Should My Child Be Tested for Gifts and Talents?
Is testing right for my child?
Children differ in their physical, social and intellectual development. These differences can cause difficulties as students adapt to school or social situations, or as teachers adapt to a student's needs. If a student has trouble in school, testing can help in understanding possible reasons for the difficulty and lead the way to effective instruction.
Who should be tested?
Children who exhibit characteristics associated with gifts and talents should be tested if testing is necessary to enter special programs, if schools need further information to plan appropriate experiences, or if there are problems at home or school that cause concern. Some characteristics frequently associated with gifts and talents are:
Why should a child be tested?
Children should be tested if the test results will allow deeper understanding of individuals or will help them get a better education than they would otherwise. The results of sound testing help locate students who will benefit from advanced classes, individualization within a classroom, extracurricular activities, or counseling that will help develop their talents.
When should a child be tested?
Schools often have testing cycles and administer certain tests at predetermined times. Private counselors can test at any time of year. Testing for young children, particularly in preschool years, generally is less reliable than for older students.
What kinds of tests are used?
Many schools choose specific tests to identify students with gifts and talents. These may include:
These tests are designed to measure students' understanding of school subjects like math or reading.
Intelligence tests are designed to measure general intellectual ability.
These tests measure students' ability to generate original ideas or think in new ways.
Schools may use other tests for particular talents (like music) or to provide additional information about students whose language or culture differs from that in most tests. It is particularly important that students from minority populations be tested by someone skilled in recognizing gifts and talents in diverse cultures, using tests that minimize bias.
What questions should I ask when my child is tested?
It is important that you ask as many questions as you need in order to feel comfortable and understand the testing. If the answers are filled with educational jargon, ask another question! Some questions you might want to ask are:
Reprinted with the permission of the National Association for Gifted Children -- a non-profit association of teachers and parents that publishes educational materials, including the magazine "Parenting for High Potential."