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    #167414 09/12/13 11:23 AM
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    So I have been hearing about this recently...how gifted kids will 'plateau' in their learning. For example, if there was a child that starts reading at 2, and has a reading level of, let's say, 2nd grade at 3...some people would say that in 3rd grade, the normal kids would catch up. Apply this to any topic really. Do you agree with this? I get that in the beginning, with a very young kid, there is less breadth of knowledge, and so where he/she would learn very deeply/quickly about say, math and reading early on...as he/she gets older and delves into other topics, science, computers, history, whatever, the knowledge would expand more horizontally vs vertically....and it might 'appear' to be a slow down or plateau. but, to be honest, i'm just not convinced that plateauing actually happens. If a child learns incredibly fast at 3, what magical thing happens at 6 that would slow down the acceleration, other than the aforementioned 'widening' of knowledge...which would only be a plateau in the most superficial sense of the word?

    Has anyone's kid 'plateaued', or did the acceleration of learning more or less continue as they grew? I am curious to hear some feedback on this topic!

    Curiouser #167415 09/12/13 11:32 AM
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    Many educators who like to show off their ignorance about the nature of giftedness will say, "They all even out by third grade." And there's some truth to that saying, because if a gifted kid is occupying a seat in a class for three years, in which they learn next to nothing, the rest of the class will close the gap.

    Someone who learns quickly will still learn quickly, as long as they're given the opportunity (which doesn't happen in many elementary schools) and they haven't lost their motivation (which often happens due to lack of opportunity).

    Curiouser #167418 09/12/13 11:36 AM
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    22B Offline
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    In 3rd grade my kid will take Algebra I with 9th graders. The other kids his age are not going to catch up.

    22B #167419 09/12/13 11:38 AM
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    Originally Posted by 22B
    In 3rd grade my kid will take Algebra I with 9th graders. The other kids his age are not going to catch up.

    Especially not with a curriculum that spirals back to grade 1!


    What is to give light must endure burning.
    aquinas #167424 09/12/13 11:53 AM
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    Originally Posted by aquinas
    Originally Posted by 22B
    In 3rd grade my kid will take Algebra I with 9th graders. The other kids his age are not going to catch up.

    Especially not with a curriculum that spirals back to grade 1!

    Seriously, what's with this? My DS is in second grade and they literally have him adding 2+3 with blocks... seems so odd since the overwhelming majority were in this school last year and that was covered ad nauseum. I mean so odd to me.

    Curiouser #167425 09/12/13 11:54 AM
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    If the extraordinary level is really only because all the kid's focus is going into one topic, rather than a greater ability/interest in learning overall, this could be true. It's the pushback I get over asynchrony: if you have a kid who is 2 years advanced in one topic but a year behind in every other topic, they're just unusually focused, not gifted. Offering challenge in the lagging areas, and letting them drift in the advanced areas, brings them into better balance while keeping them engaged. I have no idea how common this actually is, but it *sounds* plausible. I certainly don't know anyone like this.

    The 'plateau' word gets used mostly by classroom teachers who aren't able to keep up with the diversity in their class. If your child moves on to art or music or the war machines of the Renaissance, it *is* a plateau as far as their reading/math/other instructional level is concerned - and that makes them easier to teach in a group. As far as the classroom is concerned, this is the same as the first situation (and keeps educators from having to acknowledge the scary, non-PC degree to which *people are different*).

    It also happens when new material is persistently withheld from a child who is ready for it. The cynical side of me connects this to the 'learned helplessness' description on another thread. By third grade, a child who can't get appropriate level material no matter how hard they try will stop trying altogether and subside into the academic middle or bottom of the class.

    I've found that 9 is a magical age in my family: many of us have very serious fit issues by then resulting in depression, poor sleep, poor eating, lack of memories from the period, anger and acting-out, etc. that are only resolved by a change in school and more appropriate placement. So far it's hit six members of my family over three generations. I hear the same story from many mid-year, emergency applicants to the school my daughter found to be more appropriate.

    Curiouser #167426 09/12/13 11:58 AM
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    I agree with the others (and re 22B's point, I once posted here about a difficult conversation I had with a friend in which I contradicted her assertion that I couldn't tell he would still be ahead of his peers in x years (at school change) by pointing out that to be still ahead he didn't have to keep up the same, or any positive, pace - he only had to avoid going a large step backwards).

    But... plateau can mean a lot of things. Beware the self-selecting sample here. I think it does happen, sometimes, that young children seem very ahead (perhaps because of an exceptionally enriched home environment, perhaps for some biological reason, who knows), and then blend back into the average. But their parents don't stay here, so you won't hear from them!

    DS's learning patterns are certainly uneven sometimes. It's easy to believe that someone who saw only part of what he did could think he'd plateaued when his attention was elsewhere.

    I fear that it's also possible for children with huge potential to never realise that potential, if they don't get good enough opportunities. By the nature of that, I can't prove it by anecdote. But I do wonder how much of "they all even out by 3rd grade" is caused by such a phenomenon.


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    Dude #167430 09/12/13 12:03 PM
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    Originally Posted by Dude
    Many educators who like to show off their ignorance about the nature of giftedness will say, "They all even out by third grade." And there's some truth to that saying, because if a gifted kid is occupying a seat in a class for three years, in which they learn next to nothing, the rest of the class will close the gap.

    Someone who learns quickly will still learn quickly, as long as they're given the opportunity (which doesn't happen in many elementary schools) and they haven't lost their motivation (which often happens due to lack of opportunity).


    Yes to this!! Agree, agree - absolutely spot on!!!!!

    Curiouser #167434 09/12/13 12:25 PM
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    I don't think IQ is stable until a child is about 8 or 9. So many kids who appear very advanced at age 3 will not still be advanced at age 8. And some kids who appear average at age 3 do indeed end up "gifted". My son was one of these--he had developmental delays and his IQ shot up about 30 points in the last 2.5 years.

    I do believe that those kids who start out at the top of the class in kindergarten or first grade tend to stay there, esp. if the teacher gives leveled materials and differentiates instruction. If a kid starts out in the "low group" and everyone else in the class is doing more advanced work, it's going to be pretty hard for him to catch up. The same is true of those in the "high group". If they are given 20 spelling words and others in the class are given 10, then they will likely stay highest in spelling. Even if they are really not that smart.

    My DD was grade accelerated in the middle of kindergarten and quickly caught up and surpassed the kids in the next higher grade, so of course there are exceptions to this. She's never had a real IQ test, I don't know if she's officially "gifted" but I would guess the fact that she was able to do that is pretty good evidence. I also think that those kids who are given work that is above their grade level are going to be those that continue to score best on achievement tests. If I stop trying to give DD enrichment stuff, she will likely slip a bit. Not go down to average, but other kids will surpass her if they do extra work at home or are given special opportunities in the classroom or other schools. Our school/district is terrible about allowing kids to work ahead in math so I'm surprised that anyone in the district is scoring in the upper percentiles for math on nationally normed tests. The ones that are are probably being given instruction in advanced math at home. Those that aren't, could appear to be plateuing.

    Curiouser #167447 09/12/13 01:55 PM
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    I don't buy it. Even an ordinary child who is not in the "gifted" spectrum of IQ and is very interested in a subject matter and learns that subject or skill continuosly will be way ahead of his peers forever. I believe that learning and growth in any subject or skill is exponential rather than linear... which is why plateauing is impossible - especially in academics (I am not a sports person, so cannot talk about plateauing of sport skills). Infact, when my son gets interested in a specific topic, I tell him that the sky is the limit to what he can learn and do on that subject.

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