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(The New York Times)   Scoring error in tests prevent 4700 NYC students from qualifying as gifted. If only there were a group of unusually smart people that could have helped prevent this   (nytimes.com) divider line 69
    More: Interesting, berg administration, Department of Education, Shael Polakow-Suransky  
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2829 clicks; posted to Main » on 20 Apr 2013 at 12:56 PM (51 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-20 04:17:27 PM

Pumpernickel bread: Well, what constitutes gifted is very arbitrary.  here, the cut is not 98 or 95%, but  90% and keep in mind this is NYC and not some elite school system.  Calling any of those students around the cut "gifted" is very misleading.


The approach the selective admission high achievers high school I want to was, I think, the best. It wasn't based on a test, you applied as if you were applying to college. There were minimum qualifications (so much advanced math), but the dropped some of those after they realized not everyone was offered those courses, and you applied. 2 essays (which apparently they now hand write in a test setting, since parents were apparently writing them for kids), transcript, and whatnot. And if you made the first cut, you go in for an interview, and they actually talk to you. They got a much better view for the students as people, and so there was a great mix there. Yes, you had the high achieving types who went balls to the wall and translated ancient greek manuscripts in their spare time (He later wound up at Harvard- and it looks like he's gonna be there a few more years. Ah, grad students posting their woes on facebook), but you also had a bunch of really smart, but laid back and friendly people who got good but not great grades because they didn't put too much pressure on themselves. That mix made everyone better people and better students.
 
2013-04-20 04:31:25 PM

Wodan11: Mrbogey: Wodan11: Tests do an adequate job of ranking people who are good at taking tests.

A test does a decent job gauging knowledge and skill.

You missed the point.  A surprising percentage of people have varying difficulty with test taking, that does not reflect their actual knowledge, skill, and ability.  (A test does not necessarily reflect your ability to function and perform in the real world.)


THIS.

It is one of the primary reasons - if not the reason - why not to use it for educational tracking that restricts educational access.
 
2013-04-20 04:48:34 PM

Vangor: JPSimonetti: Intelligent children don't need help in the form of 'special' classes.

Let me state a simple "F*ck You" to such an opinion. Gifted is developmental, and motivation is but one domain of a plethora of ways to be gifted. Gifted are not necessarily self-starters or studious or enthusiastic for learning or similar by nature. Those are behaviors which are instilled by environment, family, schooling, etc.. Further, for the school to not service gifted is to waste the resources of those gifted and of the school, whether or not those gifted venture home to watch documentaries and research online and such. But, this conception of gifted as those intrinsically motivated, introverted academics is one which comes from a lack of knowledge in the field.


I never said anything about gifted kids, so I don't why you're having a hissy fit at me. I said "intelligent." ... Anyone can memorize facts and numbers and be labeled "gifted" thought all it means is "good memory." If they don't have the passion to learn more on their own with no outside reward, they will be just another middle-class dumb shiat once their schooling days are over, while the ones with a passion for learning for the sake of learning are the ones that are changing the world.
 
2013-04-20 04:51:08 PM
Further proof that the world is run by "C" students.  No matter how gifted or talented you may be, at some point you will realize your livelihood and your future are being controlled by somebody who either 'just got by' or didn't even try in the areas where you excelled.

/and they will most likely profit handsomely from your 'giftiness'.
2.bp.blogspot.com
 
2013-04-20 06:32:22 PM

Wodan11: Mrbogey: Wodan11: Tests do an adequate job of ranking people who are good at taking tests.

A test does a decent job gauging knowledge and skill.

You missed the point.  A surprising percentage of people have varying difficulty with test taking, that does not reflect their actual knowledge, skill, and ability.  (A test does not necessarily reflect your ability to function and perform in the real world.)


A surprising percentage? Let me guess... still really low.

Tests are still a decent measurement of knowledge and skill.
 
2013-04-20 06:46:47 PM

Vangor: The most successful schools I have interacted with are those which are gifted schools in that all teachers have a significant amount of training in education of the gifted but the student body is not entirely gifted. Rather, students are taught as though gifted because students are matched by developmental level. Simply creating an honors school or whatever will not do this.


I always had the impression that very apt home-schooled students did this sort of thing. Just take the material as you age into it and it suits you. My handwriting was truly awful throughout elementary school, even though I worked at it. At some point, like a switch, I got the eye hand coordination necessary to improve at it. I never had any such problems in more academic venues; I was mostly ahead of the curve so it didn't come into play. It seems like school would be less stressful for all aptitudes if we allowed kids to go to their personal highest level.

But there is some limit to this; just because a 7 year old has the aptitude to do 10 year old work doesn't mean he functions well in class. My brother skipped a grade, and just being a year younger has big social ramifications. He wasn't slick to begin with. When I was a kid I wanted to skip too, but I was already younger than the cutoff. Elementary school differs from college. But then I'm not an educator, just my experiences.
 
2013-04-20 06:50:33 PM

DigitalCoffee: orbister: The idea of accurately measuring mathematical ability - or indeed any other ability - in five year olds is simply absurd.

Tell that to the batshiat crazy parents in NYC that torture their 3 and 4 year olds and spend thousands of dollars in order to get them into "The Best Kindergarten".


Indeed. "Batshiat crazy" is le phrase juste.
 
2013-04-20 06:53:02 PM

born_yesterday: Qellaqan: A friend of mine went to Thomas Jefferson in DC, which I take it is kind of an honors high school. That sounds worthwhile. In St Louis, the only options were stupidly expensive privates. My hs was quite challenging (honors classes, if nothing else, got rid of the kids that enjoyed being disruptive more than learning), however I always thought the approach of the district was misguided.

I have a personal contempt for the Thomas Jefferson gifted school in Fairfax.  When it first opened, my parents looked into getting me in there.   We were told "his grades just aren't high enough", despite the fact I was getting very high grades consistently, just not straight A's.  Oh, and I was "behind in my math classes".  My dad asked, "How can he be behind in math if he's taken every math class you've offered every year, and aced it?"  The response was, "Well, he can go to summer school to catch up, but he still probably won't get in."

They were stocking the farking school so they could justify its existence.  How can I be "behind" when I've met every obligation I was told about?  Was I supposed to volunteer to take extra classes in the summer?  Jesus, I would hate to be that kind of loser.  Anyways, I thought they were pretty shiatty about it.

Not that I care now, I'm still friends with many of the people I met in high school, and got into my state school of choice.


I don't doubt it. The guy I know who went there has been in training to be a professor it seems like his whole life. A girl I know who went there also seemed incapable of the concept of humor. There are more things to learn than equations and literary analysis.

Maybe it's good I didn't have access. I went through a fun little phase in middle school in which I figured out that there were no consequences for bad grades (besides punishment from my parents). So I proceeded to get straight D's, and still get put in the honors classes. I just wouldn't do the homework. I read a lot of books and did a lot of really creative stuff with the time it gave me (telling kids I was an alien, etc). I understood that hs grades counted tho, so I had to buckle under. It's a shame that the pressure to perform keeps getting transferred to younger and younger kids.
 
2013-04-20 07:01:18 PM

Mrbogey: Wodan11: You missed the point.  A surprising percentage of people have varying difficulty with test taking, that does not reflect their actual knowledge, skill, and ability.  (A test does not necessarily reflect your ability to function and perform in the real world.)

A surprising percentage? Let me guess... still really low.

Tests are still a decent measurement of knowledge and skill.


I daresay it's a higher percentage than the percentage of so-called "gifted" individuals.  So, if we're willing to devote resources for one group that can better optimize their learning potential by being segregated and given separate treatment to some degree, surely we should be willing to do the same for the other group as well.
 
2013-04-20 07:01:29 PM

Mrbogey: Tests are still a decent measurement of knowledge and skill.


And a very, very bad measurement of aptitude and potential. It's trivial easy to test what someone knows or what someone can do. It's extremely difficult to test what someone might be able to learn or what someone might be able to do.

In the UK we had academic selection at around 11 years old for many years. Those who passed the "11-plus" went to grammar schools while those who failed went to secondary moderns. And you know what? It didn't work, and those few areas which still have two-tier schools, it still doesn't work. It's impossible to make reliable predictions of ability at 11 and even if it was possible a system like that simply can't cope with children who have different abilities in different areas. The most gifted 12 year old programmer I ever met was illiterate.

The net result was that around 1/3 of grammar school pupils emerged with no significant exam qualifications (in US terms they didn't get within two years of graduating) while many able children had their lives blighted by failing an exam at 11.

I am all for giving those who are interested and able in a subject the maximum encouragement and the chance to take their interest and ability further with their peers. The idea that you can apply a test which will establish who is "gifted" and who isn't, though, is ridiculous. Opportunities to excel should be offered to children constantly throughout their education.
 
2013-04-20 07:13:24 PM

orbister: I am all for giving those who are interested and able in a subject the maximum encouragement and the chance to take their interest and ability further with their peers. The idea that you can apply a test which will establish who is "gifted" and who isn't, though, is ridiculous. Opportunities to excel should be offered to children constantly throughout their education.


This.  In fact, I'd suspect that the gifted are more likely to be less easily quantifiable by tests, so using a test to determine who they are is kind of ridiculous.

Gifted would include both those with all-around intelligence as well as those more properly described as idiot savants.  Savants wouldn't test well no matter how you slice it.  All-around gifted wouldn't generally study or prepare for tests... they would have never had to.  So someone who wasn't that intelligent who prepared for the gifted exam and who is able to do well in tests because that's their inclination and training/education (they had always studied for tests), would be more likely to do well on the gifted exam than someone much more intelligent who had never studied in his life and as a result had more of a problem getting motivated to really apply himself than anything else.
 
2013-04-20 07:29:51 PM

Wodan11: In fact, I'd suspect that the gifted are more likely to be less easily quantifiable by tests, so using a test to determine who they are is kind of ridiculous.


Agree. High ability is very often quirky and uneven: we've all met people who can learn new languages in a couple of days but can't add up a bill or people who can't think in four dimensions but have terrible spelling. These are the people who most benefit from special provision but are least likely to get through an are-you-gifted-or-not binary test.
 
2013-04-20 07:44:29 PM
Somebody got caught trying to keep the schwarzes away from the chosen children, lol. I wonder who was going to out this? Somehow they were forced to backpedal and throw the testing company under the bus.
 
2013-04-20 08:51:28 PM
I'd be impressed if there were that many people in NYC who could count to belly button.
Why don't they just declare all the students "gifted"?
It's probably a law anyway.
 
2013-04-21 02:00:38 AM

Mrbogey: Comsamvimes: Only the 90 percentile for the district-wide program? That's pretty low bar.

KrispyKritter: [Midvale School for the Gifted pic]

One of my friend's I was in the gifted program with at my school regularly wore a shirt with that comic on it.

I did the same with my gifted class.

Wodan11: Tests do an adequate job of ranking people who are good at taking tests.

A test does a decent job gauging knowledge and skill.


because clearly, intelligence is only memorization of words.  Anything else is balderwash.

/accepted into gifted school
//nearly failed high school due to above
/// why yes my family were hunters and trappers
 
2013-04-21 02:09:07 AM

JPSimonetti: Vangor: JPSimonetti: Intelligent children don't need help in the form of 'special' classes.

Let me state a simple "F*ck You" to such an opinion. Gifted is developmental, and motivation is but one domain of a plethora of ways to be gifted. Gifted are not necessarily self-starters or studious or enthusiastic for learning or similar by nature. Those are behaviors which are instilled by environment, family, schooling, etc.. Further, for the school to not service gifted is to waste the resources of those gifted and of the school, whether or not those gifted venture home to watch documentaries and research online and such. But, this conception of gifted as those intrinsically motivated, introverted academics is one which comes from a lack of knowledge in the field.

I never said anything about gifted kids, so I don't why you're having a hissy fit at me. I said "intelligent." ... Anyone can memorize facts and numbers and be labeled "gifted" thought all it means is "good memory." If they don't have the passion to learn more on their own with no outside reward, they will be just another middle-class dumb shiat once their schooling days are over, while the ones with a passion for learning for the sake of learning are the ones that are changing the world.


Or the ones that know how to solve problems.  In fact if you asked me what strives genius and invention, i would say laziness and boredom.  Just look at a bunch of lazy bored farkers compared to billion dollar news channels.

The ones with great memories are almost always the definition of tools.
 
2013-04-21 07:53:18 AM

Dwindle: I'd be impressed if there were that many people in NYC who could count to belly button.
Why don't they just declare all the students "gifted"?
It's probably a law anyway.


That, or when parents go to the school board meeting and complain.  And the school board bends over and takes it...because they don't want to upset anyone.  Or they are afraid of getting sued.

These are the same parents who will call the dean at their kids college and complain that the professor in one of their kids classes gave their snowflake a B (or horror a C).   And these are the same parents who will call the HR dept where their snowflake interviewed and tell the HR person "you have to hire my son/daughter."

The "soccer moms" of the 90's are the helicopter parents of the 21st century
 
2013-04-21 09:36:38 AM

JPSimonetti: Anyone can memorize facts and numbers and be labeled "gifted" thought all it means is "good memory."


No, this is not what gifted means. Gifted refers to intelligence, an extremely multifaceted concept. Having a good memory is often a characteristic associated with gifted but is not a defining characteristic.

JPSimonetti: If they don't have the passion to learn more on their own with no outside reward, they will be just another middle-class dumb shiat once their schooling days are over, while the ones with a passion for learning for the sake of learning are the ones that are changing the world.


Hence the primary purpose of many quality gifted programs is not to teach gifted simply on an accelerated rate but to cultivate such motivation and the tools to utilize motivation.

Qellaqan: But there is some limit to this; just because a 7 year old has the aptitude to do 10 year old work doesn't mean he functions well in class. My brother skipped a grade, and just being a year younger has big social ramifications. He wasn't slick to begin with. When I was a kid I wanted to skip too, but I was already younger than the cutoff. Elementary school differs from college. But then I'm not an educator, just my experiences.


There is a severe misunderstanding in education about acceleration and the social ramifications. Students who are accelerated through an appropriate program, including radical accelerands three or more grades above age level, have better academic, social, and emotional outcomes. Now, you are correct in simply having the aptitude to do the work does not mean the student should be in such an environment. This is called asynchronous development, and many educators mistake high cognitive abilities with maturity level, what I call a "cognitive filter".
 
2013-04-21 12:22:56 PM

links136: because clearly, intelligence is only memorization of words. Anything else is balderwash.


If you only took tests that relied only on rote memorization then your school did it wrong.

So what's your recommendation in lieu of tests? Teachers gut feeling of who is the best educated?
 
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