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    #249371 - 11/16/21 08:29 PM False positives in giftedness identification
    timeout Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 11/13/21
    Posts: 8
    Hi everyone,

    Long story short - how reliable are these WISC type tests in isolating aptitude vs achievement? One of our kids (age 8) did extraordinarily well but I really suspect that it's more due to achievements than aptitude because I've been around a lot of high aptitude people (finished college at 13 types) and I just don't see it for my kid.

    The relevance of this is that we're trying to figure out whether to enroll her in a gifted program that's using these tests as an entry point or not. If she's joining a bunch of future Math Olympians then maybe not the best idea. On the other hand, if it's just a bunch of high achievers, that might be a better fit for us.

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    #249396 - 12/03/21 07:20 PM Re: False positives in giftedness identification [Re: timeout]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4729
    Welcome, timeout!
    smile

    Intellectual gifts may vary considerably from one person to the next, even among those with the same IQ score. Tests will often show areas of strength and relative weakness, which may help parents and teachers manage their expectations while providing appropriate affirmation, validation, intellectual challenge, and support to the pupil.

    A school's identification criteria are often NOT about identifying those gifted individuals having unique educational needs driven by off-the-charts intellect, but rather about identifying pupils to fill available seats in a particular school's gifted program.

    In this type of arrangement, identification criteria will generally correspond with program offerings so that pupils identified will be a good "fit" for the program.

    What does your school's gifted program offer?

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    #249398 - 12/04/21 01:41 AM Re: False positives in giftedness identification [Re: timeout]
    Eagle Mum Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/24/20
    Posts: 125
    Loc: Australia
    Aptitude may not always be clearly evident because of the individualís interest, effort (or lack of these elements) and self perceptions. My three kids are gifted and their personalities, achievements and journeys have been and still are very different from each otherís.

    As a parent, the best way Iíve found to provide support is to help create opportunities, enable & encourage them to take these opportunities and then let them work out where their interests lie, so they can decide on which of their latent gifts they want to develop, to achieve their goals.

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    #249399 - 12/04/21 02:34 AM Re: False positives in giftedness identification [Re: timeout]
    Eagle Mum Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/24/20
    Posts: 125
    Loc: Australia
    Originally Posted By: timeout

    I've been around a lot of high aptitude people (finished college at 13 types) and I just don't see it for my kid.

    It is an interesting observation that some people who have galloped through school & college havenít, in later life, achieved as much as their early progress and trajectory had predicted. I wonder if a passive learning approach expedited their course through the curricula during their formative years, whereas someone who makes seemingly slower progress may in fact be laying down stronger foundational skills to better serve their own active enquiring mind.

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    #249402 - 12/04/21 09:39 AM Re: False positives in giftedness identification [Re: timeout]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3918
    I would point back to indigo's comment regarding fit first. Schools advertise as something, as a kind of short-hand (and marketing tool) for the student that is most appropriate for their specific programming. Find out first whether the programming is suitable to your child, rather than the labels.

    On the reliability/validity of measures like the WISC--first a disclosure: I administer and interpret these professionally, so naturally I think what I do is worth doing! As to the instrument--like all psychometric tools, it is imperfect. While the thought is to access underlying reasoning and learning abilities, this access currently must pass through some learned skills, which are affected by environmental and opportunity differences. When tests are normed, developers attempt to minimize these effects by standardizing with a sample representative of the general population, so that environmental factors are captured in the norms as much as possible. (Even children raised in Canada use Canadian norms, and not USA norms, despite the many cultural and linguistic similarities.)

    This is one of the reasons tests need clinical interpretation by trained professionals. It's not a number with the precision of, say, a blood test (and even then, there are error bars), but it is the best we have at this time. Someone who understands the kinds of factors that can bend scores up or (more often) down can provide more nuance and context to what IQ scores mean.

    [On a side note, certain aspects of the test are more sensitive to learned/environmental factors, mainly the VCI. The VSI and FRI tasks are designed to be novel, so they tend to be less impacted by education, but more by retest/practice effects, especially on the VSI (that would only come up if she had been retested with the same instrument within 24 months, or if someone exposed her to test items prior to the formal evaluation--aka, cheating). Similarly the WMI, but with retest effects probably much shorter term.]

    Which is to say, it's pretty good, but not perfect.

    But to the question I hear behind this question of test validity: it is highly likely that your child is really as bright as the evaluation indicates. Remember that your DC is very young, and it is unreasonable to compare what they "look like" as an HG+ learner to what highly-accomplished college-educated adults look like. (I have an unusually high number of early college grads in my community, as well, some of whom I have known since they were no more than your DC's age.) And your DC is an individual, on the path to developing (extremely strong) individual gifts in individual ways.

    Which returns us to the original takeaway: if this program aligns with who your child is (and she is the same child now as before the number was obtained), then it should be a consideration. Otherwise, not, despite the qualifying number.
    _________________________
    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...

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    #249404 - 12/05/21 05:29 AM Re: False positives in giftedness identification [Re: timeout]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1682
    I agree that "gifted" is not one size fits all. There are various shades even at very high IQs. Some will have PG math skills but moderate verbal skills, some will be at a decently high level across the board, some will be verbally extraordinary. Building an encyclopedia in their brains of various facts. Allowing your child to be in the milieu of other gifted children will allow them to find their own interests, hopefully enhance their passions, and strive to do well in an environment that would challenge them more. Worst mistake, and I made this over and over again, is to have some expectations of what giftedness should look like in my child. Let them show you what giftedness they have and then help them have the options to explore those further.

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    #249407 - 12/05/21 03:31 PM Re: False positives in giftedness identification [Re: timeout]
    philly103 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/02/17
    Posts: 92
    I agree with the other posters that say to see what type of gifted the school has and then decide if it's the right fit for your child.

    I want to co-sign something that Wren said about expectations. One of the mistakes that I repeatedly make is exactly that - presuming what my gifted child should be into because he's gifted and capable in all of the traditional academic subjects.

    I read a response to this in a really good book about gifted parenting, Bright by Dr. Alan Thompson. It goes like this: If you woke up in your child's body, what is it you would most want to accomplish? Then, as the parent, what are you doing to make that happen more quickly? Quickly being the operative word.

    For my wife and I, we realized that we were promoting interests that matched our idea of what a gifted kid should be into and not giving enough attention to the things that our kid actually wanted to spend more time doing.

    To tie this back to the original post, I guess I'd ask if the prospective school brings your daughter closer to what she wants out of school?

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    #249410 - 12/05/21 07:50 PM Re: False positives in giftedness identification [Re: timeout]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1693
    Loc: Australia
    In addition to everyone else's very useful comments: Finishing college at 13, representing your country in Math Olympiad are not typical feats of gifted children. They are typical feats of profoundly gifted children, usually with great interest in the thing they've succeeded at, and great support.

    Very few schools genuinely cater to these kids. Most gifted schools or programs cater to much more frequently occurring gifted children. Your 1:50 or 1:100 kids, maybe your 1:1000 kids. Not your 1:10-50,000 kids. Those kids need super personalized pathways (and often don't get them, often to their detriment).

    I have a friend who went to school with Terrance Tao, as he made his very unique path through education. She felt her child was not that gifted: "no Terrance Tao." To which a group of us would say : "Your yardstick is broken".

    Your child does not need to be on track to graduate college at 13 in order to be better off in a gifted program at school, or a specialist gifted school. Whether that school fits your child, only you can know (and possibly not until they've been there a while).

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    #249411 - 12/06/21 08:09 AM Re: False positives in giftedness identification [Re: timeout]
    timeout Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 11/13/21
    Posts: 8
    I've learned a lot from this thread - truly appreciate it.

    Let me attempt to connect the dots here as well as provide more context for the basis of my original inquiry.

    When/where I grew up in the 80s-90s - the word gifted, at least according to my memory, was not in the common vernacular. Instead, we would sometimes use the word genius, e.g., to describe students at the math Olympia level.

    Fast forward today, I think this thread has revealed that I have been miscalibrated on the definition of giftedness in at least two ways. First, it encompasses a far wider range of observable aptitudes than the traditional academic areas that I am accustomed to. Second, regardless of the dimension of aptitude, the range is also wider than I had previously thought.


    At the end of the day, this goes back to our school choice. The magnet school program advertises as catering to "extraordinarily gifted children" and has a requirement that students test at least +3SD on the WISC or its equivalents. They make a big deal about how special the kids are, which may have colored my perception. In retrospect, I don't think 3SD should be deemed extraordinary (but I've also accepted that this language can be viewed through the lens of puffery).

    Since posing this question, I have asked some parents of the program about their kids and it's in concordance with the views expressed in the thread: no observably obvious Terrence Tao-types (not a big shocker ex-post). We're still trying to figure out whether the school is a good fit so I don't have much to add at this point.

    Finally, in terms of our child, the WISC revealed very balanced scores across the 5 categories (on a relative basis, VC, VS, and FR were the strongest, and WM was the weakest). Our day-to-day observations are that she is 1) excellent but not "extraordinary" at a variety of academic subjects 2) very advanced in terms of social-emotional development/control than her peers (observed by us and the teacher; she is most comfortable talking to adults). The one "talent/passion" that we've observed and cultivated is music - she is extremely advanced in piano and violin and has also started the cello, the latter of her own volition.


    That's probably more information than anyone cares, but I just wanted to help the posters understand the basis for my question.





    Edited by timeout (12/06/21 10:47 AM)

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    #249418 - 12/07/21 03:00 PM Re: False positives in giftedness identification [Re: timeout]
    Eagle Mum Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/24/20
    Posts: 125
    Loc: Australia
    Originally Posted By: timeout


    At the end of the day, this goes back to our school choice. The magnet school program advertises as catering to "extraordinarily gifted children" and has a requirement that students test at least +3SD on the WISC or its equivalents. They make a big deal about how special the kids are, which may have colored my perception. In retrospect, I don't think 3SD should be deemed extraordinary (but I've also accepted that this language can be viewed through the lens of puffery).

    Since posing this question, I have asked some parents of the program about their kids and it's in concordance with the views expressed in the thread: no observably obvious Terrence Tao-types (not a big shocker ex-post). We're still trying to figure out whether the school is a good fit so I don't have much to add at this point.

    Finally, in terms of our child, the WISC revealed very balanced scores across the 5 categories (on a relative basis, VC, VS, and FR were the strongest, and WM was the weakest). Our day-to-day observations are that she is 1) excellent but not "extraordinary" at a variety of academic subjects 2) very advanced in terms of social-emotional development/control than her peers (observed by us and the teacher; she is most comfortable talking to adults). The one "talent/passion" that we've observed and cultivated is music - she is extremely advanced in piano and violin and has also started the cello, the latter of her own volition.


    That's probably more information than anyone cares, but I just wanted to help the posters understand the basis for my question.



    +3SD is approximately 1 in 740, whereas it has been suggested that Terry (whom I will always remember as an adorable nine year old at NMSS 1985) is the most accomplished mathematician in recorded history, which would place him around +7SD (at least wrt mathematical achievements).

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