Posted by: waikatogifted | June 6, 2011

National Standards and the Gifted Child from a Parent’s Perspective

Guest blogger Janine Logan explains how the National Standards are working in practice for her two children – both gifted but achieving very different results.

My just turned 10 year old son is at the top of the range of all the National Standards, 100%, stanine 9, spelling age of 15, reading age of 16, etc. for a young year six. In years 4 and 5 it was the same. At the end of the year when the next lot of testing is done he will be the same. What do those statistics say about my son’s academic abilities and potential? Absolutely Nothing!!! It looks great on the school stats, but school has no idea what he can do or the level that he is really at. I did approach school to see if they could test him at a higher level (year 7 and 8 as he is currently working on year 8 maths) but the answer was a big NO! Why was that? Are they afraid that if he scores highly then they will be obliged to do something with him? I suspect so. Neither school, myself or my son have any real idea about where he is at or where the gaps in his knowledge lie. We would like to know so that we can fill the gaps and at least he would be moving forward and learning something, not sitting in class day dreaming, doing nothing but scoring 100%. Where in this are the signposts for further learning? There is no further learning. School have used it as an excuse to do nothing, “He is already where he needs to be by the end of year six so no need to worry about his learning.” Well he isn’t learning in class – he can already do it!

What are National Standards saying about him? Nothing apart from above average. Isn’t the whole idea about finding out where these children sit? allowing schools to test to national standards gives them an excuse not to go any further.

The other side of the coin is my gifted 7 year old who does not achieve so well in class. She is unidentified as gifted by school standards but is still very much in the gifted bracket. She is quiet, doesn’t stand out, is so shy that she will not provide answers in class or talk very much at all. She hides her talents so that she blends in with the crowd. Unfortunatley, she still does not ‘fit in’ but flying under the radar suits her. Not all gifted students achieve the National Standards so there is a false sense of achievement and potential. For me the standards show nothing of the levels of my two gifted kids, they just provide loopholes and a way out for schools to pass the buck and say they have done their job.

Silhouetted signpost with words not visible.

"Where in this are the signposts for further learning?", asks Janine Logan.

Photo by Flickr member JMC Photos.

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Responses

  1. Hi Janine, I also have a 10 year old son who sounds identical to your son academically. I have asked for him to be tested above what they do, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Long as they achieve then thats all the school needs to look great on the stats. I have no idea of my sons potential. It is certainly not being tapped into, challenged or utilized. All I can do is hope that maybe as he goes further through the system and into different schools, someone who has an interest in these kids will take the time and initiative to maximize the potential of these amazing little minds. In the mean time we go to ODS and do all we can out of school to challenge, educate, and satisfy his never ending hunger for knowledge.

  2. Thanks for sharing this Janine.
    I feel fortunate in that my kids school does attempt higher testing although sometimes I need to prompt. My son turns 10 in Sept and is a year 6 – at my request. While some educators are uncomfortable with this, I know it is right for him.
    My younger son is 7 and definitely has some issues with working memory and processing speed, even with this he is in the 98th percentile (IQ wise) but is badly underachieving. Sensitive and emotional, he is one I need to constantly work with the schools for.
    If I had general advice for anyone it is to keep trying with the school or look for other schools and for us the Educational Psychologist reports have been so worthwhile.
    I’m the NZAGC National librarian – if you would like any books to help challenge your kids at home, we have a great collection.
    Best of luck. Vicki. library@giftedchildren.org.nz


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