african american children of color gifted and talented

Hello?! My Child is Gifted and Talented…I Think

Posted on Posted in Blog, Color Me Educated

Hello?! My Child is Gifted and Talented…I Think

Knowing the rules is an important part of winning at any game, right?  I was one of the younger kids in the neighborhood growing up. For a few years I had to sit on the curb and watch the big kids play kickball, the main sport on our street.  From my curbside seat I saw and knew the kickball rules.  First base was Mrs. Amaker’s mailbox.  Second was whatever item found that could be placed in the middle of the street.  And third base was Mrs. Anderson’s mailbox.  My legs were not long enough to kick the ball worth a distance to give me a fighting chance to first base. And there was no way I could change the rules so that home plate and first base were a wee bit closer together.  Even still I wanted a chance to play and prove myself.   
I’ve learned in life there are rules for many things. There are rules at work that one must abide by in order to have any hope of getting a promotion.  Without a doubt as a parent I have learned that there are definitely rules for school.  I thought the rules were that I had to help my child with homework and read to them until they could read for themselves.  Wrong. The school rules have changed. Nowadays homework grades and even nine week grades pale in comparison to the worth of standardized test scores.  Especially when you want your child in a Gifted and Talented (G&T) program. 
G&T programs expose students to a variety of activities/experiences designed to promote critical and creative thinking and inquiry.  More importantly, G&T students are eligible for accelerated and honors classes – from elementary to high school.  These classes are usually better as they cover more material in depth and prepare students for college level work. Every school district is different, but G&T programs can start as early as elementary school.   By middle school most students are definitely separated by test scores into accelerated or honors classes.  
I used to think that my child’s teacher would see the pure genius in her and put pen to paper quickly to recommend her for G&T programs…ahhhh, no! It don’t work like that.  While definitions of giftedness are subjective, for the most part schools define it as students showing the potential to perform above the average.   The rules for an invitation to G&T are usually (again every school districts requirement are different) based on several criteria.
  • Scores on nationwide tests (i.e. CogAT, OLSAT) – scoring in the 93rd to 98th percentile (depending on their grade level) for their age or grade level
  • Scores on district wide tests (i.e. MAP, state-wide testing in the spring) – scoring in at least the 94th percentile (depending on their grade level) for their age or grade level
  • Teacher recommendations (most times teacher recommendations are based on test scores…)
 In a nutshell if your child is performing above average on all of their standardized tests or even just in one area of a standardized test and you feel the school is overlooking their potential then you might want to call a conference with someone – immediately.
 At the end of the day I know that standardized tests are no indication of how smart my three really are. They are all gifted and talented in some way, whether the school recognizes it or not.  As of right now I am not able to change or broaden the G&T requirements.  Just like kickball I can’t go in and change rules that were already rolling along before I got there.  As it stands our three will have to play by the rules already set in motion, just to get a chance to prove themselves. 


Do you think your child has been overlooked for G&T programs?


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