Applied for DYS and They Need More Info: Help

Posted by: Jules726

Applied for DYS and They Need More Info: Help - 03/11/10 12:05 PM

I just posted this under Applying for DYS in February but I thought I might get a few more answers if I started a new thread. I'd appreciate any info as I'm confused as what to do next. Here's my other post:

Hey Everyone.

Okay. I just got my e-mail. And it's not terrible but it's not what we were hoping for. They didn't deny us but they are asking for more information. Does anyone have any advice? We submitted The Wisc IV IQ test in which he qualifies (but it was just 2 years ago) and then a portfolio. This is what they are also asking:

The review committee would greatly appreciate additional information in the form of updated testing OR additional work samples in Jake‘s areas of strength.

Please see below for more information:

Testing: You may submit at least one recent achievement or talent search/college placement test listed on the first website found below to assist the review committee in making a final determination regarding the application. The committee would prefer an individually administered achievement test; however, we understand this may not be feasible for every family and will accept one of the group administered talent search or college placement tests. Please see the links below for more information:

Qualification Criteria (for a list of the tests accepted for application to the Young Scholars program)

Article - A Place to Start: Is My Child Gifted? (for testing information)

Work samples: You may submit additional work samples to supplement any portfolio items you’ve already submitted. In order for the Review Committee to best assess your child’s abilities, please submit a portfolio of at least three pieces of the applicant’s work that best demonstrate his/her advanced abilities in academic areas. Independent work that is completed without the assistance of teachers or parents and is 2 to 3 grade levels above age peers is preferred. Some of the most informative samples have included intellectual activities the applicant has completed just for fun and completely on their own, such as math “doodles,” creative writing, or autonomous projects. Based on Jake’s application and areas of interest, you may wish to submit samples of math work that shows the steps he’s followed in problem-solving, or a DVD/CD recording in which he could discuss one of his interests, such as a science-related topic. In order for the portfolio items to be viewed in the context in which they were completed, please briefly describe each item, including the applicant’s age and grade level at the time of completion, as well as the circumstances of the work (i.e. if it was completed independently or as part of a school project, how many times the work was revised, how and why the applicant completed this particular piece of work, etc.).

Please submit these items within 1 year of the date of this email. Information submitted later than one year may require portions or the entire application to be updated.

Can anyone tell me the best way to go about this? I think testing would be better but if so which tests - especially with the limited dates and money being an issue. Also, can anyone give me examples of portfolio items that are 2-3 grades above their level - my DS is 9. Thanks so much and at least the waiting is over smile.


I would so appreciate any input or help.
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Applied for DYS and They Need More Info: Help - 03/11/10 12:45 PM

I think video of a child working/thinking about above-level work, plus a copy of that written work, makes a very persuasive portfolio submission. I'm convinced that most of the time, if you see an HG+ child at work, you know it.

Also, I'd recommend shooting for capturing achievement that's more than 2-3 grades above level if possible. I think gratified3 is right that they're asking to see outlier status, so further out on the tail of the Bell Curve is better than closer to the middle. Pick the stuff your child does that makes you think "That can't be normal, can it?" and use that for the portfolio.

Personally, I'd start with the portfolio materials if you have anything that would work. If that doesn't cut it, you can always test and resubmit.
Posted by: NJMom

Re: Applied for DYS and They Need More Info: Help - 03/11/10 01:25 PM

Hi, Jules,

Don't be discouraged. I looked back at your previous posts and here's my take. The WISC scores are right at the edge of qualifying. Keep in mind that it's only recently that Davidson amended their qualifications to include a GAI over 145. Prior to this, a kid had to have VCI, PRI or FSIQ over 145, at a minimum. With this in mind, my guess is that additional portfolio items are not what is really needed. I think you need to get achievement testing if you want to convince them that your child is not just HG, but PG.

Also, FWIW, keep in mind that admission to YS is not going to miraculously solve all issues. And by the same token, there is lots of wonderful advice to be had right here on this board, and through other e-lists and groups.
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Applied for DYS and They Need More Info: Help - 03/11/10 01:54 PM

What was in the portfolio that you submitted? That might be helpful info. How far above level was it, would you guess?
Posted by: LMom

Re: Applied for DYS and They Need More Info: Help - 03/11/10 02:37 PM

I'm sorry it didn't work out the first time but be reassured there are many DYS whose parents had to submit additional information.

Since you already submitted portfolio and it didn't do the trick I would recommend achievement testing. My personal experience is that it's much easier to get qualifying AT results than IQ results. At least that was the case with my kids who both scored way beyond the DYS requirements.

Posted by: Jules726

Re: Applied for DYS and They Need More Info: Help - 03/12/10 06:04 AM

Thank you for all of your feedback. I think that we definitely need to take the route of achievement testing. I'm still confused anyways on what they are really looking for with a portfolio (could anyone just give me some ideas of what they submitted for a portfolio as I am just curious - even though I think at this point I am not going to go down that road). We did submit a space game he made in 2nd grade in which he researched EVERYTHING and created it all himself, an imaginative and humorous power point where he used his own "language" and a story that he wrote in 1st grade that had quite extensive vocabulary. We also told about a diorama that he made when he was three and knew EVERY dinosaur, their origin, habitats, and anything else you could think of about dinosaurs. He does love to play chess and is amazing at building things However, it has been harder to show his talents over the last year as he has had no support from the school and also because of financial constraints along with our lack of knowledge of what to do to help grow his natural abilities. I really think this is why we were looking for the support of DYS.

So it is a little bit of a downer but I'm ready to take the next step. I truly think an AT is the best way to go because to be honest I couldn't even tell you at what level my son is at. He is definitely above his grade level but whether it's two or three years I have no idea (the school won't allow him to do ANYTHING). So maybe these tests will help me figure this out. So which test do you think is the best especially if it is something we would like to have done sometime soon? And what is the difference between the independent tests and the group Achievement tests? Doesn't EXPLORE only offer testing twice a year? And if you do an independent test what kind of person do you need to do the test? I'm sorry about all the questions but I am sooooooo confused with all the test choices. NJMOM, do you know of anyone in Northern NJ or any testing centers? And then there's the looming question - will they do as well???

Also, LMOM thank you for pointing out that I can also get much of the support that I need from this wonderful forum. We do qualify for HEROES with his GAI which is a program in NJ so hopefully that will give us a place to start. I just want to say that my husband was reading some of your responses last night and he couldn't believe how wonderful and caring this community of people are. I am just so impressed with everyone's knowledge and compassion smile . Thank you and if any of you can answer some of my questions I would be so appreciative.

PS. As for portfolio my DS is 9 and I really don't have much from when he was younger - does anyone have any suggestions of what they did for this age - he is not a writer!!


Posted by: Mam

Re: Applied for DYS and They Need More Info: Help - 03/12/10 06:19 AM

Well, the website lists 3 different individual tests, so any of those. I do think it is much better to go that way. WIAT and WJ are very widely used. Psychologists and educational consultants should be able to apply them. While I worry about IQ testing and the tester (usually much better to have someone familiar with gifted children); I don't have that same sensation regarding AT.

Our DD took the WJ and it gave us a lot of extra information. I am glad we went ahead with it.

Are you in public school? Maybe you can ask around, counselors might be able to steer you in the right direction, Hoagies list might be useful.

Posted by: CAMom

Re: Applied for DYS and They Need More Info: Help - 03/12/10 06:59 AM

We submitted all three parts because only together did they make a really strong picture of who my DS really is. I suggest going back and looking at photographs. I found that I had taken quite a few of really amazing lego and marble run structures that I had completely forgotten about. That gave me ideas of what to look for in written work.

We also submitted a video of him playing Monopoly with his dad at age 5. He was the banker. He never would have done that math work on paper but was happy to do it so he could beat dad!
Posted by: NJMom

Re: Applied for DYS and They Need More Info: Help - 03/12/10 11:05 AM

Hi, Jules,

The only testers I know of in NJ are at the Gifted Child clinic at Robert Wood Johnson in New Brunswick. Not sure if that's too far for you.

Fair warning--they are expensive and there is often a long waiting list. On the plus side, they have TONS of experience.
Posted by: kickball

Re: Applied for DYS and They Need More Info: Help - 03/12/10 11:31 AM

We received a letter like that for our DYS. We originally did not send in work samples. Now we dragged our feet almost the whole year before addressing it. At the time I was half excited to be eligible and have terrified we really were in that group.

Now by the time we resubmitted we did have new WJs due to a change in schooling - but the bigger part I think was digging up work samples. We sent in two little piles. We sent in a collection of stories and poems she wrote. I found it helpful to google around "sample x grade writing". As it was hard to realize what is "special" when it is your oldest child. So we looked at samples of what kids were/should be writing 2, 3, and 4 grades up. The second pile we had some math doodles she did in the corners of her school journal. We also sent a link to website we posted video. Now this felt SO weird. We didn't have anything "natural" - so we literally put the 7 year old in front of a chalk board and taped while asking her things like multiple our address by daddy's age. We added some sudoko puzzles the weird kid has loved since 4 or 5. And we I think we included a little video conversation about some books she had read.

It was worth the time. It seemed like it took 2 days to write out the app and another 3 days to dig in our unorganized house for stories etc. But Davidson's helped us so much in preparing to meet with teachers - make school choice decisions - and provided us with great links to resources the kids love. Best of all - via Davidson she made a best friend who lives a few towns away.
Posted by: Jules726

Re: Applied for DYS and They Need More Info: Help - 03/12/10 02:19 PM

This is great advice. I am going to try to see what I can come up with. I think it will tough as it's not something I have ever thought about. I've just always known that he did different things than all of his friends and classmates. However,I think I think I remember more instances that they would recognize from when he was younger then now. But I'll rack my brain as best I can. Again thanks as this has really given me some insight as it sounds like your daughter is very much like my son.

Posted by: Lorel

Re: Applied for DYS and They Need More Info: Help - 03/12/10 03:04 PM

Re: portfolio, we used one for a child just turning five. It included grade three workbook pages done in the child's own printing, artwork samples, video of unrehearsed reading of Shakespeare, and video of the child talking informally about a family history project. I think what you include will need to cater to your child's strengths, whatever they may be.

Consider what it is about your child that makes you (and others) say "wow!" Then find a way to capture that factor.
Posted by: JewelsJC

Re: Applied for DYS and They Need More Info: Help - 03/13/10 07:01 PM

Lorel, great advice! I love the "wow" factor. I will get my recorder going this week to capture DD5's moments of genius. :-)
Posted by: Lorel

Re: Applied for DYS and They Need More Info: Help - 03/14/10 06:15 AM

Good luck!
Posted by: RobotMom

Re: Applied for DYS and They Need More Info: Help - 03/15/10 10:54 AM

We too got a letter similar to that and have been dragging our feet getting together a portfolio because of figuring out what to submit. (We are not organized so it is a struggle to find all of her "wow" stuff)
But, thanks for posting this again, because with all of the responses you got I have gotten motivated again to get the portfolio finished and sent in as soon as possible.
Good luck to you!
Posted by: incogneato

Re: Applied for DYS and They Need More Info: Help - 03/15/10 11:51 AM

Drexel University has a math forum where they offer complex story problems on a subscription basis. The child can attempt the problem and submit it with supporting work and get an answer whether it is right or wrong complete with a Drexel student providing feedback.

They offer a trial:

For a nine year old, I would say perhaps you could video record him opening up a problem and working through it. They offer challenging story problems at the pre-algebra and algebra level.

Our DYS DD also got this letter and was later admitted to the DYS program, so my advice to you is to follow up with more portfolio materials or the other testing they are asking for.

Good luck. smile

Posted by: incogneato

Re: Applied for DYS and They Need More Info: Help - 03/15/10 11:52 AM

Oh, even better, here's a link to sample problems:
Posted by: RobotMom

Re: Applied for DYS and They Need More Info: Help - 04/21/10 07:51 PM

Well, we finally got our portfolio of supporting work organized and got it in the mail yesterday.
I ended up emailing and asking about DD's art stuff and was told that yes, it could be included in the portfolio.
So, now it's back to the waiting.......
Posted by: onthegomom

Re: Applied for DYS and They Need More Info: Help - 04/22/10 05:41 AM

Good luck. Hang in there, the waiting is hard.
Posted by: Botchan

Re: Applied for DYS and They Need More Info: Help - 04/22/10 09:22 AM

Good luck!