I’ll have to preface this entry with the disclaimer that Amber and I both know that everything within reason was taken into consideration before the administration of the test.
At our parent-teacher conference in October, Kaitlyn’s teacher remarked to us how she felt that Kaitlyn might qualify for the gifted program at the school, and that she would like our permission to have her tested. We immediately agreed, and we are thankful that she saw the same things in Kaitlyn that we do. As her parents, it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between what we really see and what we want to see. I think every parent goes through that, and it is not at all a bad thing. But with Kaitlyn showing the capacity to be far above grade-level so early in the school year, and for her teacher to recognize it in her, spoke to us even more. I know I have written it on here before, but I cannot emphasize enough how impressed we have been with Kaitlyn’s school since before she was even “officially” a student there.
It would have been unreasonable for us to expect that Kaitlyn would have been tested within a few days of our meeting with her teacher, and she had to wait a little bit to be tested. Her initial evaluation was with one of the guidance counselors at the school, so Amber and I, along with her teacher felt confident that Kaitlyn would not be impeded by being unfamiliar with the person conducting the test. We all shared the concern still that she would rush through in order to get finished, and that might negatively affect her score, but that concern turned out to be unfounded.
The testing took place in late October, and Kaitlyn needed to score a 125 on it to be further considered for the gifted program. She scored a 129. Basically, Kaitlyn scored high enough to be further evaluated for gifted.
Kaitlyn had her second round of testing yesterday, and she scored a 128. And you would be right to think that a 128 would have qualified her for gifted, especially since a 129 advanced her and a 125 was required the first time around. You would be right to think that, but you would be incorrect. Apparently, the standard in phase two of testing is 130. On the one hand it makes sense because you would want to use a process of elimination, but on the other hand it makes no sense at all. We are not talking about the Olympic Trials here where there is an “A” qualifying standard and a “B” standard. If the standard is 130, make it that way across the board; if it is 125, make it 125.
Other than the floating standard, I have two other issues with yesterday’s test. One, it was given on the second day back after Christmas break. That is really not fair to any student. It is similar to when I was tested for gifted when I was young; the qualifying score was 140, and I scored a 139, and the test was given in the first or second week of school. So soon after any break, whether it is a summer break or Christmas break, does nothing for the student. The second issue I have is that the person administering the test was someone with whom Kaitlyn was not familiar. Because she is so uncomfortable in social situations, she tends to shut down and be very shy and reserved around unfamiliar people, and that may well have contributed to yesterday’s score. Even Kaitlyn’s teacher remarked to us that she felt that maybe Kaitlyn was a little shy around the administrator.
It is hard to be too upset with the school or the school district, however. There are only so many people on staff with the district, and we have a lot of schools around here, with a lot of students who need to be tested or have other needs. It was most likely a case of this just happened to be the slot on the calendar her school was given. Budget restrictions make it to where one or two people are doing the job of five or more.
The good news in all of this is that Kaitlyn will be able to be tested for gifted again in the fall. She will jump right to phase two since she was already at that stage, and I am confident that her teacher will make sure her file is noted for next year’s teacher. I may see if a clinical evaluation would be considered an allowable substitute to the district’s phase two testing since we are due for our regular follow-up anyway. The rational and reasonable person in me says that it would surely be accepted, but that is tempered by the fact that our history with the school district and their acceptance of clinical evaluations is spotty at best (see any number of posts from March through May of 2011 in the archives on this page).