Academic Achievement

[deleted account] ( 13 moms have responded )

I have previously stated that I teach Gifted kids in my district, grades 2-8. Over the past few years, I get parents emailing me about what they can do to help their child 'pass' the Gifted assessment. They go on to explain how bright they are, how they think critically, and out side the box, has straight A's, performs math at a high level, and reads 3 grade levels above, etc. Ultimately, many of these kids do not pass the assessment. They are, indeed high achievers and inquistive, but not in the Gifted range. I'm curious on your point of view about how far a parent should press the issue of being in an accelerated or Gifted program.

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[deleted account]

I think parents can certainly take things too far. Kids need a chance to just be kids, and academic pressures can get to be too much. But the gifted program at my school had a huge advantage of a low student to teacher ratio. In middle school, my class typically had about 5 students in it, as opposed to the 25-30 students. This in itself would be a good reason to tempt parents to push the issue. Having the same teacher for several years and a small class has so many advantages, not even considering the academic side. I know that the teacher I had became a very important figure in my life - I even invited her to my wedding a few years ago! Of course, I still don't agree with all the test prep and such for elementary schoolers. They all have their own strengths and weaknesses, and Gifted programs are just one of many outlets for their talents.

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Erin - posted on 09/09/2009

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Alison I share your sentiment in wishing my daughter doesn't get labelled 'gifted' as I was (she's only a baby so I obviously have no idea at this point). One of my first memories is of my Grandad pointing out a flashy car in the street and telling me "you can have a nice car like that when you're a doctor". I was 3. I never want my daughter to experience that kind of pressure and expectation.
In saying that, my parents tried to apply a balance to my academic success, and I was lucky that school did just come naturally and easily to me. I still played a lot of sport and had a lot of friends, and when I sat the Gifted Assessment at 11 it was my choice as to whether to go to the selective high school or continue to the local school with my friends. But the expectation associated with being labelled 'gifted' was always there, right through high school and university.

[deleted account]

I don't think parents should push their kids into the gifted program at all. I suspect my own son is gifted, but I hope not. I'm hoping that he is just like one of those highly intelligent kids Sharon described in her OP. I don‘t want all that for my child, I just want him to be happy.



Plus the women in one of the several gifted groups on CoM don’t let just anyone join to get support or ask questions. They only want mothers of children who are certified as gifted and they have no interest in giving advice to moms like me. I don't know if I want to have anything to do with all that anyway.

[deleted account]

I have to admit that I never passed the Gifted test. I was a bright student and definately had strengths and weaknesses (still do). I am more of a linguistic learner-writing, reading, literature, Social Studies/Hisotry, facts, infomration. Science & Math just never did it for me! But I agree about pushing a LAZY kid-my parents had to do it for me. At the middle school age, it is so very typical of kids wanting to be normal kids and not associated with any kind of advanced or accelerated program. 4 of my 8th graders go to the High School for math. One of my 5th gades goes to the middle school for Math as well. Grade skipping, early enterance to Kinder, early graduation from HS are all forms of advancement-Gifted or not. I have some incredibly supportive parents who love that my program is a 'de-stresser', but at one point I did teach Advanced Reading. My 8th graders focuses on 9th/10th curriculum. And now, in my current 8th grade class, we are focusing on the school newspaper and many of my sources are coming from a high school journalism site. But it's all good, cause the 8th grade curriculum is not challenging enough.

Erin - posted on 09/09/2009

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Well I guess my perspective of this is a effected by the fact that I WAS a Gifted child, and DID pass the Gifted and Talented Assessment to gain entry into my academically selective high school. I sat the test in 1992 and even then parents were tutoring their kids so they'd pass the test and get in. I thought it was ridiculous then, and still do.

By pushing a child into an accelerated program or gifted school parents are setting that child up for a long battle to keep up with the workload and cope with the pace of learning. I saw it happen to friends of mine, and it's very disheartening for those kids. Instead of studying hard and being top of their 'normal' class, they have to struggle every day with the pressure (to the detriment of every other facet of their lives) and still end up at the bottom.

I would much rather my child have a balanced life of study, sport, music and friends. Education is important, but so are social skills and health and fitness. I would never want my daughter in a school or gifted program that made it impossible for her to experience these other facets of childhood.

Brenda - posted on 09/08/2009

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I think it all depends on your child's personality. I have to push my oldest son (as much as I hate it) because he can be flat out LAZY. The kid is exceptionally bright, loves to read, excels in Math & Science. You can quiz him on any subject, he knows all the answers, but trying to get him to write them down is next to impossible-- unless it's something he is very passionate about. All of his teachers recognize his potential and see how smart he is. He has been doing advanced work with the learning specialist since he was in kindergarten. They tested him in 1st grade for advanced placement and he scored a 95% on the test, but it took them 3 hours to get him to sit down and do the test!!! It's SO frustrating for me to watch and I just don't know how to get him excited about school. :( We have tried different types of programs, Montessori, all kinds of techniques... I am open to anything at this point!!!

Amie - posted on 09/08/2009

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I'll never understand why, when a parent sees their child is a high achiever, that they should automatically be in a gifted program. I'm quite proud of my children, no matter where they are, so long as they do their very best. My SIL is a high achiever, always has been, she skipped two grades, her parents never felt the need to put her in a gifted program. They specifically told the schools not to actually, hence the skipping of grades. Not sure why though, I should ask sometime. LOL!

Our oldest is a good example of what you can do when you apply yourself. She struggled her first couple years in school. We have a great education system though. They caught it in Kindergarten and started to/continue to work with us so that Nicole has everything she needs and she is where she should be. It's been a long road, she has ADHD, but she is where she needs to be and has even surpassed a few of her peers in her public school. She also attended a school for kids with learning disabilities for half days last year. This year will be her 2nd and last year in the school for learning disabilities. She did that well, most kids are in there for 3-4 years. She applied herself, worked on it over the summer even and still loves school. It was never a burden for her, she wanted to do great and continues to want to. She takes PRIDE in her work. Too many kids do not now a days. She has a better work ethic in her at 9 years old than I see in the majority of teenagers I run into. My husband and I will continue to nurture her that in her. So long as she applies herself and does her best I will never push. I don't need to, she knows what is expected and does it.

Our boy just started Kindergarten next week and so far he is showing the same exuberance for school. I'm hoping that will continue as it did for our oldest. I also hope that our youngest two take to it as well as our other two.

I don't think it's right to push/force your child to go so hard that it becomes a burden for them. That they end up getting so sick of it they stop trying. We've found a good balance for our children. They do their best, they do extra work after schools because they want to, they have never come home with homework (well again our daughter, our son just started.), they understand how important it is and use their time wisely.

If any of them end up in the gifted programs here we will thoroughly check them before we say yes or no. If we like them then yes they will be there, if not, our public school system is great enough that they can stay where they are. Depends on the pros and cons. I can't speculate much since I don't know how any of them are, here or in any other country.

[deleted account]

All wonderful responses! I have to say that a few parents I have encountered over the past 2-3 school years seem to thrive on the "Gifted" label, especially if multiple children have been identified. Of course you will always have over-achievers, and then of course those parents who never have a clue what's going on. But those parents who I hear from the most always want to get their kid into this & that program. For some kids, it's overload. I run an enrichment program-not an academically accelerated program. Mine is a lot of project based learning focusing on critical thinking, problem solving, technology, creativity, etc. Some parents also push for the academic acceleration to make sure their child is in a grade level above Math/Reading/Language. Then there are Saturday classes at the local university!

Konda - posted on 09/08/2009

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Yes, I guess "not pushing" was the wrong term, 'not forcing' is what I meant...I expect the best they can do. I will expect A's and B's if that is their best. I will not punish for a C if I know they truly studied and did their best.

Sharon - posted on 09/08/2009

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I guess I have to clarify.

I encourange my kids to better. I push them when I think they need it, hold them up when I think they need it. But I don't force them into things they don't want.

Jeannette - posted on 09/08/2009

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I've always pushed my kids. I can tell you from experience, not being pushed didn't do me any good. My daughter got scholarships when she graduated...me nor my siblings were elligible. To this day we feel like our parents didn't care about our education.
I think pushing is good...forcing is a whole other story. We don't make them stay up all hours studying, ground them for not making straight As. We do ground them for Cs and anything below. If we didn't push them, they wouldn't strive. I feel like their lives have been easy and have had too many choices...not just them, but their generation.
We pushed my oldest to get a job when she was 16 and marching season ended. We didn't push her to work a lot of hours, we didn't care if she only worked 10 or less, we just wanted her to have a clue as to what it took to earn a dollar. I don't know how much of a clue she has though...she spent soooo much money on clothes and accessories, and put NOTHING towards her education.
Yep, our fault! lol!

Sharon - posted on 09/08/2009

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The gifted program is useful. Its not a tell all for a childs intelligence or motivation.

Parents should not push their children to score higher in order to be accepted to the gifted program. Their child is either naturally that intelligent or their child is not. And their child may not want to be in the gifted program.

Konda - posted on 09/08/2009

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I will never push my kids into anything, I will encourage them to do their best...and I will decide their best, not let them get away with too little. I want them to do their very best in school and hopefully sports since hubby and I both play some in school and love sports. I do want them to go to college and get a degree, although as long as they get into a career that can support them, such as police/fire/EMT...then I am fine with that. I will hog-tie them and lock them in the attic if either of my boys wants to join the armed forces, yes I am patriotic, no I do not want my children dying for their country or anyone else's country.



So to answer your question, I would not push them or make them try to get into a program they were not suited for.

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