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School is Reluctant to Test a Gifted Five-Year-Old
Q: My five-year-old is reading at a third-grade level and easily does first- and second-grade math. The school is reluctant to test her because if she does not receive an acceptable score, she cannot be tested again for two years. They also are balking at any suggestion of curriculum compacting or moving her up a grade. Should we push to have her tested for their gifted enrichment program and pursue a more rigorous academic schedule?
A: Since entry into your district's gifted coursework appears to be based on scoring, having your daughter tested would be your first priority. Certain intelligence tests are not valid if administered more frequently than every two to three years. It is also an extra expense for the school district. I question what gifted services are available in your district for kindergarteners. A short-term pullout class for five-year-olds based on art activities will not do very much for a child reading four years above grade level.
Based on what gifted services are offered, I would suggest you request testing for your daughter near the end of the kindergarten year. Her academic skills will be more solid and the testing results will have more validity due to her age. If the school district refuses, and you are certain of your daughter's advanced abilities, then you might consider having testing done privately. The district is balking now at curriculum compacting or grade-skipping because your daughter's abilities have not yet been documented. With solid results, you will have more to go on. 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.