TALKING TO STUDENTS ABOUT TESTING
Lewisville ISD Gifted & Talented Services
Assessment instruments are used to identify students with high levels of cognitive ability and achievement in relation to peers of a similar age.
A committee will review all available data to determine if the district's gifted/talented service model is a good fit for your student.
All assessments used are a snapshot of your child's ability and achievement levels.
Explaining Giftedness to Kids
Being gifted doesn’t mean some students are better than others, nor does it mean that everything will come easily for gifted students.
Everyone is different in some way. We all have different skin, eye, and hair colors. Some people are tall and others are short. Various shapes and sizes exist, too.
The same is true of how we think. Some of us think quickly, and some think more slowly. Some people do better in school, and some have a harder time. Some people are easily frustrated, while others are more patient. We’re all different, and that’s okay.
Students who qualify for gifted/talented services are those who need specialized support and opportunities to collaborate with other students who think like they do.
Bright vs. Gifted
Students are typically referred for testing when they stand out in class or at home. A child wouldn't be referred for formal testing unless someone recognized potential.
It's easy to confuse a bright student with one who is considered gifted.
- Bright students may know the answers and enjoy school.
- Gifted students have advanced insight and enjoy learning in any setting.
- Bright students may have good ideas and like the company of their peers.
- Gifted students might have wild, highly imaginative ideas and may prefer the company of older children or adults.
- Bright learners may be good memorizers and learn in a linear, sequential way.
- Gifted learners have a deep fund of knowledge and thrive on complex learning challenges.
- Bright students may easily absorb information and be pleased with what they learn.
- Gifted students use information they learn to gain even more knowledge and always want to learn more.
Speak honestly with your child about testing and share how the assessments are designed to help teachers find out more about how your child learns.
Explain that the evaluation process is designed for students of all ability types, and that there is no “passing the test.”
It's important to alleviate any pressure your child may feel regarding test performance. Reinforce that the "tests" are not ones for which students should prepare by studying or practicing. Too much emphasis on qualification could result in test anxiety and skew assessment results.
Students should view the process as a learning experience. They should be encouraged to have fun, but to also try their best.
Children, especially those with perfectionist tendencies, should be forewarned that some parts of the evaluation process may seem difficult, so they don't feel upset or like a failure when some test items are challenging. Just like when playing a video game or a sport, there are tasks that prove to be more difficult than others. Students should be reminded to put forth their best effort.
Preparing for Results
Before agreeing to formal assessment, consider students' emotional needs and potential responses to service recommendations.
Qualifying for Services
Students who are recommended for services should be prepared for a different type of learning experience. Working with others who have similar ability and talent can be exciting, yet also intimidating. Being recognized for gifted/talented services doesn't necessarily mean school will always be easy. Students may experience increased challenge or struggle. Their interests and passions should always be considered when selecting the most appropriate services.
Not Qualifying for Services
Sometimes students internalize not qualifying for services as a failure. Should students not qualify for gifted/talented services, it doesn't mean they lack intelligence or ability. Assessments don't forecast their future successes or what they are able to learn. It means that the service model is not considered to be the right fit for them at this point in time.
Siblings have different strengths and weaknesses, as well as interests and personalities. There may be times when one sibling qualifies for gifted/talented services while another does not.
Consider how you would respond if one child made the elite soccer team and a sibling did not. While there may be true disappointment, you would help your child recognize that siblings will not always do the same things. You would emphasize how special and capable the child is. If there is something the child can do well or with ease that a sibling cannot, you would highlight it.
Qualification for gifted/talented services may be handled in a similar way. Reinforce that the child is in no way deficient or inadequate by comparison to any other child. It doesn’t mean one person is necessarily smarter than another, nor does it mean that one person is better than another.
Remind siblings they will not always be on the same teams, get invited to the same parties, or have the same friends. They are unique individuals with unique traits and characteristics.
Students who do not qualify for gifted/talented services may only be assessed once every 12 months. It is important to consider a student's social-emotional well being when referring a student multiple times throughout his/her elementary years.
When deciding if you should refer your child multiple times, consider the child's instructional needs and response to potentially testing and not qualifying. Students often internalize this as a failure because they do not understand the nature of this kind of assessment and process.
At the secondary level, this comes into play with course selection. Students should consider their area(s) of ability, personal interests, and future aspirations when deciding which courses are most appropriate. School counselors are an excellent resource when making these decisions.
LISD Gifted & Talented Services
We strive to identify and engage a diverse population of gifted/talented students, build relationships that support student growth, ignite within students a desire for learning, and provide services and supports to meet students' unique social-emotional and educational needs every day.