testing.

    On a more practical note, I would consider a conversation with your DC's teacher about whether the school experience so far has been a happy and growing one in non-academic domains, and to explore instructional challenges that might arise out of a more direct curriculum-based approach to progress monitoring. E.g., a better measure of placement and growth would probably have to start from placement testing (there might be an actual test, or the teacher could use end-of-unit/chapter tests) using the actual math/reading curriculum used up through the elementary grades.

    The current MAP scores tell you only that he is way above grade level. Curriculum-based assessment would have a better chance of telling you where his instructional level in this school system should be, and whether he is progressing at his instructional level. (If you can convince them to do so, he could also be moved to the elementary level of the MAP, probably next fall, recognizing, though, that the format is less developmentally-appropriate.)

    And in the bigger picture, if he's happy and learning other kinds of new things this year, there will still be plenty of opportunities for him to pick up the pace academically in the future.

    #246685 - 01/25/20 08:24 AM Re: Just writing to think. MAP scores, impatience, etc [Re: aeh]
    Kai Offline

    Registered: 05/17/09
    Posts: 592
    Originally Posted By: aeh
    And in the bigger picture, if he's happy and learning other kinds of new things this year, there will still be plenty of opportunities for him to pick up the pace academically in the future.

    Agreeing with this.

    A kid at the 99-point-whatever percentile is unlikely to be getting much in the way of academic input in a regular classroom, and if there has been any, the MAP may or may not show it (and be prepared for his score to actually go *down* in the spring even if he has learned something). But, as aeh points out, there is far more to the school experience than academic gains.

    I think it's important for parents with gifted kids to really consider their own beliefs about the purpose of school. Why send your kid to school? What are you hoping that they'll gain there? Kids get a whole lot out of school that has nothing (or very little) to do with academics.

    Some non-academic reasons to send your kid to school:

    --Child care (this is a huge purpose of school that essentially no one acknowledges)

    --To be a part of a community

    --To develop friendships

    --To internalize social norms related to school

    --To have experiences with groups of children and adults other than primary caregivers

    --To be exposed to diverse cultures/ways of living

    A wise person once told me that when it comes to HG+ kids, a truly appropriate academic placement is going to be hit and miss (and highly teacher dependent), so her goal was appropriate social placement. At the time I thought she was just being touchy feely, but I see now that she was right. Assuming that you have determined that sending the child to school is the right choice for your family, place them where they will thrive socially and then work on delivering appropriate academic experiences (either inside or, more likely, outside the classroom). Yes, school should be a place where all kids can get an academic education that is appropriate to their needs, but realistically, for the outliers on the right hand side of the distribution, it is unlikely.


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