Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Inappropriate Testing

Saw this article about gifted testing for Kindergarten at the More Child's blog.  She titled her post,  "File Under - What have we come to?" 

And boy is she right. 

Why is this so appalling, though?  I took classes for SAT preperation, I took classes for LSAT preparation (Law School Aptitude Test).  That was ok, wasn't it?  It was my parents giving me the best possible edge to succeed, score higher, and therefore increase my chances of acceptance at the school of my choice.  Taking these classes built upon skills I'd already been (supposedly) learning in high school and college and yes, they did give sample tests, practice tests and tricks (yes, tricks!) for successful completion of the test. 

Why do I find that more palatable than classes for 4 year olds to gain entrance to Gifted Schools?

I have a couple of reasons.

First, Oldest didn't study for her IQ test.  That would have been ludicrous.  She either had a high IQ or she had a normal-range IQ.  It would have never crossed my mind to put her through testing before the test.  As a matter of fact, there was one section where she breezed through so quickly and eerily I could tell the Doctor was a little weirded out.  She would answer in this robotic-like monotone and they were all right.  Then the Doctor showed her a picture of an ambulance and she couldn't answer it. 

The Doctor actually turned to me (against policy to talk to M-O-M while in the middle of the test) and said, "Can she really not know this?"  I just shrugged - no WAY I was skewing the results after 2 hours over one question.  And she really didn't know, I could tell by her reaction!  She had been correctly naming what month was missing in a sequence that left a month out of the middle of the sequence, then had no clue that the picture was an ambulance. 

Point?  They either know it or they don't - you can't MAKE them gifted, just by drilling them on test styles.  IQ can fluctuate 20 points at any given time in a person's life, sure, but being "taught" how to take the test won't raise your kid's level of giftedness, it will just get him into a situation that maybe is not right for him.  And take away someone else's chance who maybe desperately needs to be there.

The other reason I'm bugged is what I hammer on over here at Gifts 2 Love all the time.  The social and emotional aspect of giftedness.  Gifted children, all children, are whole persons, small human beings, who don't deserve to be forced into a box where they might not fit.  They need development on so many more levels than academics and cannot be considered little machines who must pass a test at all costs.  Especially if that cost is their emotional well-being. 

And really, it just sickens me that there are companies out there exploiting a parent's desire to have a super-smart kid.  But it sickens me more that parents would exploit their kids and cheat the system and other, more qualified kids just to get an advantage for their own child. 

But this story isn't new, is it?  Parents have been doing this for years to their kids.  Sports, musical talent, acting skills, just to name a few.  This is just a new way for the same old song and dance of greed and exploitation. 

Sickening, I say.  Many of us out here struggle every day to make sure our gifted kids' needs are met, while others cheat the system. 

Sickening.  Thanks, The More Child, for your post.  Keeping informed is always good, no matter how appalling. 

Tell me what you all think of this article and the issue it raises.  Feel free to tell me I'm full of hot air - I might be!  Wouldn't be the first time . . . ;)
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