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    #89621 11/15/10 08:31 AM
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    vicam Offline OP
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    I have asked our gifted instructor about the EXPLORE and SCAT testing. She seemed to downplay the benefits and acted as if it is just for the parents benefit. I just wondered what are the benefits and if I should have DS9 take either or both. Will it just be more info to store away or open opportunities?

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    We used the Explore math results from ds�s 6th grade testing as supporting evidence for math subject acceleration when he switched to a different school after 6th grade. He ended up taking their (non-multiple choice, no calculator allowed) 8th grade placement test for confirmation. The Explore results, along with prior placement, grades and a letter of recommendation from his 6th grade math teacher, helped to convince them to allow him to take the above grade level test in the first place.
    If your son�s gifted instructor is downplaying the Explore now, the results may not be important to your current school or district. Since your son is only nine, it could be insurance for some future negotiation.

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    We signed dd up so that we can track academic growth and possible future acceleration advocacy. Grade level standardized tests just aren't going to do it.

    DD's Columbus area school either had never heard of the Explore test, or pretended it didn't know what it was. Maybe its just not popular around here, but there are 3 local testing centers. Good Luck!


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    My dd9 will be taking explore for future advocacy to support possible subject or grade acceleration, because she was at the 99th% on the grade level standardized test. We really need to have a full assessment done but until we save the $ and decide on a tester for that, the explore is a cheaper and easier option to get an indication of where she is.

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    While it's possible that DD's math score tipped the scales in favor of subject acceleration, we haven't gotten much of a response from the district in reaction to scores. HOWEVER:

    It's a nice piece of data to have tucked in your head if you are in a school or district that tries to make you feel crazy for even thinking your child might need something different, and....

    more importantly in our case, it was an opportunity for DD to understand what a test feels like to most kids. Had our state test been the only standardized experience she ever had, she would never have had the experiences of trying to work within a time limit, deciding when to stay on a problem or go on, or understanding that many tests will have some problems she doesn't know the answers to within 2 seconds. Her experience with state testing would not have prepared her for that because she has never come close to running out of time or having to skip a problem. For some students, EXPLORE may not provide those experiences either, but for my DD, it was a good level of challenge at ages 9 and 10 wink

    If you do sign up for it, you might consider leaving the school code blank if you don't feel your school is going to be receptive, and/or if you are nervous (or your child is nervous) about how the test will go. If you are paying for the test, it ought to be your decision what to do with the results and since so many districts don't understand the test in the first place, you may want to have DS take the test without the pressure of knowing it is going to the school (for a child who is used to doing well on standardized tests without breaking a sweat, the experience of taking an out of level test can be disconcerting. We wanted DD to know that this was for her benefit and that the school wouldn't automatically get a copy of her results).

    HTH! Taminy

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    Originally for me (& oldest son), above level testing & talent search were suggested by the head of gifted ed for our school district. I had a good rapor with her and said my 6th grader was bored and what could I do to help him. I was surprised about the suggestion and researched it.

    I was not a great test-taker, but some people enjoy taking tests. My DH feels that way. So one reason for doing it could be "fun". A new experience. A challenge in the midst of boredom.

    Since that time I see tons of value for doing it. First, like Taminy said, kids are test at grade level year after year and may max those those out. The above level tests give them a higher ceiling to see where they really are. For instance, a third grader scoring 99% on a 3rd grade test says one thing. A third grader scored 90 or 95% on an 8th grade test tells another story. You and your child can decide where to go from there with that information, but isn't it better to have it and know what you're dealing with?

    Secondly, the tests give eligibility for online and summer program opportunities. Maybe you'll never do that, but they can be really cool, so you might consider it.

    Third, like it or not, college entrance exams have a huge part in college and scholarship applications. It may seem a long way off, but it'll be here before you know it. With the other benefits outlined above, think about the cost-benefit of developing experience, comfort and high performance on college entrance exams. It translates to a LOT of money. My state offers full scholarships to state schools for kids scoring over a specific ACT score. I attribute some of DS's excellent scores to early testing experience. Merit scholarships are tied to high scores.

    In the end, I say BOTH SCAT and EXPLORE. They are different experiences and offer a form of enrichment or at least a challenge, valuable information, experience, and can be worth the investment in the long run.


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