I have posted responses, deleted them, rewrote them, deleted them. I just don't know where to start with this. So here is a few things that I want to say. Then hopefully you will comment your view or comments.
- Just because you teach your toddler to read does not make them gifted. Gifted by definition is the ability to reason differently than the other children, NOT the ability to memorize letter sounds or apply reading rules. Many parents can teach their children to read prior to kindergarten, if they take the time and the effort to do so. Although it is an indicator of giftedness, it is not a guarantee that your child is truly gifted. Boy would I love to see some research done on this, the relationship of early reading to actual giftedness long term.
- In many schools gifted just means they go to a pull out program for a small amount of the week. A great teacher will differentiate and move all kids 1 years growth. (I am not against them going if they are truly gifted.) Yes, I admit, this is harder with children who are above grade level but it is a necessity of your job as a teacher. It has been commented in several places that this type of labeling allows teachers to write off students because they are getting their services elsewhere. I personally don't operate this way and I really feel that the push towards accountability will eliminate this as all kids are now being required to show one grade level growth (not just passing that years curriculum.) But I am sure this viewpoint is out there as I have seen many crazy teachers over the years!
- I have a problem with parents spending thousands and thousands of dollars (or even a dollar) for test prep at the age of 4! That is just absurd! Face it people, your children did not make it in because they are not gifted NOT because they did not prep enough! You are teaching your children how to take the test and skewing their results. The fact that these kids are making it into this school with test prep proves that this test is not testing gifted ability but the ability to train a human to perform a task. The fact that they can go back and retake the test proves that the state does not really think it tests gifted ability, afterall, how can they be gifted this month but not the next? I understand your desire to want the best for your children, but if your child is truly gifted they should be able to pass the test without intensive test prep! I don't blame you for doing this for your children, I blame the state for allowing a test at the age of 4 to determine opportunities to your students through high school! I completely agree with the clip that of course any student who gets that type of education will shine as I am sure not all schools in NY have that great facilities or that well trained of teachers. Just saying!
- I personally feel that putting this much pressure on little learners is not healthy and you are doing more harm for your kids than you think. I even quit a job over it! If you have followed me for awhile you would know that this year I quit and moved to a district that does not do rigorous testing for little learners. At my previous job we gave our kinders a 60+ multiple choice test each quarter that by midyear had the full years worth of standards on it. Third and fourth quarter had first grade skills on it. And if the kids passed the test with an 80% or better they got to go to a party... cookie decorating, dancing, popsicle, or other fun stuff like that and they knew what they were working towards upfront. It just felt so wrong... you are smart so you get a cookie, but you missed it by one point so I am sorry you don't get a cookie. Of course I did not spin it like that to the kids but kids are smart social beings who get it! Goodness, I had one student who went from like a 34% to a 78% and did not get to celebrate with her peers! Just wrong and I was told that yes we can celebrate her in class but when it come time to line up at the door she did not get to go. (I celebrated with her with a special Happy Meal that same day but at the expense of frowns from other teachers and administration I am sure!) No matter how stress-free we try to make high stakes testing to 5 year olds, it is stressful and I genuinely believe at that age the kids don't understand the relationship of the answers they choose and the scores they produce. They just want a cookie (or in this case to please their parents.)
- We all look at our kids with rose colored glasses. I personally don't think my son is gifted but he definitely has some characteristics of checklists you find on the internet for giftedness but does that mean he is gifted, no! This is actually one of my biggest pet peeves personally and professionally. I think people in general need to be more real about their children academically (and socially for that matter.) Maybe it's the kinder teacher in me to be able to step back. The video alone proves this theory! The woman who decided that she did not want her child tested because she had all these interventions and they did not make a difference. They did not make a difference because your child is not gifted and yet she still says 'how can this be?' Take the glasses off and see your child for the amazing young lady she is!!!
I originally was going to post with actually research and data but the truth of the matter is that you can find research that goes both ways! So I just rambled. Sorry... please ramble below if you have anything you want to share!