Assessing the Situation: What to Know About Testing
Testing is often the entry point for many children and their parents into the gifted community. Gifted children often feel different from age-mates and testing can help them understand why. Early identification should rely on assessments beyond IQ tests to ensure validity of the results. It is common for schools who do conduct universal screenings to do so in the third grade.
“Testing can tell us about strengths and weaknesses. I think IQ testing should be done between ages 5 and 9 – ideally.” ~ Carol Bainbridge
It’s important to understand the difference between testing and assessments. Testing refers to predetermined, standardized tests with results reported as numbers and include achievement and ability tests. Assessments include but go beyond standardized tests and rely on the interaction between the administrator and the child. Good assessment includes both science and art; an essential tango.
There are many different tests available. Achievement tests – perhaps the best known – include SATs and ACTs. Ability tests include Stanford Binet, WISC-IV, Woodcock Johnson & Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test. Group ability tests include CogAT and Otis-Lennon; these being the most well-known.
Test ‘ceilings’ can they affect testing. Achievement tests have upper limits which generally compare one child to the average of all children in all school districts. To compensate for test ‘ceilings’, a student can participate in a Talent Search by taking above level tests at earlier ages.
How should test scores be interpreted? According to the NAGC, test norms should reflect the local demographic; not only national norms. A variety of scores including sub-scores should be taken into consideration.
“Date of manufacture is irrelevant… No matter the “score,” as a parent, you must enrich your child’s life and teach him agency.” ~ Tracy Fisher
Test results are not a guarantee that a child will be accepted into a gifted program. There are no universal requirements. It is essential that schools and parents work together to make sure the best interest of the student is remembered. For more information, a transcript of this chat can be found at Storify.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at 14.00 NZST/12.00 AEST/1.00 UK to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.