Although Lucy has already been identified as gifted and is currently enrolled in a self-contained gifted class, we now have her little sister coming down the road to kindergarten. With this in mind, I am reluctantly revisiting our experience with Lucy in order to try and have a better outcome with her sister. When Lucy was tested at a very early 4 using the Stanford-Binet IV, the results were not reliable or accurate. We seemed to have few options for getting her properly educated, though, so thought we had little choice but to test her prematurely. At 4, she was already reading chapter books and doing pretty advanced math – so we knew there was no way that she could be appropriately challenged in the regular Kindergarten classroom in public school.
We explored our options and at the time (this program has since changed), there was a self-contained gifted Kindergarten classroom in a nearby community that seemed to be a viable option. This is the ONLY reason we had her tested – because I had serious reservations about the accuracy and reliability of testing at that age… and it turned out that my instincts were right on target.
Her test scores were not what I expected, particularly considering where I thought her academic level was – WAY above the K level. In retrospect, I think a lot of it had to do with the pitfalls of “testing” a 4 year old that has never been in an academic environment of that nature. At the time, I second-guessed myself a lot after Lucy’s lackluster test results:
Was Lucy not as gifted as I thought that she was?
Was I just projecting my own bias into my observations?
Is it weird, pushy, and cruel to subject a 4 year old to IQ testing?
Lucy is now performing at the top of her gifted class, so I am convinced that the initial test results were inaccurate probably due to Lucy never having been exposed to a “test” prior to the big day. She is also having the time of her life in her 2nd grade class, so I am confident that we’ve made sound decisions thus far. But, as any parent of any special needs child knows (gifted DEFINITELY is special needs), education decisions are made day-by-day and year-by-year.
Gifted Testing Preparation?
Although I vehemently oppose putting a very bright child who can excel in the regular classroom in a classroom of gifted kids where they perpetually struggle to keep up, I do think that a modest amount of “test prep” is called for in our situation. I am in the process of exploring a few gifted testing prep websites that perhaps will help ensure that Lucy’s sister’s test results are more aligned with reality. I don’t intend to do any sort of coaching, but I also don’t want her to be totally taken off guard on the big test day!