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    Joined: Aug 2008
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    CAMom Offline OP
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    After literally months of trying to get a school meeting with all the parties at one table, we finally have one today. My DS is nearly 8, a grade skipped 3rd grader and a DYS. He has a "funky" profile on the WISC of very average processing speed, with everything else high and a GAI of 148. His latest MAP scores show him 97-99th percentile for the next grade up in every subject.

    In independent meetings, the school psych has said she's never seen a kid like him on paper and thinks it's a more likely that the highs are a mistake, never mind nearly identical scores on the SB-V.

    The teacher doesn't understand any of it and thinks that because he can't pass his timed single-digit division tests, he's not ready for any subject acceleration. To her, speed is the most important math skill. (I have a copy of "Faster isn't Smarter" already out for today!)

    So how do I explain processing speed in a way that makes sense to a layman? In each individual conversation, DS's slow and steady approach has been the hindrance to making any progress in subject acceleration or better differentiation. Our goal is to have a very positive, very proactive student meeting where we come out with plans for how the school will meet their published goal of "one year of academic growth for all students, even those above grade level."

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    Originally Posted by CAMom
    The teacher doesn't understand any of it and thinks that because he can't pass his timed single-digit division tests, he's not ready for any subject acceleration. To her, speed is the most important math skill.

    Ugh, how I hate those timed tests. DD's teacher uses a 10-minute cutoff to "pass," but if you can get your speed under 5 minutes, you can bring a junk-food snack rather than a healthy snack for every under-5-minute test. DD is neither a super-speedy processor nor a fast writer (and tends to get distracted to boot!), and both her teacher and I agree that the 5-minute cutoff isn't a realistic expectation for her, but the lure of a pre-lunch cupcake is too much for her to give up on.

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    CAMom Offline OP
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    Thanks for understanding! I hate food rewards- that would really irritate me!

    I have yet to understand the benefit of a problem in 3.1 seconds vs. 3.4 seconds. My DS will practice for hours, finish 90/100 and have all the answers right. But he needs 95/100 in 5 minutes to pass. It's becoming so embarrassing for him- he teaches his friends how to do long division, square roots and scientific notation but can't pass his divide by three test.

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    No advice for the OP, but lots of sympathy.

    Just last night DS9 (DYS/3rd grade) told me he is "no good at math" because he is having trouble with his division timed tests. This is a kid who's definitely more verbal, but did make the cuts for both math AND verbal for CTY classes, so I don't think he's bad at math. And it isn't uncommon for him to go through some mathy interest phase where he is in deep discussion with DH about some geometry, trig or other higher-level Math concept.

    I quizzed him to see if it was a practice issue, and he does know the info (with the occasional error), but he said the timing makes him completely freak out. The teacher also uses a dangling carrot approach. DS said it's even worse because teacher posts scores in some way in the classroom, so he's embarassed that he's not completed as many as others. *sigh*

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    My D15 has always had this issue with math facts tests. She also had CTY level scores in math (along with very high verbal scores). She was ultimately diagnosed with a non-verbal learning disability, and the two biggest "symptoms" we see in every day life are slower processing speed on math facts and problems with executive functioning. Honestly, once they get to middle school, this issue fades somewhat. We have asked for extra time on math tests for her with her school, and because of the diagnosed learning disability they have readily given her that when needed. She also has been granted extra time on College Board tests (SAT, SAT Subject, and AP).

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    Val Offline
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    Originally Posted by CAMom
    So how do I explain processing speed in a way that makes sense to a layman? In each individual conversation, DS's slow and steady approach has been the hindrance to making any progress in subject acceleration or better differentiation. Our goal is to have a very positive, very proactive student meeting where we come out with plans for how the school will meet their published goal of "one year of academic growth for all students, even those above grade level."

    Try this:

    In this context, processing speed is how fast your son reads a piece of information (9 / 3), figures out what to do with it ("I have to divide 9 by 3), determines the answer (3), and then gets it out (writes it on paper). Some people take more time than others to make each connection.

    How FAST he gets the answer is not nearly as important as GETTING it. I believe his teachers are confusing lack of speed with lack of understanding. They aren't the same problem. Your son understands the concepts, which is what's crucial.

    This article was written by teachers for teachers. It has some helpful suggestions:

    * Emphasize accuracy rather than speed in evaluating the student in all subject areas

    * Replace timed tests with alternative assessment procedures

    FWIW, those timed tests strike me as being predictors of performance on high stakes tests rather than honest measures of learning.



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    Often the PSI is lowered when a kid has motor issues, and it has nothing to do with verbal or non-verbal skills.

    Can you post your child's WISC standard scores?

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    The key is in getting them to realize that he does know the facts and processes. There are many kids who don't know them and that impedes doing many computations. I agree completely with you, if they can demonstrate mastery than why keep beating the horse.

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    While I understand the concept of fluency, and agree that it is important, certain kids are not fast and never will be. Faster does not mean smarter.

    If your child were diagnosed with a learning disability, you could get accommodations for this. But slow processing on its own is not usually considered a disability, so there is little "legal" footing for your argument. (not that the law helps in all circumstances!) I agree with Val that accuracy is more important than speed.

    Drea45345 mentions motor issues - sometimes a low PSI is in part due to poor visual motor skills. If this is the case with your child, perhaps he could complete the timed tests orally, thus removing the primary barrier.

    Just a vent - my daughter was forced to drop from honors math in HS because everything was timed. Her freshman year, she NEVER completed a test. It doesn't take a mathematician to figure out if you don't finish, your average goes down quickly. We had her tested that summer and found she has a low PSI index relative to her VCI and PRI as well as some other quirky issues. We were able to secure a 504 plan that gave her accommodations (extra time), and it is amazing what happened to her grades in all subjects. Her anxiety was reduced and she was able to complete and check her work. Unfortunately, she had already dropped to college prep math and was unable to get back on track to honors by the time the 504 was granted..

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    Clearly the real issue is helping the teacher understand the processing issues, but here is something that has helped dd speed up her timed tests recently - she is about the same age. Her dad suggested to her that she could start thinking all the hard facts to herself as the test was being passed out. "Its not like the material on the tests is a mystery so its not cheating to prep your brain." Its seems to help her a lot.


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