Friday, January 06, 2012

"Not a one shot event"

I was reading Scott Barry Kaufman's post on gifted education over at the Huffington Post, where he mentioned a report that will be soon published in the Journal of Applied School Psychology. The report surveys gifted policies in the various states, and makes recommendations.

One? The very sensible idea that gifted identification should "be a recurring phenomena, not a one-shot event." The old idea that you test once at third grade has a lot of holes in it. For starters, the "third grade" idea seems quite late to me. Apparently people were concerned that some kids learned more at home or went to pre-school, but by third grade, this would all come out in the wash. How arbitrary. Why not 2nd grade, or 4th grade? If gifted identification is about school accommodation (as it should be) then kids should be tested as they're starting school. That is, around kindergarten. If people really think everything will come out in the wash by third grade, then keep testing. And why not after that too? There's nothing magical about third grade.

Personally, I like the idea of individually-matched curriculum and pacing, as is becoming more possible through digital learning. In this case, you're constantly testing and figuring out what a child needs. You can also move at different paces for different subjects. Much of our approach to education is stuck in old mindsets, but here's hoping this is the year this starts changing.

As we start another year with Gifted Exchange, I'd love to hear what people would like to see covered. My oldest child will be starting kindergarten in the fall so, after years of shooting off my mouth about schools and curricula and testing and the like, I'll finally have some personal experience with it. Digital learning will be a big topic this year, and possibly education policy too, with it being an election year. Ideas are welcome!


Anna said...

My son was admitted to a gifted program in an Indiana public school starting in 1st grade. The year after he started, the gifted program was expanded to include kindergarten. Every year, one or two students seem to be added to the program in his grade. Although, it gets harder for new students to fit in each year as his class is getting further and further ahead of the regular classes.

Corin Barsily Goodwin said...

You wrote: "If gifted identification is about school accommodation (as it should be)..." I have to strenuously disagree with that point. Gifted identification is about understanding a whole child - or adult - and how their brain works, what makes them who they are. Giftedness isn't just what they need in school; it impacts their entire lives. That's why it's important to identify and acknowledge giftedness in any child - schooled, homeschooled - and in adults who can use the diagnosis as path down which to walk as they come to better understand themselves.

Anonymous said...

I was admitted to my districts gifted education program during the second semester of my 5th grade year. My 5th grade teacher apparently thought my parents were against the program, and questioned my parents on the reason I was not in it. Apparently I had been overlooked. It is not fool proof. I had a friend who wasn't identified until 8th grade.