Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Who is this really about?

Errrr..... Yeah.  Don't really know.

The boys got their results back from the Gifted and Talented test.  They didn't make it.  Neither of my boys are gifted.  Or Talented.

According to the test.

I had been gearing myself for this for a while.  "Ahhh.... it's no big deal.  It's only a test.  If they *do* get in, I'm not even sure I want them to be in it - they'll be overwhelmed with homework... is that worth it at this young age?"  And so on.  You get the idea.

But we got the results back.  And neither made it to the 90th percentile. Not even to the 80th percentile.


The crazy woman who lives in my building?  Her daughter is 89th percentile.  Nathan's friend?  He made it.  My boys?  Did not.

And I cannot at all tell you how awful I feel that way.  But you know what it's about?  It's about me not feeling like I did a good enough job as a parent.  It's not about them not being good/smart/gifted/talented enough... It's about me not sitting with them more.  Not reading with them enough.  Not doing flash cards.  Not making them practice  their writing over and over.  I feel like if I had done this... I'd have given them the chance to succeed... but because I come home & crash & the last thing I ever want to do is go over letters with them...


Max is very glad he did not make it.  He does not want the extra homework.

I haven't told X yet.  I need to, but I'm not sure I want to deal with his reaction -- or how he'll react with the kids.  The thing with him is I never really know... He could be really "normal" or... not.

Oy.  Now off to find that mouse.


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Waldo Pharce said...

My oldest Daughter's first grade teacher told her Mom she wasn't very bright and she wasn't ready for 2nd grade. Then she took the test and was in the 99.5 percentile. She changed schools and got a teacher who realized how smart she was. She didn't take accelerated classes because she said, "I want a life Dad!" Who can blame her? We found out early that you didn't do ANY pushing with her. She never made us feel inferior and always helped out those kids who needed it. Tests are good but not always conclusive. Your boys will do fine with you as their Mother. If you tell their Dad he will make a big deal about it so get ready.

Family Adventure said...

I think I know how you feel, Amy. Because I was in your shoes a year ago. It sucks.

I agree that tests can be wrong, and if you think there's signs that this one is, then you could think of doing a retake.


If you think about the percentiles, isn't it a lot to ask that your boys be in the top 2 percent in the world? (I think that's the cut off for gifted and talented). That means out of 100 kids, they are the smartest or the second smartest.

I wouldn't ask that of myself, let alone my boys.

We had our boys tested last year. And I was so disappointed at how C scored. Throughout his life, we've been told how bright he was. I thought for sure he was gifted. And then a test tells me he is not.

Whether or not the test was accurate, I cannot say for sure. But even if it wasn't, I am no longer sure C would actually be the smartest or second smartest of 100 people. I just think there might be a few kids out there who are a bit more perceptive than him, a bit quicker in their thinking, etc.

Besides - he is gifted. To me, anyway. To me is the perfect combination of lots of different skill sets, and that makes him gifted.

The funny thing here was... B boy did test gifted. And he so isn't. Trust me. He is a child who is incapable of tying his own shoe laces and he cannot spell a word correctly for the life of him.

And yet, on these tests he scores higher in aptitude than his much more capable brother.

(Yes, I understand that there is a difference between practical skills and abstract IQ, but honestly...I know which one I think will make the lives of my boys better).

Tests are just labels. I think there's too many of them floating around. They really don't tell the full story of the kids and they cause anxiety. Why do we need to have so many labels?

Sorry for the book. Obviously you hit a homerun here :)


Anonymous said...

You so have to know that you're parenting does not have anything to do with the kids' test results right?

I have one who is "gifted" (and one who is quite not) and as you know, I barely saw her for a year of her life (so no flash cards, no helping build her IQ - not that I would have done those things anyway). Even when I was home with her, she watched more TV than any child I ever knew. The IQ thing is just part of how she is wired - in PreK they called her a "self-taught" reader - it just is what it is.

Having said all that, I also believe that some people are good test takers, and some people are not, and that certainly some people are much "smarter" than tests indicate.

Either way, you can't blame yourself. If you truly believe the tests were wrong - and more importantly that the kids would BENEFIT significantly from being in the program - you could have them re-tested. But in the long run, as long as they are bright and happy and appropriately challenged in "regular" classes, who cares about what an abstract test says?

- Julie

Julie Pippert said...

When my brilliant daughter tested in at 50% G&T, 50% in the bottom 2% of ALL KIDS HER AGE FOR INTELLIGENCE, I felt like something might be a little off.

I hadn't wanted the test but had been pressured into it because---for various complicated reasons---I don't tend to trust my parenting instincts sometimes.

People who I do trust said, "Hmm you know, it's really about *experience,*" which initially caused me to do a slam dance on myself for SUCKING as a mother and NOT doing enough preparation.

My husband was offended too but for other reasons.

Eventually I figured out "experience" means "has taken many tests and been well prepared to take tests" and then I really lost it and got offended in the same way my husband is.

Because in our book, there is not one doubt our daughter is superbright. NOBODY doubts that.

GT is not supposed to be testing for brightness and knowledge.

It's supposed to be identifying kids who think and learn outside the box.

And then I wondered WTF was wrong with parents who PREPPED their kids for the GT test. And then I wondered WTF was wrong with the GT test that it couldn't distinguish "bright and prepped" from truly GT.

Then I was glad we'll just sit over here. And be NORMAL and MEDIOCRE thank you very much.


I really wanted her in the program, though, because it is better and the teacher is my preference.

But not if it's Olympic Track. That's sik.

I hope that helps, but I know it probably doesn't.

Hang in there and (hug).

Gwen said...

Dude. Seriously, fuck those effing tests and our ridiculous fascination/repulsion with the labels. In the end, you want to raise fine young men who will be loyal and honest and trustworthy, who will treat others with respect, who will learn to use their unique gifts to make their part of the world a better place, who will find peace and contentment and happiness in who they become. And no test, no teacher, no % in the world says anything about those things that truly TRULY matter. The end.

Tracy said...

Some kids don't test well, and really, at the end of the day, those damn tests don't tell you anything. Being able to speak from the other end of things, I can tell you that it didn't matter that Ryan wasn't in any gifted program (I can hardly even say that without laughing because the idea of it is so crazy to me), he did what he needed to do in school, and he's really come into his own now in college. He's an amazing person and he's doing great in his classes now... and no one cares at all that he was never in a gifted class in elementary school.

And as a fellow single mother, I completely understand your feelings about it being your fault; however, try to keep your eye on the big picture. This? Doesn't matter. Like Gwen said, it's all about who they become as young men. That? Matters.

Kyla said...

What Julie said, exactly.

Also, standardized tests do NOT grade parenting ability, so try not to internalize it. Really.

Poker Chick said...

My brother did poorly in school too and still earned a masters from the LSE. You can't control these things as much as you'd like, so stop blaming yourself and try and have faith that it will all work out for them as long as they are loved.