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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 25
    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 (52 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-20 02:38:40 PM
2 votes:

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.
2013-04-20 01:43:26 PM
2 votes:
Unusually smart people who work in education? Subby, you make me laugh. And so does the Far Side cartoon, even though I is gifted me self.

I know how we are. Smart people can do the stupidest things.
2013-04-20 01:09:24 PM
2 votes:
www.thenae.org
2013-04-20 07:29:51 PM
1 votes:

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 07:01:29 PM
1 votes:

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 06:46:47 PM
1 votes:

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 04:51:08 PM
1 votes:
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 03:27:08 PM
1 votes:

born_yesterday: Qellaqan: Aidan: Qellaqan: If we're going to do gifted, do it right.

There are full classes for gifted. I know of two programs (at least), where the gifted students take their own classes from their own teachers in their own rooms, and barely interact with the rest of the students in the school. I understand how stupid it is to single out a kid (went through it briefly), but there are immersive options, provided they're offered in your area.

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.


Sounds like you just didn't meet the standards set by the school that other applicants met... not really sure why you still carry a grude.
2013-04-20 03:03:28 PM
1 votes:

cajunns: If that many "gifted" children are in one state or school, district;why then are so many adult americans unable to find the USA on a map; perhaps the gift is to be a banker in the US where the don't worry about those things...except for screwing all the other americans


Based on the 1.1 million served and the fact the previous number of students qualifying, 9,020, was higher than the number of seats, the percentage of students who qualify as gifted should be around 10%. Using the 9,020 number, again higher than actual seats, this is 0.8%, and across 13 grade levels, K-12, this is only 10.6%; below 8,500 seats and this would represent 10% of the student population. However, the projections for available seats is not meeting growth of student population which suggests previous years have fewer and fewer seats, further lowering the 10% figure. This assumes the system does not remove the gifted label or otherwise remove students from the program; removal of the label is unlikely, but from the program is possible, which would lower the figure more. 10% is reasonable.
2013-04-20 02:59:22 PM
1 votes:

Aidan: Qellaqan: If we're going to do gifted, do it right.

There are full classes for gifted. I know of two programs (at least), where the gifted students take their own classes from their own teachers in their own rooms, and barely interact with the rest of the students in the school. I understand how stupid it is to single out a kid (went through it briefly), but there are immersive options, provided they're offered in your area.


There are entire schools. Several states have 2 or 3 year high schools that are state wide magnets.
2013-04-20 02:39:57 PM
1 votes:
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". Of course there is no shortage of companies that sell the idea to those on the lower half of the bell-curve that they can simply buy their child's way into the upper half of the bell-curve if they only "Act NOW! Supplies ARE Limited!!"
2013-04-20 02:32:31 PM
1 votes:

Aidan: If I could find a group that was doing substantive things, I'd definitely be glad to hitch my wagon to that star. *tips hat*


My usual recommendation to parents seeking other resources which are generally unavailable is find ways to do this yourself. Being gifted is about development, and any little experience will help. Unfortunately, gifted is often thought of within the context of primary and secondary education, and this is the great battle the majority of advocates and educators for the gifted are pitched in, thus advocacy groups and organizations are about professional development, research, policy, identification, etc., not parent outreach.

brantgoose: Unusually smart people who work in education? Subby, you make me laugh. And so does the Far Side cartoon, even though I is gifted me self.


There is a position I refer to in my district as "the only gifted position" because this is literal in two senses. My district has a handful of quite intelligent folk working hard, but there is a mass of idiots on the national, state, district, and school levels trying hard to f*ck things up.

Qellaqan: One assigned a project while we were gone.


Our policy is any work assigned while my students are out is not required of them. Also, my students are not to bring any work to my class or other services. As well, periods such as recess are not to be used to make up any missed work or tests. No one has complained about my policy, and several have praised the policy because the program is not meant to be tacked-on. We are not random times or simply efforts to placate parents.

Aidan: where the gifted students take their own classes from their own teachers in their own rooms, and barely interact with the rest of the students in the school.


There should be a significant but not majority time spent with gifted peers, but the bigger issue is the majority of time should be spent with cognitive peers. In general, this means acceleration by a grade level or specific subject. This does not mean creating classes for the gifted alone.

Qellaqan: however I always thought the approach of the district was misguided.


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.

MBrady: I'd rather have an average student with common sense and real life experience, than some "gifted and talented" book smart dope who cannot apply him/herself in real life situations.


This is a selection bias which happens because teachers who tend to be those who succeeded in academics choose those who present high abilities in the academic setting. Since the academic setting perpetuates itself via those teachers as being pencil and paper, textbook, memorization, etc., the academic setting gives few but the well-behaved, organized, and studious an opportunity to be identified; teachers are the gatekeepers in this. There are also states and districts which use standardized test scores as means to recommend or identify for gifted, further reinforcing the idea of gifted as academics. This is reinforcing, of course, because teachers and students have gone through many years of seeing the gifted as the academics.

The gifted education field is quite different, and for the last couple of decades we have been striving to expand identification instruments and procedures as we greatly expand our conception of gifted and intelligence. States cling to these objective, numerical measures, whereas theory and advocacy have shifted to nonexhaustive criteria ranked against current environment and needs of additional services focused on individual needs.
2013-04-20 02:13:43 PM
1 votes:
Why do we regard intelligence as a gift? More like a curse, if you ask me.

Remember wise old Solomon,
as wise as he could be?
He was the wisest man on Earth,
and so, he cursed the day of his birth.
He knew that all was vanity.
So, not much fun
had Solomon.
I think that we can all agree,
that we are much better off than he.
His brains, it was, that put him on the spot.
I thought that brains were good?
Guess not.

Kurt Weil/Berthold Brecht - from The Threepenny Opera
2013-04-20 02:04:05 PM
1 votes:
Unfortunately you are dealing with unusually stupid people aka school officials and unusually greedy people aka politicians.
2013-04-20 01:43:01 PM
1 votes:
They will be thankful later in life.  Being labeled as gifted is a curse and your only friends will be in the marching band.

/experience ...
2013-04-20 01:35:27 PM
1 votes:

Aidan: I dunno. Seems like a minor issue (especially for 5 year olds, cripes) but of course it's not to those 4700 people and you gotta do something with special kids besides stuffing them in the barrel of education... OR we could just overhaul education to provide better services to more students that would take their intellect, maturity, and other talents into account... NAH. Crazy talk!


Give me ten years and I will begin this overhaul. I work in gifted education not because I think there is a hard cut between gifted and non-gifted but because I recognize differences in potential, developmental rates, aptitudes, etc., require different services, which our system in general does not want to recognize cause this would require thinking as radical as the Cardinal Principles or Committee which were only about a century ago...
2013-04-20 01:29:39 PM
1 votes:
The only proof I need that IQ/SAT are bullshiat is that I somehow managed to score exceptionally high on them.

They're effective for screening the low end, but don't mean shiat for sorting out the mid/high end.
2013-04-20 01:23:16 PM
1 votes:

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


The OLSAT does to a large degree, the Naglieri not as much. Both are Pearson products and New York shifted away from the OLSAT to the NNAT quite recently. Still, I use the NNAT for screening rather than identification which it isn't precise enough for, in my opinion.
2013-04-20 01:22:05 PM
1 votes:

born_yesterday: KittyGlitterSparkles: Those gifted programs are BS. There were many very intelligent people in my HS in many AP classes but not in the program. The kids in program just got a special room where they could screw around in their free time.

I remember not envying them in elementary school.  They got to go to their special room during recess for God's sake.  Yeah, because smart kids don't want/need to play outside.


I caught on to that scam in 8th grade.  From 8th to 11th, there was a special "gifted" path that did more work prepping for APs than the rest.  But you could also test into APs from the regular path.  Getting straight 'A's in the non-gifted path was 10x easier than competing for grades in the gifted group.  So I opted out, took all regular classes, tested into the 5 AP classes I wanted, and had great grades with not much effort.
2013-04-20 01:20:13 PM
1 votes:
Tests do an adequate job of ranking people who are good at taking tests.
2013-04-20 01:20:10 PM
1 votes:
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.
2013-04-20 01:12:37 PM
1 votes:

KittyGlitterSparkles: Those gifted programs are BS. There were many very intelligent people in my HS in many AP classes but not in the program. The kids in program just got a special room where they could screw around in their free time.


Your gifted program may well have been, as are many. There is no consistent definition of 'gifted' nor identification procedures nor services and programs, and worse is a lack of requirement for states or districts to adopt gifted identification or services. Such programs become worthless because of an utter lack of focus and thorough misunderstanding of asynchronous development and intelligence across several levels of the education system. Over the last three months with my current school, we have added three services, two identification procedures, began collaborating with all teachers, and amassed well over 100 recommendations from VPK to 6th and began to review and compile data on each, and the enrichment classroom the majority are accustom to has had the curriculum utterly reworked to align with NAGC standards and be supported by research. Also, teachers and guidance have to do less paperwork.

The ones in New York may be bullsh*t, but I want to establish early in the comments few gifted programs are similar due to vast differences in definition, mandates, identification procedures and instruments, services within the schools, etc..
2013-04-20 01:03:42 PM
1 votes:

KittyGlitterSparkles: Those gifted programs are BS. There were many very intelligent people in my HS in many AP classes but not in the program. The kids in program just got a special room where they could screw around in their free time.


I remember not envying them in elementary school.  They got to go to their special room during recess for God's sake.  Yeah, because smart kids don't want/need to play outside.
2013-04-20 01:01:42 PM
1 votes:
Those gifted programs are BS. There were many very intelligent people in my HS in many AP classes but not in the program. The kids in program just got a special room where they could screw around in their free time.
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-04-20 09:30:11 AM
1 votes:
According to Pearson, three mistakes were made. Students' ages, which are used to calculate their percentile ranking against students of similar age, were recorded in years and months, but should also have counted days to be precise. Incorrect scoring tables were used. And the formula used to combine the two test parts into one percentile ranking contained an error.

The first is too trivial to correct. The second and third may be minor mistakes or major mistakes.

One parent, Rena M. Ismail, 36, who had been told that her 5-year-old son, Hyder, was not eligible for a gifted seat, said the department informed her that her son had scored in the 89th percentile, when, by her math, he was in the 91st.

It's fine for a test to select the top 10% to include some 89th percentile students and exclude some 91st percentile students. The test is not that accurate and it's feeding into a lottery anyway. I have the same feeling about standardized tests used as graduation requirements. If you're so educationally challenged that your properly calculated score is the minimum passing grade, erroneously subtracting one more point does not do the world any harm.
 
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