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Preparing for a GATE Evaluation

Gifted and Talented Expert Advice from Noreen H. Joslyn, LISW, ACSW

Q: My son was recommended for evaluation for the GATE (Gifted And Talented Education) program at his school. They will be testing him at the beginning of the coming school year. What can we expect at these tests and how can we better prepare our son for this evaluation?

A: As parents we want the best for our kids and want to better prepare them for entry into programs that could improve their education. Unlike SAT/ACT testing, however, there is no way to really prepare a child for intelligence testing through additional tutoring. If your son is already recommended for GATE program testing, then you must be doing something right already.

You do not state what type of testing will be done or your son's age. Over the summer, don't let his math and reading skills drop off. Encourage reading for fun, and math as part of games, etc. If he has a question on a word or concept, encourage him to look it up. Building models, playing with Legos (and other building toys), and putting together jigsaw puzzles encourage spatial skills.

I'm encouraging lots of fun stuff for your son over the summer that will secretly help his learning skills. When testing time arrives, make sure he is healthy and well-rested. No over-the-counter medication -- like antihistamines -- if possible. Remind him that he is already a good student, and being nervous or rushing through questions will not help him. Just encourage him to do his best. You can secretly be nervous for him. The purpose of ability testing is to assess a student as he really is. By helping him find learning fun over the summer, you will help him keep his skills sharp. Good luck.

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Noreen Joslyn is a licensed independent social worker in the state of Ohio and is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers. She has a master's degree in Social Work, specializing in family and children, from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a psychiatric social worker in private practice with Ken DeLuca, Ph.D. & Associates, where she counsels parents and children.


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