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Mom Intimidated by Gifted Testing

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

Q: My second-grader's school requested permission to test my son for their GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) program. The criteria include a WISC-III IQ test, the SAT, teacher judgment (based on the Renzulli-Hartman Scale), and peer nomination.

This seems very intense to me. I signed the permission form because my son really wants to be involved in this program, but I feel ill-at-ease. I know he's very smart, but now the term "gifted" is being thrown around and quite honestly I find it intimidating. Do you have any advice for me?

A: The process sounds more intense than it is. There's a quick teacher-checklist, a group achievement test which your child may have already taken, and an IQ test that many bright kids actually find interesting.

Where I came to a halt in your question was "peer nomination." Kids get to pick other kids they think are bright students? Second-graders shouldn't be making this decision -- it could turn into a popularity contest, and I hope this part of the evaluation isn't being given much weight.

Don't be intimidated just yet by all this discussion of giftedness. Your son is still the same smart little guy you've always known. If he's admitted to the GATE program, we've got lots of good information on this website to help you make good educational and parenting decisions for him. Good luck.

More on: Expert Advice

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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