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    Joined: Jun 2008
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    ebeth Offline OP
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    Okay everyone, I need a little bit of help here.

    We just got back from an acceleration meeting with the school this morning. To review, DS8 is now in 4th grade after a mid-year grade acceleration last year (a jump from 2nd to 3rd). He has a summer birthday (and so he just turned 8), and is a year and a half to two years younger than most of his current classmates. Most of the summer birthday boys that are DS's age are in second grade currently.

    The school is proposing that he be subject accelerated in science to 7th grade.

    My brain is completely overloaded with shock and a healthy dose of panic. Can anyone walk me through processing the idea of an 8 year old taking Jr. High Science with 12 to 13 year olds?

    I think that he has the conceptual knowledge necessary to handle the work. They gave him the Woodcock Johnson Revised test on science and he scored at a grade equivalent of 16.9th grade, which is what... graduate school level? He loves the very abstract concepts of science, but I'm not to sure about the nitty-gritty details and calculations. But he does not have the writing skills necessary to write papers or lab reports. His writing skills are probably below 4th grade. And the question of social issues??? The school committee members looked at me and said that 7th graders would be no worse a social fit for DS than the fourth graders that he is currently with.

    We have a day or two to think about the acceleration. Can you suggest questions that we should be asking? There is another kid in school, a 6th grader, who will be transported up to the Jr. High for the same class, and so DS could ride the bus with him or her. So the transportation is not an issue. My biggest concern is the handwriting, the ability to write long paragraphs about scientific observations, working with lab partners and other group work, and the level of homework (time commitment and ability to focus). Other issues might be the fact that, in two years time, he would be in classes with high schoolers (puberty issues, driving, alcohol...) and he would run though all of the science curriculum by the time he is 13?

    Any thoughts would be much, much appreciated!


    Mom to DS12 and DD3
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    Would the school be willing to allow adaptations for your DS. Maybe recording class instead of note-taking? Allowing him/you to type his work for him instead of handwriting?

    Can you see assignments, a past test, and a sample of the level of writing work expected for a 7th grader in the class? That might tell you if it's possible for your DS or not.

    I don't think I'd worry about running through the science curriculum early at this point. If he's capable of doing 7th grade work now, then that's going to happen one way or another really, isn't it? Out of class, if not in it, you know? And if he does it through official channels, then there's a much higher possibility of the school providing something more advanced for him when you get to that point. That could be a very good thing!


    Kriston
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    ebeth Offline OP
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    I'm not sure science lends itself as much to radical acceleration of the child is not well rounded.

    Dottie, I went into the meeting with the same thought. Without seeing their WJ III test data yet, I had thought that math would be a better subject acceleration than science because of the writing and group lab work. He scored fairly high on most of the math subtests: Broad Math, Math Calculation, and Applied Math were all in the 99.9th%. But they would not consider a subject acceleration in math because his Math Fluency was only at the 47%, which came in at the 2.7th grade equivalent. Math Fluency was defined as "written problems involving basic addition, subtraction, and multiplication. This is timed, to see how many problems he could complete in 3 minutes." So most of his other scores were in the Jr. High level of math by grade equivalency, but they would not consider even a one-year subject acceleration in math.

    It seems like writing is the common hold up. But they were not as concerned about it for science.?? It doesn't make a lot of sense?


    Mom to DS12 and DD3
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    What's his PSI score? Is he like my son: deep but not fast?

    How much does speed actually matter in 5th grade math? It has been too long since I was there... If he has the concepts and can do the work, but it takes him 20 seconds to do the problem instead of the 10 seconds that it takes the other kids, does that really matter?

    If not, then I think you could make the case that the fluency score shouldn't preclude a math skip, provided you present it appropriately.

    Just a thought--feel free to ignore! smile


    Kriston
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    ebeth Offline OP
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    Would the school be willing to allow adaptations for your DS. Maybe recording class instead of note-taking? Allowing him/you to type his work for him instead of handwriting?

    Can you see assignments, a past test, and a sample of the level of writing work expected for a 7th grader in the class? That might tell you if it's possible for your DS or not.

    Good questions, Kriston. The 7th grade teacher was at the meeting, and when I expressed my concern about writing skills, she said that she would be willing to help by giving him paper copies of work that she presented on the board. Another member of the group chimed in and said that they thought that DS should just learn how to adapt to the additional writing requirements.

    I will have to ask about the past assignments and tests. That is a great idea!! The word that the acceleration team has repeatedly used is the need to produce a "product", or a written paper, report, or test. He has all of this factual knowledge in his head, but trying to get him to show the knowledge on paper is difficult. The school psychologist said he would happily talk her ear off on any science question that she asked verbally.


    Mom to DS12 and DD3
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    ebeth Offline OP
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    Is there any way the school/teacher can differentiate by giving deeper/broader assignments to your son?

    I didn't get the idea that the current teacher, who was at the meeting as well, had the ability or desire to differential to DS's level. Acceleration was the only thing offered or suggested.


    Mom to DS12 and DD3
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    So how about an oral exam? It's done for kids with LDs sometimes.

    I'm all for "adapting," but the key to adaptation is that it generally occurs gradually. It takes time. With writing especially, adaptation/growth takes place over years, not days! He's almost certainly going to be behind there. He just is. Until he catches up, the school, class, and teacher will have to do the adapting to him instead of the other way around or else it won't work.


    Kriston
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    ebeth Offline OP
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    What's his PSI score? Is he like my son: deep but not fast?

    His PSi score was a 126. I don't know if he falls into either camp? I know that he as trouble completing the timed math tests in school on a consistent basis. He will do it once (say 100 multiplication problems in 5 minutes), but he will get a 50% the next time, or a 75% the time after that. I think it is a focus/desire issue.

    I agree that the math fluency test should not preclude a math subject skip. But they were not inclined. They also asked DS if he would like a math subject skip. He has always thought that he was rather poor in math (due to the repetition of timed kill and drill tests). And so he answered no, he did not think that he would like to be accelerated in math.


    Mom to DS12 and DD3
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    That's how I felt, too, Dottie. That just seems a ridiculous reason to refuse math acceleration. I think that might be a battle I'd be willing to pick, regardless of how much they said "no!" Sometimes dumb "nos" can be overturned. That's one that should be, I think.


    Kriston
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    Definitely!


    Kriston
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