Can “giftedness” be taught? To all kids?

April 5, 2014 at 5:18 pm 136 comments


Let us continue the nurture/nature debate here.  Interesting stuff on Norwood’s blog.  I will add more in the comments section.

Interesting stuff there in terms of his long (obsessive – yeah!) journey into the efforts to get a child into a selective enrollment school.  As he points out, the test prep is but one element of success/luck that occurs on the test day, based on the mood-whims of a 4yo.

I have stated before, I believe in test prep, for sure.  Much much less so (if at all) for 4 year olds.  I’m interested to read more though, to see if I can be convinced that any random child could get an SEES-worthy score with enough practice.
The author of, “Norwood”, has agreed to share his view of the selective enrollment tests on the condition
that he doesn’t have to take his mask off (to protect the innocent). In his own words as a guest columnist…

I first heard about the selective enrollment tests in October of my oldest son’s Kindergarten year.   I didn’t know anything about tests
or test prep but gave we gave it a shot.  Despite my help, my son was accepted to the program after 17 rounds of qualified kids declining
the offer.

I vowed to do better with son number two.  I had 2 years until the K test and 3 until the 1st grade test.  Thus began 2000 hours of

I started out reading the work of test authors and their grad students looking for guidance on test questions and test content.  Failing
that, I moved on to measures of intelligence, child phychology, early childhood development, anything on gifted.  I tried all of the test
prep on the market, devised my own material, took a course on teaching math, and cornered parents at parties and grilled them on their child rearing habits.

The question “how do I prepare for the test” becomes a series of other questions about gifteness, intelligence, values, ethics, child
rearing, early childhood education, Tiger parents, and school policy. Can children be taught the skills that the tests are measuring?  Can
“giftedness” be taught?  Is 99% on an achievement test a desirable or realistic goal?  Can all children excel?  Is it necessary or good to
segregate performers?  Can our schools do better?

My current working theory is that the tests measure skills that underpin success in school, and these skills can be taught.  Let the
debate begin.

If you want to Norwood’s progress, feel free to visit

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

South Side Schools Thread (Guest Post by Maureen Kelleher) CPS Announces Uniform Application Process for Selective Enrollment Seats

136 Comments Add your own

  • 1. cpsobsessed  |  April 5, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Ok, my first question/comment (sorry, have not actually read the blog chapters yet) is whether this is referring to teaching kids to learn the skills needed for the test? Or all the skills needed to continue on in a gifted program?

    Would some kids need the very high level of involvement to help them keep up once they’re in the program?

  • 2. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  April 5, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Being intellectually “gifted” and scoring well on an entrance exam are two different things. The gifted should probably be able to score well, but scoring well would not make on gifted.

  • 3. Duke  |  April 5, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    No, giftedness cannot be taught, but CPS’s definition of it can be taught.

  • 4. Madeline  |  April 5, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    I have plenty more to say and will post more hopefully tomorrow (am in a pinch right now), but, Duke, can you substantiate your claim? Would be interested to know more details of your experience.

  • 5. Madeline  |  April 5, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Also, @2, I am wondering if you have any suggestions for solutions to this problem. Do you think it is possible for any test to determine the qualities desired for excelling in accelerated scholastic programs (I guess it is obvious the CPS test has a high success rate of determining that), or do you just take issue with the labeling of such programs as “gifted”?

  • 6. Norwood  |  April 5, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    @cpsobsessed asked “Would some kids need the very high level of involvement to help them keep up…”

    I can answer that question with a strong Hell Yes. (Thanks for preserving my anonymity so I can answer this – sorry the blog chapters are less than half done) Some kids are 9 year old boys and would rather just play video games and punch each other than read great literature like White Fang or spend 4 hours researching the Eye for their science project to maintain the competitive ranking of their blogging father.

    Every year I see new skills requirements and the bar is raised. Every year there are distractions worth pursuing. Every year I see a grade on the report card and have to ask “Do you really think the test was an appropriate place to compare Mary’s plight in Little House on the Prairie to the Alien Forks and Knives joke?”

    I feel strongly that kids need to learn the skills the test is looking for, and then relearn them and learn the new ones every year. It’s continual learning. Surviving a GAT test is just the beginning.

    @2. I will now admit, after a few glasses of champagne to celebrate my brief foray out of obscurity, that there is such a thing as “gifted”, which we clearly lack. It logically follows from this statement that I cheated both sons into the RGC through hard work, and I’m guess we’re stuck with nothing but effort to overcome our lack of “giftedness”. It also logically follows from that statement that at this point, I love you, man.

  • 7. Ihavehappykids  |  April 5, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    I think that comments made in the SEES post that the majority of kids in gifted programs are not truly gifted, but rather, just slightly ahead of the norm is probably pretty accurate. I have two kids who went through/are going through the CPS Options program. I love my kids and think they are as smart as a whip, but I don’t think they are truly gifted. When I think gifted I think genius.

    Don’t get me wrong. I think the CPS Options program was/is exactly right for them. I think they both would have been bored if they had to work at grade level, but gifted? I don’t know.

    And, I think if you need to prep your child for the test maybe an accelerated program isn’t for your child.

    I love to tell the story of when I took my oldest for the test. This was a few years back when they gave the test where ever they had space for it, which happened to be at a park district building. A bunch of parents and young kids were crowded into a gym waiting to be called in. There were some parents who were frantically quizzing their kids with flashcards right up until they were called into the testing room, and there was my kid running in circles getting himself dizzy. It always makes me think of Steve Martin’s youngest little boy in the movie Parenthood who wore a bucket on his head and repeatedly ran into walls.

    I completely understand that parents are only looking out for what is best for their kids. If they feel their neighborhood school is not up to par or unsafe, I don’t blame them one bit for trying whatever they have to do to get them into a school that best suits their child. But, I have read some comments here on the blog that make me sad for a lot of these kids. The whole Tiger Mom issue comes to mind.

    Sorry, I’m kind of rambling and all over the place.

    I guess what I’m trying to say in relation to the subject of the post is that I lean more toward nature as far as “gifted” is concerned; although, I am certain that nurture in addition to what nature has given a child will get them even further.

  • 8. Ihavehappykids  |  April 5, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    I forgot to hit the “notify me” button so I stay in the loop.

  • 9. parent  |  April 6, 2014 at 1:33 am

    I think my kids are gritty/scrappy/hustlers, but not academically gifted. I have accepted that classical intelligence is not a condition of moral superiority and have come to terms with the fact that my kids are not gifted….they are sharks.

    All the kids I know that got into SEES are old. By that I mean bdays in the first 6 months of the year. I do not know a single last half of the year kid to be accepted into SEES. So, I am not so sure I even know what academically gifted is…accept maybe being more mature for your age?

  • 10. Christina Habib  |  April 6, 2014 at 6:41 am

    As an early childhood educator with a masters degree in elementary education. I have also succeeded and have a son in a regional gifted center. Most parents screw up their children by not letting them do the most important thing of childhood is letting children play!!!!!!! Playing with your child is also vital at least 15 minutes per day. Turn off the tv and other technologies and focus on your child. Second thing parents don’t do is start reading to your child from the very first day at least five minutes. Third parents don’t sing to their children and provide a rich musical environment. This helps increase a child’s vocabulary and phonological awareness. Fourth is talking to your child from the day are born. Infants respond by using sounds or pretend they are talking to you. Finally . Suren paper and writing materials are always available. Infants can start writing in food.

    The most important screwed up thing an parent is pressuring a child and making the child stress out. Cortisol is produced by the brain when stressed when this happens it limits the brain from growing.

  • 11. Christina Habib  |  April 6, 2014 at 6:45 am

    At the parent who is mentioning age. My son is a summer birthday as well as five of his friends. The scores are adjusted for ages of development.

  • 12. WorkingMommyof2  |  April 6, 2014 at 7:36 am

    In my child’s RGC class the birthdates are pretty evenly distributed. However, 26 of the 28 are firstborn or only children. I find that interesting.

  • 13. SE Teacher  |  April 6, 2014 at 7:53 am

    @12…That is so interesting! I always ask my classes about their birth order. I have one, my highest performing honors and accelerated math, where 28 out of 34 are first born or only children. Compare to a general level where 3 out of 20 are first born. Furthermore, our department, math, has 9 out of 10 first born.

  • 14. cpsobsessed  |  April 6, 2014 at 8:03 am

    My son’s RGC class has kids with all bdays throughout the year. In fact one boy’s is aug 31, the very last day before the cutoff.

    The class is mainly first/onlies, but I think that is influenced more by the program being new a few years ago. I think in general, parents are more willing to send a kid across town when it’s the first child, then they realize the hassle of it.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 15. cpsobsessed  |  April 6, 2014 at 8:10 am

    @norwood, that made me laugh – hope to see more champagne-y comments from you again.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 16. cpsobsessed  |  April 6, 2014 at 8:20 am

    @duke, I don’t know that cps is promising anything for outside the box giftedness.
    The program is designed (well curriculum’d at least) to be 1-2 academic years ahead in schoolwork.
    So cps has set up a test that is intended to measure the way of thinking that indicates success in the program.
    There’s no promise of working to the needs of true outliers or musical giftedness etc.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 17. hyde park mom  |  April 6, 2014 at 8:45 am

    My oldest,age 7, goes to rgc.His younger siblings didnt get offered.Maybe its bec as use as an only child those first few years , he tended to be around adults more,and had zero distractions ,so spent more time alone reading,etc.Who knows!
    I think when some people hear term giftedness,they form an impression in their minds,like Asch explains in his works on personality impression formation.I recall how my sons violin teacher bluntly told me that he dud not believe my son was gifted,but was the product of a nurturing environment that I created.He said this because I guess he was expecting him to be a musical prodigy ,an expectation that arose from him attending an rgc most likely.Just because a child is bright,gifted,doesnt mean they will excel in all areas.In fact,they may be weak in some,and excel in just one,and it isnt purely academic.

  • 18. TimeForADoOver  |  April 6, 2014 at 9:23 am

    @14: While I tend to agree with CPSO’s assessment of firstborns and onlies, I personally think that having a second child did have a negative impact on my first’s chances of getting a RGC/gifted placement. My second was born in late fall — at the height of CPS prepping and testing season — and I could barely keep my head up during the day, let alone concentrate on the application process. I actually view the younger as an opportunity for redemption. Kind of sad, but true.

  • 19. HS Mom  |  April 6, 2014 at 10:19 am

    @12 That kind of goes along with what Christina is talking about. Older/only children spend a lot of time with adults, higher level day to day conversation, mature and focused play with adults, game and puzzle players, more time dedicated to working one on one with the child. When older/only kids are the only child, parents can afford karate, music, art classes, the expensive fun learning camps, museums, going on exotic trips etc. With multiple kids, younger are typically relegated to the older kids for play/help/homework and they spend more time and conversation with other kids.

  • 20. Madeline  |  April 6, 2014 at 11:53 am

    @19. Interesting point. My son is a hybrid between only/first and second born due to my step daughter. So my son is second born to my husband but first born to me, and my step-daughter spends about 50% of her time living with us, so he gets a lot of wonderful time with her, but he also gets tons of one-on-one time with me (as I do not have a formal job). Also my son is a summer birthday (not turned 5 yet), but I think they adjust for age in the K test. Maybe they don’t do that for 1st grade.

  • 21. WesLooMom  |  April 6, 2014 at 11:56 am

    @7 re “I don’t blame them one bit for trying whatever they have to do to get them into a school that best suits their child.”

    I’m not sure that most pre-school parents are trying to get a school that best fits their child. They are trying to get a school with a certain record (test scores, SEHS admissions, etc.). They are pursuing opportunities, not best fit.

    Sometime ago, I knew an educator who had conversations with parents who questioned their choice to put a child in SEES, because of the ever-increasing demands (“the very high level of involvement to help them keep up”). Some parents even considered leaving their SEES school. I don’t think those parents were initially looking for the best fit. They were trying to win the elementary education lottery, which they hoped would lead to winning the AC or HS education lottery, which they hoped would lead to…(fill in the blank with hopes for your child).

    This thread also reminds me of the parent of a SEHS student who had to work so hard to keep up in HS that the student wasn’t interested in putting any effort into college. I never asked the parent, but I wonder if the SEHS was chosen because it was the best fit.

  • 22. Wanderer  |  April 6, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    I think to certain extent, “giftedness” can be taught and should be taught. I agree that if we define “giftedness” as equate to “genius” level of Richard Feynman or Newton, then I believe that it is beyond of our reach. However, if we use CPS standard of “giftedness”, then with proper method, it is attainable for most children.

    “At the beginning I was only a little mass of possibilities. It was my teacher who unfolded and developed them” – Helen Keller.

    I see no reason why should we rob that opportunity from the children. If parents have time or resource, then I find it is admirable for them to “invest” in their children, as long as it is within reason.

    Christina – I think a little stress/pressure will do good for children.

  • 23. Chicago School GPS  |  April 6, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Norwood- you simultaneously awe, shock, excite, depress, fascinate and intrigue me!

  • 24. Duh  |  April 7, 2014 at 2:10 am

    If your child isn’t truly gifted, no amount of parent “involvement”can keep him/her at that level (2 years ahead of grade level) for an entire academic career. I think it actually does children a disservice to propell them, at such a young age, into an environment where the pressure to perform at such a level is higher each year. At some point these parents will end up crushing their child or just end up doing the work for them. I wonder how many kindergarten/1st grade selective enrollment children end up in selective enrollment situations by 8th grade.

  • 25. Norwood  |  April 7, 2014 at 7:12 am

    Here’s some more awe shock whatever. I will logically prove that there is no such thing as giftedness or intelligence and it’s all learned behavior.

    First the disproval. Any inherent intellectual capability of kids is unobservable and unmeasurable. It belongs in the category of aliens. It’s totally fabricated. Anything wrong with this logic?

    Secondly, learned behavior is observable and measurable, and we do it all the time. The only thing that hasn’t been done yet – and this is changing slowly in research, is observer the 21,900 to 25,550 hours that kids spend awake from the ages of 0 to 5. Most of the intelligence researchers to date have studied exactly 0 hours of this.

    So we will never know if intelligence or giftedness exists, and we know that kids learn things, and we know they have a ridiculously large amount of time to do it in. Loot at Malcom Gladwell’s research and the 10,000 hour rule.

  • 26. rj  |  April 7, 2014 at 8:18 am

    I think one that’s gifted can be taught subjects and learn quickly without spending too much time on it. That’s my definition. Or learning on their own without being made to do it. Curiosity.

  • 27. Just an Observer  |  April 7, 2014 at 8:48 am

    If all of the time spent on researching how to get kids to score better on gifted tests and entrance exams into selective enrollment schools was poured into making neighborhood schools better, we might be able to forgo a lot of the discussion (and heartache of many parents) that goes on here.

    I have followed this blog for a while now and this is the question that always comes back to me. Why aren’t we trying to make our neighborhood schools just as attractive as these selective enrollment schools. I am fortunate in that my child’s neighborhood school is amazing. So much so that we are bursting at the seams with enrollment because of parents lying about residency so their children can attend the school.

    I think if even half of the time that many parents spend looking at test prep programs, reading blogs about how to better your child’s score, etc was spent developing programs that make your own neighborhood school attractive AND productive it would be time better spent.

  • 28. klm  |  April 7, 2014 at 8:54 am

    I guess that I have to agree that, yes, kids can be given stimulation, simulation and other tools that prepare them to do well on the CPS SE exams at an early age.

    However, there’s no way one can turn a regular “just plain bright” kid into a “gifted” one (at least ‘gifted’ in the true sense, not the 95th+ percentile on the ISAT one).

    Genuinely “gifted” kids are hard-wired differently than other kids, plain and simple.

    Also, let’s not forget that gifted does not mean “without intellectual and congnitive problems.” If a gifted kid had 9 or more serious ear infections before the 3rd birthday, they’re just as likely to have aiditory processing issues, speech problems (all of which is connected with reading and language), and everything else connected with this issue, etc. Gifted kids can have dyslexia, dyscalculia, …etc. Anybody remember that story about a dozen years ago about the young man with severe dyslexia that graduated with highed honors from the University of Michigan at 17 and then went to Yale Law School at 18? His intellectual abilities were amazing, but his mother had to read everything to him.

    Gifted does not mean “super advanced” in every area that is important in school. For example, for whatever reason, many gifted kids have issues with dexterity, so their writing can look awful (often until they learn cursive, then the artiststic curves become a thing of beauty that they love to perfect). Gifted kids can have spatial issues (which prevents them from drawing a perfect map of the world), and whatever kinds of issues other kids have. As many of us know, various learning issues, more often than not, are separate from real intelligence.

    Also, anybody familar with genuinely gifted kids knows that they very often are highly “sensual.” Not in the Rated-R sense, of course, but in the sense that they are very sensitive to touch (the tags on clothes), sound (issues relating to loud public toilets, movies, …), taste, etc…

    I could go on and on….

    As I mentioned before I have one honest-to-God-its-totally-for-sure gifted kid and 2 “bright ones” (and regular ones, too). The gifted one is textbook. The bright ones technically qualified for CTD in both math and language (they’ve attended with some of their friends from their non-RGC schools). So, yes, they’re the kinds of probably not-really-gifted-but-test-well-bright-kids that are the target group for a “test prep” program for CPS SE —but they are NOT “gifted” in the expert-opinion sense.

  • 29. Chris  |  April 7, 2014 at 9:38 am

    KLM: ““gifted” in the expert-opinion sense”

    And, of course, there are “GITEOS” that exhibit NONE of your examples of ‘non-standard’ issues. There are GITEOS who are otherwise totally ‘normal’ kids. [NOT that you said they all do, but…]

  • 30. CPS Parent  |  April 7, 2014 at 9:56 am

    No matter how you slice and dice it “giftedness” (no matter how you define it) correlates with intelligence and intelligence is significantly predetermined by what you are born with. Hard-wired if you will.

    Set the bar for “giftedness” low enough (CPS?) and you can overcome the limitations of innate intelligence with hard work and perseverance by child and parent with limits at the lower end of intelligence of course.

  • 31. Chris  |  April 7, 2014 at 9:59 am

    [all of the following relate back to comment in the SEES thread]:

    KLM: “lexile scores at 12th grade level in 3rd grade”

    If that an indication of profound giftedness, I guess I’m doing my eldest a disservice not pushing harder….

    NB: 12th grade Lexile = 11th grade Lexile.

    KLM: “sensitivity to sound,”

    It *may* be the case that a higher proportion of the ‘gifted’ than the whole population is sound sensitive, but being sound sensitive is an indication only of being sound sensitive.

    H: “What proportion of CTD or RGC kids fit that description, or similar?”

    In our neighborhood school, based on the “reading at a HS level” standard [btw: whatever ‘reading at a HS level’ means], I’d say it’s in excess of 5% of 3d graders.

  • 32. klm  |  April 7, 2014 at 10:45 am


    Well, you are right that no one kid is the same,obviously.

    However, in the context of this discussion, I’ve said my piece,too. I’m using my own experience and adding in things that I’d read on the subjects, been told by teachers, psychologists, etc. I guess they all could be wrong or mistaken about lots of it.

    Obviously, having one or two traits does not make a child gifted, any more than not having them means a child is not gifted. However, talk with parents of real gifted kids and with people that write about this stuff and there are traits that gifted kids tend to have. It’s not a checklist of a dozen things, but certain things do come up more often in the gifted group.

    I mean, sensitivity to sound? That’s like 1/5-1/3 of kids at an early age. Same with all the other things that TEND TO GO WITH gifted kids.

    To be honest, this is why I pretty much never say my kid is “gifted,” except maybe to a few close friends and some family. There are always people whose first inclination is to roll their eyes and wonder why, if your kid’s so gifted, can’t she/he write more legibly or answer the phone properly, etc. —-your kid’s NOT Einstein, so get over it. Your kid’s a good reader? So’s mine, but I’m not labeling her “gifted, ” –sheesh, get over yourself.

    It’s kinda’ like when you meet somebody who seems like a nice, perfectly lovely person, then they tell you “I’m a model.” Suddenly, you start being doubtful, wondering if they’re not just vain, since they’re short, live in Evansville (who knew the Ford Agency had an office in Evansville, as well as NYC, Milan and Paris?), not really world-class beautiful, bad/cheap haircut,etc. Before they told you they were a “model” it would never had been in your nature to be so critical (or mean). Same with when some people find out somebody’s “gifted”; People will examine critically and wonder if it’s just not some parents’ vain attempt to have a “better” ” one up” child, get into a presumptive “better” school, etc.

    Not matter what, for some people, unless a kid’s doing AP Physics in 2nd grade, or reading Camus in original French in 3rd grade, they’re not gifted.

    If a different, unrelated psychiatrists, psychologists and a test giver at Northwestern/CTD….if every teacher s/he’s had since K…..etc. says that my gifted kids’s really gifted, I’m thinking maybe s/he’s really gifted.

    Gifted does not mean doing freakishly advanced things for one’s age, it means being more advanced intellectually (by 2 or more years for a young child) than one’s age would normally indicate. If one’s really on the FAR right side of the bell curve, then likely one’s gifted.

  • 33. Chris  |  April 7, 2014 at 11:46 am

    “Gifted does not mean doing freakishly advanced things for one’s age, it means being more advanced intellectually (by 2 or more years for a young child) than one’s age would normally indicate.”

    I’ll stick my neck out and admit that I think that that is ‘dumbing down’ ‘giftedness’.

    Anyway, what is “intellectually” in a 5 yo? As someone (you?) noted, reading and math at a 3d grade level from a K is not really evidence of ‘giftedness’, at least w/o something more.

    I do agree that it isn’t (necessarily/only) about ‘doing freakishly advanced’ (or otherwise freakish–>plotting reasonable representation of 196 countries, and knowing something about each of them, is a little ‘freakish’) things. It’s less and more than that at the same time.

    I believe that thinking about it in the context of other, non-‘academic’ ‘giftedness’ can be illuminating–think of a kid playing an instrument–if a 6 yo plays as well as a dedicated 9 year old, that’s impressive and special, but not necessarily what someone would describe as a ‘musically gifted’–‘gifted’ is something more.

  • 34. Jen S  |  April 7, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Hey, just as a “by the way” update, just got news today that next year Skinner West will only be enrolling one classical Kindergarten class. I assume this is in response to the swelling ranks of neighborhood kids. Thought you would like to know.

  • 35. Gifted?  |  April 7, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    There are many forms of giftedness, and because this discussion started in the context of CPS SEES admissions, it is focused on intellectual giftedness. But there is also musical giftedness, athletic giftedness, etc. I know that the ability to teach musical giftedness has its limits. For example, playing violin at a young age causes fingers to grow and develop in a way that becomes impossible in later years. So, one’s ability to become a top performing violinist is gone if one hasn’t started playing at a young age. And sports – some people will simply never be a gifted athlete because their bodies won’t allow it. Fast-twitch or slow-twitch muscles, with which we are born, dramatically impact our abilities to run long distance or to be an accomplished sprinter. And some people are simply too short to generate the physical motion necessary to throw a 100-mph fastball. My point being that we are born with certain physical characteristics that limit our ability to do certain things. For me to spend hours trying to throw a 100-mph fastball would undoubtedly be beating my head against a wall and result in frustration and repeated failure. Similarly, even though Einstein says he’s not smarter than others, simply more determined, I just don’t believe that to be true.

    But believing it to be true might prevent me from trying other things that allow me to discover what might be my true talent, like art, public speaking, math, etc. My point is that while refusing to acknowledge limits may have some benefits (like providing one with the incentive for constant improvement), claiming that we are all “cut from the same cloth” and therefore able to achieve the same results through sheer determination and hard work may ultimately do more harm than good.

  • 36. H  |  April 7, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    “In our neighborhood school, based on the “reading at a HS level” standard [btw: whatever ‘reading at a HS level’ means], I’d say it’s in excess of 5% of 3d graders.”

    Well, the “standard” was reading beyond HS level. And yes a big question on what that means. I don’t know that I’d go by the tests administered by CPS as my K child’s most recent MAP score puts him in the middle of 3rd grade and all I can think is that that would be a very mediocre 3rd grader. Sure, given that the median person post HS is probably at a community college or something, you could argue that that is what the standard should be. But I would say it should be more like say the reading ability of an U of I freshman or something along those lines.

  • 37. H  |  April 7, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    “Gifted does not mean doing freakishly advanced things for one’s age, it means being more advanced intellectually (by 2 or more years for a young child) than one’s age would normally indicate.”

    “I’ll stick my neck out and admit that I think that that is ‘dumbing down’ ‘giftedness’.”

    I think it could make sense as a standard only if you controlled for the amount of teaching and attention the child got. You could easily get most any young child with attentive parents to 1 year above grade level. And you could get many, perhaps most, to 2 years above with enough effort. If a child could with little extra effort (including parental attention) get him/herself to 2 grades above, that might be a measure of giftedness. I also think the math/reading tests that are normally given are not the best measure of giftedness.

  • 38. klm  |  April 7, 2014 at 12:53 pm


    Yes, it’s all subjective on some level.

    If you don’t want to believe that some kids are “gifted” intellectually, you don’t have to. However, those of us that do believe such a thing exists are not making this stuff up, no matter what you say.

    Then again, no matter what i say, you’ll come back and challenge it and act like it’s kinda’ wrong on some level, so there’s no real way to have an online discussion.

    I’m all for being cynical –people say such stupid stuff and sometimes the majority of people are just plain wrong. I, more than most people even, understand that. But there’s a difference between healthy cynicism and a desire to cut somebody down because they’re “wrong” in your opinion.

    So, have at it if you want, but there really are “gifted” (in the sense that pediatricians and psychiatrists will tell you) kids out there, like it or not.

    The fact is, is you’ve met ONE gifted kid, then you’ve only met ONE gifted kid. No two people are alike.

    Normally, I’m not one for an online cat fight, but Jeez, lighten up on the criticism. No matter what I write, you’ll attempt to make it look like I really don’t know what I’m talking about, that I’m contradicting myself, I’m silly on some level, I get it, already.

  • 39. RL Julia  |  April 7, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    I have two kids are academically advanced and have done well by CPS testing standards – but to be honest, my understanding of “giftedness” is not what my kids are nor what CPS values or tests for in terms of entrance to it “gifted” programs – with a few possible exceptions (such as the classical schools). In fact, the more I know about kids who are truly gifted and are often asynchronous in their development, the more I am convinced that CPS would be a rather terrible place for a truly gifted child.

    Predictably – I agree with the poster who talked about the need to improve the schools for everyone – thus solving the problem of these lotteries… and perhaps creating a school system capable of finding a place for the truly gifted children in it’s system regardless of parentage, wealth, class etc… To be fair though, that is a lot harder to do than to wish for. As of now, the test-in schools – as well as a handful of well-regarded neighborhood schools have become short hand for parents who are looking for communities of other parents who are similarly inclined, concerned (and probably resourced) about their children’s education. The fact remains CPS is largely low income. A full 85% of it’s students arrive to school in poverty. This profoundly shifts what can be learned and what must be addressed in school- pulling time and ultimately resources away from academics in ways that the 15% who aren’t in poverty find to be frustrating and perhaps ultimately alienating.

  • 40. Chris  |  April 7, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    KLM: “If you don’t want to believe that some kids are “gifted” intellectually, you don’t have to.”

    Strawman. And a very poorly constructed one, at that–I never came *even close* to saying there is no such thing as gifted kids; I have said that the standards discussed here for being deemed ‘gifted’ seem *low*.

    There are *absolutely* intellectually gifted people and almost all of them were once intellectually gifted kids. I’ve met some of them in my life–and many, many more who were deemed “‘gifted’ in the expert-opinion sense” at one time or another.

    And, no, I’m not trying to pick on you. Sincere apology that it is coming across that way. You’ve just written most of what I find more provocative on this (and this part of the SEES) thread, so I have a bunch to say about it.

  • 41. Family Friend  |  April 7, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    @39: I sound like a broken record – it IS possible to impart a rigorous education to poor children, and for them to succeed. It requires hard work and high expectations. I think gifted programs that are a year or two ahead of grade level probably reflect a slide in standards — years ago students in our gifted programs would probably have been closer to grade level. But whatever we call it, we need to expand it to benefit more children. We need to start where they are, not where we would like them to be, and fill in the gaps until they have the skills they need to take care of themselves and the world.

  • 42. Chris  |  April 7, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    RLJ: “A full 85% of it’s students arrive to school in poverty.”

    That percentage is the number of “low income” families–“low income” in the school context, means under 185% of the poverty line. The childhood poverty rate in Chicago is about 36%–way too high, but not “85%”. If 100% of the kids living under the poverty line were CPS students (they aren’t–the count includes all the pre-school kids, too), then CPS would be about 56% students in poverty–still outrageous.

    Not that household income that qualifies for reduced lunch is enough, but it’s different from the poverty threshold.

  • 43. LP  |  April 7, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Was an April Fools post?

  • 44. Helmut V  |  April 7, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    General observations….

    Achievement can be taught (e.g. rote learning). No benefit to private over public in this area.

    Cognitive skills can be enhanced to some extent though the education process. Private advantage over public here.

    Intelligence is innate and can not be taught. No advantage to public or private. Either it’s in your genes or it isn’t.

    IQ testing for kids is relatively meaningless. General guide, yes. Accurate measurement, no.

    Attributing test score differences to socioeconomic factors is BS. There are 50 other factors that have a higher correlation. But it
    is politically correct to blame $ instead of genes and the terrible public education system.

  • 45. reenie  |  April 7, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Thank you 41! Children living in poverty can learn at high levels when they attend schools where the adults have a common vision, set high expectations and work very hard. Given CPS’s lack of attention to neighborhood schools, resource shortfalls, and bureaucratic nonsense, it is a miracle we have as many good neighborhood schools teaching well for kids at all income levels. And frankly, if we as a society really cared about nurturing giftedness, we’d be watching our low-income kids really carefully and supporting the ones who are outliers, who often get overlooked.

  • 46. Madeline  |  April 7, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    @Norwood. “I will now admit, after a few glasses of champagne to celebrate my brief foray out of obscurity, that there is such a thing as “gifted”, which we clearly lack. It logically follows from this statement that I cheated both sons into the RGC through hard work, and I’m guess we’re stuck with nothing but effort to overcome our lack of “giftedness”.”

    So, Norwood, I’m just curious, when you stated (something like) “giftedness is 100% learnable” (somewhere in the 2014 classical/gifted letter thread), were you artificially fomenting the conversation, or did you just mean the skills needed for the *test* are 100% learnable? Or did you not mean either? If there is such a thing as “giftedness”, and it cannot be taught, then wouldn’t you have to agree there is a strong genetic component and certain aspects of brain function that some people cannot learn? You should drink champagne more frequently, by the way, when posting. Your already entertaining writing style is that much more hightened. But then @25 you seem to revert. What’s up with that?

    The circles we (meaning all of us posting on this blog) are talking ourselves into are related to definitions. Many people have these stark categories in mind, and that just isn’t how it is. There are as many shades of intellectual grey as there are people, so how can we accurately shove the supposedly top 1% or even the supposedly top 0.1% into the category of “gifted” leaving off those that are between the supposedly top 2% and 1% as just plain smarty-pants’, but not truly gifted (in the textbook sense). Dunno, but I guess the definitions really bug me. If we are going to talk about ideals (and why not, it’s fun), I think a completely pro-rated approach… a many-shades-of-grey approach in every single school and every single home would be totally awesome and perfect. On the other hand, the precipitous drop in differentiated curriculum (at least from what I gather) from SEES schools to the majority of neighborhood schools strikes me as tragic. I mean, (pausing disbelief for a moment and trusting that standardized tests reveal 100% of ability and intellectual/academic potential) should a child whose brain functions more adeptly than 98.9% of the population be relegated to a program where they receive significantly less personalized attention than a child who scores better than 99% or 99.9% of the population?

    I guess what I mean is there is a c-o-n-t-i-n-u-u-m. There is not a sudden difference between “genius”, “academically-advanced-super-smarty”, “smarter-than-average”, “average”, “below average” and “learning-disabled”. Most people fall somewhere in between two of these absolute-ish categories. When CPS offers seats in SEES schools to the top testing 1- 2% of the population, they are not saying these children are “geniuses”. That would be absurd. A couple of them in a decade might be, but who the heck thinks every 1 out of 100 or 1 out of 50 people they meet is a “genius?” Jeez. The people who keep harping on whether the children who are in SEES schools are really gifted should realize that “gifted” is not synonymous for “genius”… or it least it did not used to be and should not be. The children in gifted programs are appropriate for those programs as evidenced by the success of the programs and the children (not sure which should be listed first). But the programs are not Genius Factories, neither do they claim to be.

    But back to my original point (made in 2014 SEES letter thread), There is a wide range of environmental factors that leads to growth of intelligence (just like the environment/hard work can grow athletic ability or artistic ability, musical ability, etc), but the brain is subject to the same physical laws as the rest of the body. It is after all, a physical system… knida like a computer. No two bodies are the same (with the exception of identical twins), and neither are any two brains. [for those who did not read the relevant posts on the other thread, this is in response to Norwood’s assertion that children’s brains are all made of the same clay and capable of the same things no matter how complex]. It logically follows that two things that are not identical in ‘stuff’ are also not identical in capability. Not to pick on Norwood. I find his/her perspective fascinating. I just like digging.

    Lastly, @35 Gifted? Your post was perfect. Couldn’t agree more.

  • 47. CPS alum  |  April 7, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    The biggest problem I see with measuring a child’s giftedness with their performance on a standardized scale (iq scores, MAP, CTD, or whatever test you chose) is that you compare kids who have been coached to reach their full potential with the vast majority who have not reached their potential.

    What ends up happening in the SEES system is that a lot of educated people expose their slightly above average kids as much as humanly possible in 4 years of life. There are a whole lot of smarter kids out there that don’t get that advantage so they appear less gifted. BUT, there will always be a few, exceptionally smart kids who don’t need the exposure; they do well regardless.

    Personally I think true giftedness can’t be taught (but I’m talking about Einstein, da Vinci, Mozart, types). It’s amazing how so may of the truly gifted in history actually had disadvantaged childhoods and I’d guess they weren’t coached with flash cards staring at infancy.

  • 48. Who Knows  |  April 7, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    I also think that we need to separate out the CPS “gifted” test from the classical test. Even though they are administered as one, I have always heard that one is a test of potential (gifted), and the other is a test of achievement (classical). This makes sense to me when you look at how the scores are given. The gifted is a general number while the classical is broken out into reading and math percentage scores.

    With this is mind, I think it’s absolutely possible to prep a kid, particularly for the classical test. This prep doesn’t have to be flashcards, but simply reading to them every night, pointing out that the stop sign is an octagon, etc. can go a long way for a kid who is soaking in the world like a sponge. Now whether or not a child can maintain the level that is demanded of him/her once placed in a gifted/classical school is another thing entirely.

    I like the idea of not test prepping a kid on content because I want DD’s results to be an accurate (as accurate as can be at age 4) descriptor of her ability. Instead, all the test prep we’re doing is working on not freaking out and crying. And how to listen and point. Because really, she’s 4 (she’ll take the test this year).

    As for the profile of a gifted kid–I don’t know if DD is one or not, but I will say that she is different. Very different. She has been her entire life, and just about everyone who meets her ends up scratching their head over something random she says. Just a small example–one day last fall (when she was 3), she pointed at a cloud in the sky and said, “That cumulus cloud looks like Russia.” Um. Ok. Yeah, you’re right.

    My goal is for DD to go to the school that is best for her–not the “best” school in the entire city. I also don’t want to spend hours every night coaxing her through homework (so maybe a SEES school isn’t best for me!) I’m opting out of this phenomenon of parents pushing and pushing their elementary-age kids. The educational road is long, and childhood is short. I want her to be able to enjoy both.

  • 49. Maureen Kelleher  |  April 8, 2014 at 9:21 am

    @Who Knows, hear, hear! We tested my DS this year despite my reservations about SEES/Classical schools mostly because I was curious how he would score and to see what our options were. (Clearly this was a bad year to put Skinner West first–since they just cut their classical admits in half.) But I’m really not interested in piling on the homework in K-2 and I’d just like to find the school that works for him and for our family.

    However, now I’m stuck between liking our neighborhood school and not liking the testing madness in CPS. A kindergarten teacher was telling me she spent a solid month administering Dibels, NWEA MAP and a couple of other tests to each of her 28 children this year–while the rest of them did review work independently. At NTA she’d have an aide to move things along while she handled the testing; at our school she doesn’t. Wish the system would pick no more than two tests and just stick with them.

  • 50. RL Julia  |  April 8, 2014 at 9:41 am

    @41,45 – I totally agree with you – children who live in poverty can and should be held to high expectations however, it is more expensive. Currently CPS doesn’t have the resources to do the job they are tasked to do – and it would be a big job. My experiences with my neighborhood school taught me the importance of creating a balance between community, parents and school administrators and teachers. All parents want their kids to succeed but don’t always realize what that will take, schools can educate parents to that end but it works better if they (the schools) have the resources on hand to be a partner in solving some of these problems (like childcare for younger siblings, tutoring etc…). My kids noticed that around 5th grade, their school friends at the neighborhood school stopped doing their homework consistently – and boy what a difference that made in how much they learned. There are many, many reasons that these kids stopped doing their homework – some better than others but the overall effect was that by 8th grade these kids – some of whom are quite bright had in effect opted themselves out of really being able to realistically compete for a seat at an SEHS.

    Additionally, once a kid gets into an SEHS, there are (subtle) tracks within them – kids from SEES, AC’s and some private schools are may be better prepared and come in having done some advanced work (in math or language) which puts them ahead -and more able to easily take advantage of what the school has to offer…. it’s really a disgusting system….

  • 51. Chris  |  April 8, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Madeline: “So, Norwood, I’m just curious, when you stated (something like) “giftedness is 100% learnable” (somewhere in the 2014 classical/gifted letter thread)”

    I’ve made my issues with what Norwood said 100% clear (and I stick with them 100%), but that is definitely *NOT* what Norwood said. Here it is:

    “I think the use of the term “gifted” is misleading. It’s all 100% learnable. I think these programs should be for everyone willing to put forth the effort. These programs take the best practices for gifted education, apply them to the kids, make the kids work hard, and guess what? The kids excel.”

    I read that as:

    The skills need to get into and do well at a CPS RGC/calssical are 100% learnable.

    I would agree that that is definitely true for all 1+ SD above mean kids, and likely true for all above mean kids, and possibly true for most above 1 SD below mean kids. It is not possible for 100% of kids. (and, not that it should matter, but I am not aware of any ‘intellectually challenged’ children among my family or friends, so my issue with that is not coming from personal defensiveness)

    Using “RGC admission = gifted” (or, for that matter, as Norwood sez, using “150+ on RGC test = gifted”) is, imo, doing a disservice to the kids with those scores, the kids *not* getting those scores, the actual RGC process, and the concept of ‘giftedness’.

  • 52. HS Mom  |  April 8, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Norwood “It logically follows from this statement that I cheated both sons into the RGC through hard work, and I’m guess we’re stuck with nothing but effort to overcome our lack of “giftedness”.”

    I’m wondering why people feel the need to “cheat” the test for SEES admissions. Some possible reasons… secures a seat for SEHS, offers greater school choice, needs to or will learn to work ahead etc.

    I agree with I think everyone that parental envelopment and academic enrichment are a good thing that enables success.

    My kid is graduating HS so our experience dates back to when individual schools gave their own tests, so please forgive my ignorance. The Decatur test took all of 5 seconds, they asked him if he knew how to read and he said “no” (even though he had reading skill). That ended our foray into gifted/classical. I remember feeling surprised and humbled (he went to a private preK, loved brainquest cards etc).

    Fast forward to today, graduating SEHS with a full ride to a small liberal arts college, top 1% ACT score with a perfect 36 in reading. Not gifted with “smarty pants” moments, critical thinker and passionate reader. I’ve seen some classmates load up on the AP taking over-challenging curriculum only to have it work against them in the end.

    To the point made by those suggesting that neighborhood schools can be designed to serve the need of the community instead of relegating kids to special schools I add that SEES can work against you. In many CPS high schools (not just SE) kids can customize their the choice and level of classes to suit their talent. Not really with SEES. I know with my own that forcing a kid to work ahead can be disastrous. They need to process material in their own way. In this regard, SEES can work against you when it comes to SEHS.

  • 53. HS Mom  |  April 8, 2014 at 10:51 am

    @51 Chris – agreed plus add the factor of CPS tiers to make admissions possible to those “well above” the mean.

  • 54. klm  |  April 8, 2014 at 11:03 am


    You’re right about things going in different directions in middle-school. From what I remember and from what I’ve read and hear from teachers, parents, etc., this is when kids often go in different directions, even with some of the ones with so much ability and promise.

    For all those not sure about SE elementary school, at least know that if a kid’s going to a RGC or Classical school, few if any (if for no other reason than it’s not an option) will “check out” starting 4th grade.

    I know we all want to think that if we’re “good” parents, set expectations, etc., our kids will be fine. However, I’m old enough to know that’s frequently not the case. If it’s the social norm for kids to flake out, chill, collectively denigrate students that are “smart,” etc., starting around 3rd, 4th grade (which is often the case at many schools we’d all consider ‘bad’) then a kid may get sucked into that culture, no matter what parents and teachers do. Social normalization is a strong and profound force among peers. I saw this myself so many times at the inner-city public schools I attended. As the parent of black males, I especially remember and am sensitive about all the grief the “smart” black boys got from their peers (the ‘smart’ girls and white kids were kinda’ given a pass, but being a ‘smart’ black boy was considered about the most bully-worthy class of student, sadly).

    For some people (especially those w/o lots of other options) this alone may be the reason they’re prepping their kids for CPS SE exams, as much as they can. That’s also why I’ve quit looking down on those people that do prep their kids for SE exams –maybe they can’t just up and move to Wilmette or Northbrook if things don’t work out, school-wise, like other families can.

    Of course, there are people that are lucky enough to get a kid into Hawthorne, Jackson Language, etc. Then there are all those that have the money to buy or rent in Lincoln, Bell, Blaine, Edgebrook, etc. enrollment areas. But how about all the other people that care about education and have concerns about their kids’ school environment?

  • 55. montessorimom  |  April 8, 2014 at 11:04 am

    I am an educator and have attended the “Illinois Association of Gifted Children” Conference. Gifted people’s brains work differently than “non-gifted” people’s brains.

    I believe the classical school test can probably be taught/nurtured, as previous posters said. As for the gifted test, I’m not so sure.

    IMHO, CPS should separate the classical and gifted process because as I recall the preference list included both. Now that I’ve visited a classical school, I don’t think it’s the right fit for my daughter, even though she tested in. She did not get offered an RGC programs, nor have I visited any.

  • 56. HS Mom  |  April 8, 2014 at 11:23 am

    50/54 – another reason kids opt themselves out is because they view getting into SEHS as impossible. Not only do they need top scores but things like 7th/8th grade teachers holding references, extra credit, school social events over their heads as a means to keep kids in line/on target is enough for some to throw their hands in the air.

  • 57. Yikes28  |  April 8, 2014 at 11:38 am

    56 you are correct. The constant reminders about SEHS are horrific. Those schools are NOT for everyone for lots of reasons.

  • 58. OTdad  |  April 8, 2014 at 11:50 am

    The standards for using the word “gifted” is awfully low by many in this thread. As the word suggests, ‘giftedness’ cannot be taught, is something one born with. Yes, ‘academic advancedness’ can be nurtured, but to a certain degree based on a child’s innate ability.

    CPS selective enrollment elementary schools are basically the same:
    (1) Classical schools, for kids who are ‘already’ academically above the norm.
    (2) RGCs, for kids who are ‘likely’ to be academically above the norm.

    ‘above the norm’ is far from being ‘gifted’ or ‘talented’. I think the talent level of RGC/classicals is probably just on par with top 50% of the class from a good neighborhood / magnet school (such as Lincoln and Hawthorne), not much more.

  • 59. OTdad  |  April 8, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    @55. montessorimom:
    “Gifted people’s brains work differently than “non-gifted” people’s brains.”
    True. Gifted kids can often achieve something at young age very impressive even for intelligent adults. They are almost always showing strong interests and very advanced in certain academic topics, such as math. More often than not, truly “gifted” people may show certain symptoms of autism.

    “As for the gifted test, I’m not so sure.”
    Just look at NYC, where the gifted & talented test is far more formal and sophisticated. Everybody is doing testing prep. The result is: a 99th percentile score is not enough to earn a seat, obvious testprep changed the score distribution in a big way.

  • 60. Maureen Kelleher  |  April 8, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    54 kim, your experience of inner-city kids opting-out of the academic track in middle school and kids who stuck with it experiencing negativity from peers is very similar to what I observed and experienced as a smarty-pants white girl in the suburbs. What is interesting to me now among the young people I’ve gotten to know in Back of the Yards is that there’s a level of respect for intellectual ability among kids here that I have not seen elsewhere. Not that there’s not pressure to join gangs and put school on the back burner, but I see less bullying and teasing of smart kids here and I hear actual positive comments about kids by other kids, like “He’s smart. I wish I knew how to do that.”

    Friends who grew up here and went on to college, law school, etc. confirm that they did not get teased for being “nerds” the way I remember it. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the different culture among Mexican immigrants. But it gives me hope that if we go with the neighborhood school my DS will be a little more supported by his peers to stay on track to get a good education. At the same time, a really bright young man who used to live across the street from me is now serving a long jail sentence. If you had asked me when he was 10, I would have said for sure he would be going to college. So I feel your point that parenting is not the only factor in our children’s success, and understand the desire to make sure one’s own kids are someplace where these issues don’t even arise. It’s a hard tension to live with and, frankly, I may get to a point where I don’t want to live with it anymore.

  • 61. Lady  |  April 8, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    I would argue that indeed a very small number of the CPS ‘gifted’ kids are actually and truly gifted. Both my kids tested well (on both the gifted and classical tests) and were offered spots. They are NOT gifted. They are the kids of middle class parents who had the ability to dote on them, expose them to cultural institutions, ethnic fare, music, art, nature and read to them constantly and sing with them, and engage them in conversations about whatever. They listened to NPR because I had it on in the car doing my errands. They are not shy kids because we have a huge extended family with whom we do many activities and the kids have to deal with both adults and other children constantly.

    These are the factors that allowed them to test well on these admissions tests when they were in preK plain and simple.

    Now my daughter leans towards the more truly gifted as when she was still in K she would have existential angst pretty often: what’s at the edge of the universe, how do we know we aren’t just a simulation, why don’t people just send food to poverty stricken areas of the world, why aren’t we helping the homeless people in the park, etc.

  • 62. Chris  |  April 8, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    “More often than not, truly “gifted” people may show certain symptoms of autism.”

    While I appreciate the wiggle-words, that’s a bad stereotype. Bad for the ‘gifted’, (very) bad for the autistic, bad for the ‘merely bright’.

  • 63. TMB  |  April 8, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    59. OTdad “More often than not, truly “gifted” people may show certain symptoms of autism.”

    Sorry, but this is one of the worst misconceptions about giftedness that still floats around. “More often than not?” Really? Let’s see if we can keep this a factual discussion please. Like someone said above, “You’ve seen one gifted kid, well, you’ve seen one gifted kid.” While some diagnosed autistic children are also gifted, the reverse is not absolute.

    The children in my child’s RGC class do have a range of abilities from very bright to highly gifted. (And I mean that in the real, diagnosed sense of the word.) There are kids in there who struggle to keep up and others who coast along easily. But, let’s be honest – the RGCs are more of an accelerated program than an actual gifted program. For starters, a real gifted program would never have 28-32 kids in a class. More like half that. At the most.

  • 64. Bell and Coonley?  |  April 8, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    “the RGCs are more of an accelerated program than an actual gifted program”

  • 65. Gifted vs. Classical?  |  April 8, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    “the RGCs are more of an accelerated program than an actual gifted program”

    Sorry – accidentally posted too quickly. Some above think rgc test cannot be taught but classical test can be. But is there really any difference between the approach taken at RGCs and classical schools? It seems like both classical and RGC schools are merely accelerated programs. So, what is the reason to have different tests for entrance if the programs are really just doing the same thing anyway?

  • 66. Chris  |  April 8, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    “what is the reason to have different tests for entrance”

    Give two different sorts of 5/6 year olds a chance to go to a school that isn’t the neighborhood ‘failure factory’. Not the original intent, I am certain, but a large part of why they keep it going as two parts.

  • 67. TMB  |  April 8, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    @65 I meant in the sense that a private school for the gifted would offer true individual differentiation, enrichment, cross integration of curriculum, acceleration, problem solving and creative thinking at a greater level than that which can be offered at an RGC – if for no other reason than budget constraints and class size. My children have been offered this at their RGC, but the amount and extent varied from teacher to teacher and cannot possibly be at the same level as a private gifted school. That being said, we love our school and there’s no way we could ever afford the private options.

  • 68. Jen S  |  April 8, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    My 9 year old is at Skinner West. He is what I would consider truly gifted – he was reading well by the age of 2, and at 5 was ready for Second Grade material. He easily got into Skinner, but did not make the cutoff for RGC scores. I am so glad for his experience in the Classical program classroom – he is with 30 other kids who are all as smart as he is, and share a lot of the same strengths and weaknesses. Instead of a pullout program, he’s with a bunch of students who are all equally challenged – he’s right at his sweet spot on the work – not too easy and not too hard. He doesn’t perceive himself as weird or different, and he’s not being set up to “coast” (as I did when I was a kid). So we’re very pleased with his progress and love his school environment.

    My 5 year old just went through testing and admissions. He’s a totally different kid – if we weren’t trying to get him into the same school as his brother it would have never occurred to us to have him tested. His preschool definitely “teaches to the test” and boasts something like a 95 percent acceptance rate into SEES. He did NOT get into Skinner West, but his scores were 90/95th percentile on the Classical Test. He’s on the sibling waitlist, but we’ll be happy sending him to Peirce, our local school, if that doesn’t work out.

    To me this says that the most important thing is matching the kid to the learning environment. My anecdotal evidence in my family is that there is definitely a difference between these two kids. My 9 year old is GIFTED, both academically advanced, an acquirer of knowledge, and lots of the other things that go along with that profile (high strung, sensitive, low executive function). My 5 year old is just cracking the code on reading now, is excited to learn what subtraction is, and knows where all his stuff is (unlike his brother).

    I’m grateful for the gifted/classical classroom for my older son, it’s giving him such a great context for his skills and talents. I would hate to see this kind of program go away! It’s definitely a different teaching environment than a regular classroom.

  • 69. 5th grade mom  |  April 8, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    There is such a thing as gifted. No test prep needed. I heard about the AC program about 2 weeks before the deadline, and decided to test my son just on a whim to see where he was in the pool. My son is homeschooled and 10 years old. We signed him up for a standardized test, his first grade-level test ever, short notice, no prep, and he did fine-99th percentile. He sat for the entrance exam, said it was pretty easy, except that he forgot to pace himself on one section (hasn’t had practice taking timed tests) and had to fill in some randomly, and some he didn’t even have time to fill in, scored 139 based on those factors, and got accepted to Lane Tech AC in the rank grouping. I’m not boasting. I’m just saying there is such a thing as gifted. It is too bad for the whole school rat race thing. We didn’t want to play the game when the kids were little, so we decided to homeschool. Plus, I don’t think it is right for little boys to sit at desks all day long.

  • 70. TimeForADoOver  |  April 8, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    @68: Just curious, what preschool does your 5-year-old attend?

  • 71. Jen S  |  April 8, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    @70- Lakefront Children’s Academy – a private preschool on Randolph. We love them!

  • 72. CPS Recessed  |  April 8, 2014 at 3:43 pm


    Not to burst your bubble (and your son may very well be gifted), but plenty of kids perform well on the RGC/AC tests without any prep. Besides, they don’t measure giftedness in the true sense of the word.

  • 73. TimeForADoOver  |  April 8, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Thanks, Jen S! I’ll have to check them out for my little one.

  • 74. 5th grade mom  |  April 8, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    @72 I guess what I don’t get is why they spend so much time practicing for the tests in school. It seems like such a waste of time when the kids could actually be learning something. Last week I watched a 3rd grade boy from out of state while his dad was in a conference all week. His teacher sent like 3 hours worth of reading test practice exams for him to do in preparation for testing, but I really don’t know what he was supposed to gain from it. It was stuff with a copyright date in the 90s!

    At any rate, I grew up in another state, and I don’t remember any special tests for giftedness. They just knew who the “good students” were and automatically pulled them out for special programs and accelerated classes. No high-stakes whatever, no competition. Even in the elementary grades, we had the old Apple IIe computers with games for students who were more advanced than the general population, and it was just in a corner of the classroom. Or they gave us logic puzzles or whatever else, but they recognized an inherent obligation to further the more advanced students and did it, without much extra resources. And this was in a crap school (not even accredited by state standards), in the third most depressed district in the state. The school didn’t have money for things like AP classes, but the regular teachers would go out of their way and host informal AP study sessions after school for kids that had the initiative to go for it on their own regardless. Most of them were willing to oversee students requesting independent study courses in subjects the school was too poor to offer…which was just about everything.

    It is too bad the city is all red tape and can’t see past the tip of its own nose. The same child who made it into LTAC, just a few years ago they were trying to force him to go to summer school, because he hadn’t taken any standardized tests. I have no idea what planet the folks running summer school are from, but the lady told me: “It’s not about the academics, it’s about experiencing the real world, and if your son sees your bad attitude, he’ll have a bad attitude too.” I’m not typically rude to people, but I did feel it necessary to tell her that my son was at least smart enough to know that straight A students don’t need to go to summer school, and that he could figure that part out all by himself without any help from me. She also said something about how a principal was not qualified to judge whether a student needed to go to summer school or not. They must have a sourcebook of irrational lines sitting at their desk to pull out when they don’t have anything better to say. Anyway, it is too bad that all the schools don’t have even some very simple ways to help out all the kids that are doing well and could use better.

  • 75. Levski  |  April 8, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    Bell 1st graders to be in 2014-2015 question for parents: Is anyone declining the 1st round offer due April 11th?

  • 76. Norwood  |  April 8, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    A few years ago, I was teaching a group of 6 bright kindergartners advanced math, and was handing out some abstract shape problem that I wanted to discuss for 15 minutes. One little girl saw it upside down as I handed it to her, figured out the question and knew the answer before the paper hit the ground. I was blown away.

    I really admired that innate skill. It was really special.

    So I taught it to my sons.

  • 77. cpsobsessed  |  April 9, 2014 at 5:04 am

    From commenter Christina (just found this in the Pending folder):

    There is no child without stress. At the same time, we should limit this amount at a young age since it inhibits the growth of the brain. We are not dealing with school age children here. Since we are talking about how we could possibly nuture a child to be gifted and pass these mysterious tests, we are talking about infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. A child between the age of 0- 4 years old IQ score will fluctuate about 25 points. This is a huge difference between calling a child a “mentally challenged” and genius. This is because the brain is like plastic being molded and formed. It is vital that all people in a child’s life help to make connections between the neurons not hinder by bringing on stress. The five practices that I stressed above will help mold this plastic. Here is an article about how our iQ changes

    For those who were talking about the difference in IQ’s between older siblings and younger siblings this has been documented by science see this article: It came out on the day my son was born!

    That being said I noticed with my son that the difference between a normal and gifted child is how they question the world. They don’t just accept the facts that are given to us, but want to know how and why they came up to this conclusion.

  • 78. IBobsessed  |  April 9, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Norwood: Have you considered what the obvious huge importance you place upon high achievement does to their self esteem when they perform not-so-well? Or the stress they might go through to maintain Daddy/mommy’s image of them as smart? Hope you are saving up for the therapy bills or that you notice when they become overwhelmed or unhappy.

  • 79. Chris  |  April 9, 2014 at 10:06 am

    “the difference between a normal and gifted child is how they question the world.”

    That is *a* difference between *some* gifted children and *some* normal children, yes.

  • 80. klm  |  April 9, 2014 at 10:10 am


    That’s so true what you said about gifted kids wanting to know the basis of why thing are the way they are, then wanting to know how things were figured out in the first place, then why they came to that conclusions, how did they come to that conclusion if people thought differently before and how do we know they’re right now, …….(Oy Vey.)

    I remember my gifted kid wanting to know about life, the Earth, etc., came about. I explained the Big Bang, about the speck that exploded to make the Big Bang, reading from a book explaining how radio waves are still around from it, etc.. She/he then wanted to know where the original speck matter that turned into “star dust” came from, how the Big Bang could have started, What about before the Big Bang, could the process have been just one in a series or is the Big Bang the first of its kind? What about other parts of the cosmos…did they they have Big Bangs? …and on and on….. All this when he/she was 4.

    My regular, just plain bright kids wanted to know how the world started, I told them about the Big Bang and they were satisfied.

    My “regular” kids will learn about the Big Bang in school science class. They’re not interested (don’t get me wrong, they each have their own interests –marine animals, robots, architecture, etc. –but they’re not a ball of a million questions about how and why exactly things are the way they are and how do we know this for sure, etc., like my gifted one).

    This is just one example I could give between my ‘gifted” and non-gifted kids..

  • 81. klm  |  April 9, 2014 at 10:26 am


    I think, if done correctly, there’s no stress on kids. If parents just “do things” with kids, without any obvious stress, urgency or emotional baggage, the kids will be OK. What good parent doesn’t “work” with their kid at any early age with numbers, letters, puzzles, early reading, simple science, when appropriate, etc….. If done right, I could see Test Prep as fun parent-child time with the right attitude and time frame. Obviously the parent/adult has to be sure that all’s OK with the child –no negative cues or obvious displeasure on the part of an adult when they the kid doesn’t understand or gets things wrong, wrong, etc.

    Now, if the parent’s stressed, says anything about how important it is that you do well on this test if you want to go to a “good” school like your brother, etc., then that’s altogether wrong, obviously.

    If kids are up to a “hidden agenda” challenge, without stressing them out, then why not?

    I have a “hidden agenda” (even if it’s not always purposeful or consciously done) my kids –reading, simple math, shapes, patterns, etc., because I’m a decent parent and want my kids to be prepared foe school later on. But I’d never in a million years act upset when they don’t understand or aren’t able to catch on.

    Obviously, nobody wants to see any young child freaked out or stressed over “learning.” Talk about setting that kid up to dislike or hate school, if for no other reason that to get back at their parent.

  • 82. SEES Parent  |  April 9, 2014 at 11:16 am

    “When CPS offers seats in SEES schools to the top testing 1- 2% of the population, they are not saying these children are “geniuses”. That would be absurd. A couple of them in a decade might be, but who the heck thinks every 1 out of 100 or 1 out of 50 people they meet is a “genius?” Jeez. The people who keep harping on whether the children who are in SEES schools are really gifted should realize that “gifted” is not synonymous for “genius”… or it least it did not used to be and should not be.”

    Agreed that 1 in 100 is certainly not genius level, but I really don’t think it’s close to gifted level either, especially if we think of gifted kids as in need of different approaches to education as opposed to an accelerated curriculum. I think gifted is something like 1 in 100,000 in some discrete area. If you define gifted as gifted in some area, then overall frequency will be considerably higher but still well above 1 in 100. Genius is something like 1 in 1,000,000 (less frequent than that if we’re applying it on a historical level).

    Maybe the single most annoying thing about having a kid in an RGC is talking to parents who are otherwise very nice but are convinced their kids are gifted (maybe geniuses even) and are vested in that label. Vast majority of them (including mine) are not.

  • 83. **  |  April 9, 2014 at 11:45 am


  • 84. Chris  |  April 9, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    ” if we think of gifted kids as in need of different approaches to education”

    If we define it down to “in need of different approaches to education [to realize their maximum potential]” (I take the MaxPo as implied) then that applies to virtually everyone. What kid ‘realizes their maximum potential’ under systems designed to most effectively and cheaply educate 90% of the population to a reasonably high level?

    “*Everyone* can be super! And when everyone’s super… [chuckles evilly] … no one will be.”

  • 85. SEES Parent  |  April 9, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    “I guess I am also uncomfortable having a negative reaction to other parents who are comfortable using the word… even though I may sometimes have that reaction.”

    Well, I think you’ll get a chance next year to see how often you have that reaction and how you feel about having that reaction.

  • 86. SEES Parent  |  April 9, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    “If we define it down to “in need of different approaches to education [to realize their maximum potential]” (I take the MaxPo as implied) then that applies to virtually everyone.”

    Okay, then define it to be the ones that would benefit the most from different approaches–the ones with the largest differences in educational outcomes from getting differentiated instruction. Which plausibly would be the “gifted” kids and the kids with learning disabilities.

  • 87. Chris  |  April 9, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    “the ones with the largest differences in educational outcomes from getting differentiated instruction. Which plausibly would be the “gifted” kids and the kids with learning disabilities.”

    And it could plausibly be those who are slightly below average at the start of K. It’s *plausible* that those who are “ahead” at 5 or 6 are merely 75%-ile in “helped by differentiation”. We don’t know for sure. We *certainly* do not know that those with high scores on the entrance tests when 4/5/6 are those most “helped by differentiation”, and there is no basis for claiming that the tests are structured to identify that.

  • 88. Chris  |  April 9, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    “Well, I think [Madeline will] get a chance next year to see how often you have that reaction and how you feel about having that reaction.”

    Yes, based on what I have heard, Madeline, you will have ample opportunity to blanch, and control your facial expressions, as a parent at Edison Regional Gifted Center. Should be good for your facial muscles, at least, and might help your poker game.

  • 89. OTdad  |  April 9, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    @62. Chris:
    @63. TMB:

    I think it comes to how “gifted” is defined. To me, “gifted” means “gifted with very unusual abilities”. The kind of ability seem only be possible with a differently wired brain.

    Here are 2 examples:

  • 90. SEES Parent  |  April 9, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    “And it could plausibly be those who are slightly below average at the start of K. It’s *plausible* that those who are “ahead” at 5 or 6 are merely 75%-ile in “helped by differentiation”. We don’t know for sure. We *certainly* do not know that those with high scores on the entrance tests when 4/5/6 are those most “helped by differentiation”, and there is no basis for claiming that the tests are structured to identify that.”

    First, if you’re going to object to a modest weasel word, that could well reflect your own obsessions rather than any lack of clarity on my part.

    Second, I was not claiming that the CPS tests identify such kids. Indeed, (something approaching) the opposite.

  • 91. Chris  |  April 9, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    OTD: “I think it comes to how “gifted” is defined”

    Yeah, of course.

    And many want it to be defined as “everyone who is as or more ‘gifted’ than my kid”; some want it defined as “everyone who has the same ‘quirks’ as my kid, and is also high-functioning”, and some want it to be “one in a million mind”.

    There’s *some* truth [whatever that is] in each of those definitions. And there’s doubtless much truth in the ‘different wiring’ concept–bc there are some people who can do things (intellectually) that others cannot, regardless of the amount of training, effort, education, repetition, etcetcetc the ‘others’ undertake. But even the ‘different wiring’ that could be considered ‘gifted’ comes in a huge variety of combinations.

  • 92. Chris  |  April 9, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    ” if you’re going to object to a modest weasel word”

    How was I objecting to it?

    I’m saying that *if* (and recognizing not your position, but a *possible* formulation that you offered) “giftedness = most helped by differentiation”, then “giftedness” might end up meaning something *other* than how it is commonly used. Because we don’t know enough about who is helped most by differentiation.

  • 93. OTdad  |  April 9, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    “I’m uncomfortable using the word gifted no matter how my child scores on a test or thinks or behaves. I guess I am also uncomfortable having a negative reaction to other parents who are comfortable using the word… even though I may sometimes have that reaction.”

    Most people can recognize and acknowledge giftedness if given obvious evidence. The reason people may have a negative reaction is probably the “gifted” claim was made with no proof. Acing a 5-minute mysterious test and scored a few points higher is the least acceptable evidence for many.

  • 94. ***  |  April 9, 2014 at 4:47 pm


  • 95. Chris  |  April 9, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Madeline: “misconstruing your brand of humor for bitterness”

    Not bitter at all about CPS, at least. Live in A-A for one of the ‘good’ neighborhood schools. Older would *hate* and be eternally miserable with more homework in mid-elem years, so it’s *perfect* that missed RGC cutoff. Never considered going outside walking distance for school; we’re among the lucky ones for whom CPS ‘works’, at least at thru 8.

    Not exactly sure what one or a few things triggered the question–my comment directly to you about ERGC was 100% joke, based on something specific a friend said to me, and was apropos of your comment.

    Most of the rest of it in this thread (at least) is of a piece with your general discomfort with the use of ‘gifted’, a frustration over the concept of words having meaning and my disagreement with how ‘gifted’ is being used, bafflement at the equation of many autistic traits with ‘gifted’ traits, genuine upset that “every kid can get a 150+” completely ignores that the cognitively impaired are part of the “every kid” cohort, and overlaid with acid humor, all in the context-impaired realm of internet commenting.

    Anyway, I am here, again, apologizing that my tone is (apparently) off. Genuinely, I’m not trying to upset anyone, just flush out the points.

  • 96. **  |  April 9, 2014 at 7:43 pm


  • 97. Parent of a regular kid  |  April 9, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    I find the comment in 76 Norwood odd and the reaction by 78 IBO a genuine concern, and the idea of “cheating the test” to get into an RGC to be beyond desperate. I also take exception with the way non-SEES schools are painted as places where “not all kids want to learn”, their parents don’t interact with and guide them to their potential and the “special” needs of a high ability child could never be met. Yes, I can certainly see where there might be much school yard debate over whose child is a true prodigy and who is the “knock-off”. Sheesh.

  • 98. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  April 9, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    @5 I take issue with the “gifted” label. Being able to do math or to read one or two grade-levels above other students is hardly a sign of being “gifted.” A worthy accomplishment, but not an extraordinary ability.

    Certainly, as Norwood, says you can raise a student’s test scores by practicing the type of questions and concepts that are likely to be tested. In almost every endeavor, intensive practice is necessary for great performance, even when a person has physical or mental attributes that make it easier for them to achieve greatness. Good overview here of how complex this all is.

    Gifted and talented has become a politically defined concept: “A child shall be considered gifted and talented in any area of aptitude, and, specifically, in language arts and mathematics, by scoring in the top 5% locally in that area of aptitude” (105 ILCS 5/14A-20). Northwestern hosts a gifted program that uses a 95th percentile threshold on some nationally normed tests. I don’t see that as particularly high hurdle.

    IN CPS, there is no system in place for assessing or fostering students who are gifted in the fine or performing arts in elementary ages. A chess prodigy falls by the wayside in CPS if he or she does not do well on the RGC or classical exams, which don’t assess chess proficiency. A child might be a savvy engineer but not do well on reading tests, so she is not “gifted” in test-speak.

    As others have pointed out, there’s no reason to believe that many of these children wouldn’t do fine in a “regular” CPS school, many of which indeed help foster children to do very well. My 3rd grader is not at an SEES but scores at the 99th percentile on many tests and has an F&P reading level of U. That doesn’t make her gifted in any way, but shows that neighborhood schools are capable of providing excellent education, when they have sufficient resources.

  • 99. Norwood  |  April 10, 2014 at 5:11 am

    @98. I tried to raise test scores by practicing certain types of questions, and it failed. I think this is why people say “you can’t study for the test” and in this regard, I agree. So instead, I taught the skills the test teaches (albeit with certain types of questions). The impact on academics of this approach is phenomenal.

    When my wee ones get to the last page of their math workbook, and they look back at every single problem that they did on their own with their own tears and hard work, we’re pretty much done with self esteem issues and confidence issues for the rest of their lives. And no matter how hard I try to beat the creativity and initiative out of them, it just grows stronger. That’s what I like the most about the RGC’s.

    When I say “cheat”, I am directly referring to the view that kids are either gifted or not, and there’s no reason to do anything different except to throw them into this test and find out where they will stand for the rest of their miserable genetically programmed lives.

    When Jaime Escalante started teaching at Garfield HS in LA, he was basically told to put together remedial math classes for the dummies in the hood. Instead, he told his students that they will study advanced subjects and their success would depend solely on hard work. He got into a lot of trouble for this, and almost no one agreed with him. It’s genetic, and the boys in the hood obviously didn’t have the right genes.

    HIs success was unparalleled, which is a shame.

    No two people agree on the definition of intelligence, or where it comes from, or how it works. But we all can agree on the end result of hard work. Nonetheless, our culture can’t let go of this elitist attitude that some kids are permanently better than others. Who started this lame thread anyway?

    Oops! Looks like I did.

  • 100. Another Hyde Park Mom  |  April 10, 2014 at 7:37 am

    @27, you are so lucky to have a neighborhood school that not only works for you but that is apparently highly sought after. We live one short block away from a school that I *wish* we could send my kids to, but that is currently not up to par.

    You’re right that more work should be put into improving the neighborhood schools. If it didn’t mean sacrificing my kids’ education in the process, I’d be more enthusiastic about pioneering in the school down the block. I’m still open to running for the LSC there next year as a community member, but I know that any real change would take many years. My oldest is entering kindergarten this fall, and my youngest (#3) will do the same in 4 years. If by then the neighborhood school is much improved, I’d consider sending her. But it would have to be a total turnaround.

    FWIW, my oldest was accepted into Carnegie RGC this year. We toured there last week and were disappointed and unimpressed. The RGC coordinator seems uninterested at best, and we just heard that the gifted kindergarten teacher is leaving at the end of this school year. So we’ll be sending our gifted girl elsewhere.

  • 101. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  April 10, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Quite right that practicing question form alone won’t help unless the students know the concepts necessary to answer them.

    Consider this: there’s a CA math teacher who has a TED talk where he explains how he forces students to figure out what they need to know to answer a question. So instead of giving the volume of a water-cooler tank, the height of the water, the diameter of the opening, and Torricelli’s theorem and then asking the students how long it will take the tank to drain, he shows them the tank of water and asks, “What information do you need to find out how long it will take to drain the tank?”

    A student who is astute at computation should be able to do well on the first form, but might be stumped on the 2nd. And one who knows how to figure out the 2nd form but is clumsy at computation might bollocks the 1st form.

    Which one is more gifted?

  • 102. OTdad  |  April 10, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    A student who is astute at computation and also knows the 2nd form.

  • 103. Chris  |  April 10, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Q: “Which one is more gifted?”

    A1: “A student who is astute at computation and also knows the 2nd form.”

    A2: Cyborg Einstein.

    A3: God. Whichever, of your personal preference.

    A4: The kid with the tic, who can’t sit still, and suggests that shooting a hole in the tank will make it drain faster. This kid gets expelled from his charter school for making ‘terroristic threats’ against the hypothetical water-cooler tank.

    A5: None of the above, because fighting the hypo always gets marked incorrect on a elementary-level test.

  • 104. reenie  |  April 10, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    @100 Hyde Park mom thanks for confirming we were right to say no to Carnegie RGC. Sorry to hear the gifted K teacher is leaving–I believe I’ve heard good things about here elsewhere on this blog.

  • 105. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  April 10, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Aint A4 and A5 the truth.

  • 106. PoeParent  |  April 10, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    My daughter scored high enough for the gifted and classical programs when testing for kindergarten. I did the types of activities that I read were on gifted tests (sequencing, patterns, analogies, etc.). Her score on the gifted test was 99.4 and on the classical test 99.8. Though she is a very bright girl, she is not gifted. I don’t think you can teach giftedness but you can work with a young child to the point where they can do well on these tests if you make it fun and they enjoy it.

  • 107. south sider  |  April 10, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    @95 Chris, would you mind explaining what A-A means as a neighborhood for people like me who aren’t in on the abbreviation? I like to think I know Chicago but I’ve never heard that one before. Maybe cause I’m just a lowly South Sider.

  • 108. Chris  |  April 11, 2014 at 10:02 am

    South Sider: “what A-A means as a neighborhood”

    Attendance Area. I’m too lazy to type it out every time, especially bc I usually type it wrong.

  • 109. Mozart  |  April 11, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius. -Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  • 110. Norwood  |  April 12, 2014 at 8:03 am

    I am responding to @Groundededucator/crazyparent’s post on the test score thread. It’s a good post and worth reading. I think this is a philosophical discussion because we’re lacking statistics, but here it goes.

    A child shows up with preferences, likes and dislikes, and their own unique abilities. How wonderful. A parent shows up with a duty to make them successful in life – in terms of following their preferences and succeeding in whatever it is that they set out to do, and successfully dealing with failure along the way.

    But this doesn’t mean that the child gets to do what they want to do before the age of 22, nor is giftedness or nongiftedness any excuse.

    So the gifted little kid who’s bored in class and doesn’t want to pay attention is going to get a fresh dose of discipline in the form of my boot up their … pants. Whatever it is that makes this kid “special” in this regard. I’ll show you special, you piece of junk. Drop and give me 20 multiple choice questions. It’s great to have gifts, but if you waste them they’re not gifts at all. (If a tree falls in the forest?)

    As I’m struggling to figure out what I need to do as a parent, I notice other parents come along with their children and I watch. Music seems to be important, and they get their kids to succeed here whether the kid needs a box of kleenex near the piano or not. What a wonderful gift that the kid will appreciate later in life. Then there’s reading. And numbers, and big huge week long art projects that fill the hallway, and deep questions and other thinks I observe. And the 2 year old girl who pointed out the Eiffel tower in a book.

    Meanwhile my son Cletus is poking his little brother Bubba with a stick because Bubba is picking his nose again. Hmmm, seems like I’ve got some work to do.

    I don’t see the gifted program so much as a status symbol as a meter. It doesn’t necessarily have to fire off at age 5 – my preference would be 11 or 12. Or maybe 16. Definitely before age 17 because I’m not paying $60,000 a year for stick poking.

    What makes me unique (unfortunately) is that it never occurred to me that giftedness is some magical gift from above. It is a gift of time and effort from the parent. I’ve got an approach to this investment and definite limits. Because of this, I’ve got a son who loves school – accelerated by 2 years, who puts reasonable consistent effort into this, and if he gets a B we sit down and try to figure out what we’re doing wrong. Outside of school, he does creative and wonderful things that he sees all the way through. I’m guess advertising writer at this point, but we could be leaning toward drama. I would prefer math but it’s not my job to pick his career, just ensure execution.

    He has a classmate who effortlessly gets all A’s and if he got a B it would be a crisis of global proportions. I noticed that too, changed gears again, and now I’m preparing to launch another one into the RGC who has this going for him as well.

    The tragedy here in my opinion is the parents who fall into the Stone Age Education thinking who just see smart and dumb and leave it at that. It’s all learned. Even the specialness. It requires encouragement and fostering and love and a boot. (This boot is metaphorical because even if I yell I get crying and lose the whole night of test prep.)

    I don’t fault teachers for Stone Age thinking because I can’t see what they could do with 32 kids in a classroom unless they work 16 hours a day and get heavy involvement with parents. So I fight other battles.

    When parents approach me with the question “How do I prepare for this test”, I answer with not only test preparation, but RGC preparation and everything else academic and academic life preparation. Totally doable. Requires work and discipline applied on a consistent daily basis. You probably have to change all of your activities as well. We’re talking 99% here. It’s totally worth it and awesome, and it is a great status symbol for a parent. I’m thinking of getting a license plate that reads BOOT2RGC.

  • 111. Anonymous  |  April 12, 2014 at 8:27 am

    “But this doesn’t mean that the child gets to do what they want to do before the age of 22”

    Then they’re not even going to know who they are apart from Daddy’s goals for them. (because you sound like a Dad).
    It really sounds like your kids are a project/product/object for you to control, Norwood. Hope you are prepared for the day when they say f off dad this is my life. And I hope they have the strength to do so, soon.

  • 112. far northsider  |  April 12, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    @110 Norwood, I dearly hope that you’re engaging in hyperbole here. I have two older kids – one at Bell, one now at a SEHS who did not attend a SEES – and there are so many assumptions here I disagree with that I hardly know where to start.

    So I’ll start here: Our parenting styles seem to be polar opposites. I don’t believe in test prep and have never done any with my kids; I don’t believe academic success is the be-all, end-all measure of achievement; I do not care if my kids don’t get into Ivy League schools; and I believe that activities outside school are extremely valuable, though not through forced participation – we’ve tried many, many activities and the kids eventually settled on ones they love.

    I agree that (some proportion of) kids can be taught to pass an admissions test; the question is: why? “Passing” the test, or getting an offer of admission from an RGC, is not necessarily an indicator of giftedness; it’s a measure of how well one kid did on a test on a certain day relative to other kids. Conversely, “Not Passing” i.e. not getting into an RGC, doesn’t mean that a child is not gifted. And, RGCs are not the only good schools out there; they are one of many possible academic choices, and the RGC label in itself does not necessarily guarantee academic quality (see: all of the parents on the SEES thread turning down Carnegie and Beasley offers).

    I know that anecdotes are not equal to data, but they’re what I’ve got, so here goes: First Kid (or K1 for ease of typing) took the gifted test way back when Edison was the only RGC starting in Kindergarten on the north side (no Coonley; Pritzker at the time started in 1st grade), got a 99.5%ile score and no offer. K1 received lottery offers from two schools; we went with the up-and-coming magnet cluster with a strong vision and teachers all on the same page. We thought about testing for Bell the next year but the school seemed like such a good fit for K1 – and for our family – that we didn’t. Fast forward eleven years and K1 is thriving at Northside. (For those curious – 900 score, no test prep.)

    The school didn’t seem as good a fit for Second Kid (K2), who is more of a math/science kid and from a young age asked sophisticated questions and seemed qualitatively different in perceptiveness than K1. So we tested K2 for RGCs and turned down a Kindergarten offer at Edison to try for Bell (closer to K1’s school, liked the program better on paper) in 1st grade, and got in first-round. Yay, right? Still an open question as far as I’m concerned.

    Comparing their academic experiences over time: in reading, Bell works with materials above grade level but both schools are equivalent in level of literary analysis. I feel like K1 received better constructive criticism in writing; for K2, some of the teacher’s feedback has been more on the order of “not as good as your peers” instead of making suggestions for HOW it could be better. Mathwise, Bell has been working only one grade level up and at the end K2 will have finished algebra – same as K1. Teachers at Bell have been more traditional in approach, with lots of workbooks and (with certain teachers) memorization. K1’s school takes an inquiry-based approach to learning and K1 learned far more about research skills than K2; Bell’s approach has been closer to “Here’s a project; go do it. Hopefully your parents will show you how.” Bell is currently working on vertical integration for the Options program, though why they haven’t been working on that all along is unclear; K1’s school wrote their own curriculum and has been vertically aligned for years. Bell has seemed more like a loose collection of teachers with different priorities, approaches, and knowledge of the needs of gifted/accelerated kids than a program, and honestly it’s been frustrating.

    In addition, K1’s school does a far better job in building community in the school and within each classroom than Bell, where the atmosphere is more competitive than cooperative. Some of the kids in K2’s class have been unbelievably rude to the kids who don’t have straight As or aren’t as “Type A” as they are and the teachers and administration haven’t done enough to curb it.

    The end result? I have a third kid in in preschool now. We’ll be looking at Kindergarten programs next year, and I’m going to skip the whole SEES process. I’ll be looking for a school with good community, down to earth parents, a wide range of arts and creative opportunities, and yes, academic excellence – and I’m not going to be whipping my kid to do well on an arbitrary test. Best of luck to you, though.

  • 113. Norwood  |  April 12, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    @far northsider

    Thanks for your thought proving post. I think we’re pretty much on the same page here. I checked off everything you said as a “yep” with the exception of Northside. We have a budding IB 2 blocks away, and I’m really thinking the 90 extra minutes of sleep or activities might be the best route to go.

    But I draw the line at “900 score, no test prep” especially because of your disapproval of my position. Many of the parents posting here are baffled at their kids’ scores in the 50th percentile. What conclusion is another parent supposed to draw from this statement?
    It’s smug, elitist, and unnecessary. I’ve run words that aren’t expletives to describe this.

    Speaking of dumb, I asked my son what he wants to do today. “Play on the iPad”. I asked him what he wants to eat. “A bag of gummie worms.” I asked him what he wants to do when he grows up “I want to play on the computer all day like you do.” You think I’m going to give him $240,000 for college and spend it how he sees fit? This is U of I by the way, for those who haven’t been tracking college inflation. He can go where ever he wants for grad school.

  • 114. far northsider  |  April 12, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Sorry Norwood – The only point I was trying to make by adding that in there was that kids do not have to come from a SEES/RGC to do well on the selective enrollment high school exam and/or the ISAT (now MAP). K1’s circle of friends from the same school all got into SEHS or selective performing arts programs without being pushed, test-prepped or helicopter-parented to the degree that you seem to be advocating. (Unless you really are a satirist, in which case more apologies are in order I guess – my internet radar for these things is not always the best.)

    And K2’s answers would be the same except substitute chips for gummy worms – and yes, he gets to pick his major someday. 🙂

  • 115. Norwood  |  April 12, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    OK, I apologize too. I’m personally offended by people like my brother-in-law (curse you brother-in-law) who does no work and stakes through his PhD with 4 kids. Instead of studying, he played his guitar all the time. Remember that scene with John Belushi in Animal House where the smashed the guitar into the wall? I got in trouble when I did it, and had to patch the drywall.

    And yes, it’s all hyperbole except for the fact that all of these gifts are trainable and teachable. I had no choice. K1 wasn’t really good at anything, he just worked at it and outsourced to his friends until his goals were met. Like a project manager, ironically. K2 doesn’t have any gifts either, but we worked a little bit every day.

    Today on the way into the Barnes and Nobel K2 asked if Aristotlan Wisdom was true. I laughed and asked him what the heck he was talking about. Since he’s about 2 feet tall, jaws dropped. Then there was the time he taught himself multiplication with negative numbers on the spot. Big deal. I was there for 2 years throwing odd ball problems at him that I thought might be on the test and letting him sink or swim.

    I am willing to bet you that if I went back in time and followed you and your kid around all day long like a ghost I would see step by step just how your kids got these gifts. But I don’t have to, because researchers have already begun doing just this, and they’ve found striking results, in the number of distinct vocabulary words that a parent uses with their kid each day, the number of questions, the approach, the encouragement, which books are read, the activities a kid does when he is alone, etc.

    Not every kid is going to get this before year 5. But a parent can make up for lost time, and that’s what I am proposing.

    I’m sorry to hear about your Bell experience. I found the Bell parents to be really cooperative and down to earth. There is no competition at all. Occasionally I try to get K1 to talk smack before a test just to shake things up a bit. Not on reading comprehension, unless he plans to actually read it instead of guess, or Social Studies – smack before a social studies test is just goofy. But he won’t do it.

  • 116. walker  |  April 14, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    I took a sheet of paper and covered an outlet on a wall painted uniformly in light yellow. Then I asked my son (5 year old at that time without any expose to gifted test types of questions) what’s behind. He gave me the best and worst answer at the same time: “I don’t know”. It was the best, because I believe in STEM areas challenging everything around you is one of the most important qualities. It’s the worst because it’s wrong for gifted tests as “the right answer” should be “light yellow wall”. So, I realized that “test giftedness” is questionable and probably can be taught or at least improved.

  • 117. Cary  |  April 15, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Norwood, would you talk about Heckman’s findings on the Perry Preschool Project? Briefly he says that high quality preschool provides a 10% rate of return through less crime, more schooling, and better workforce. Interestingly, one of his charts show that the Perry Preschool children’s early IQ boost from quality preschool reverted to a more normal level by about 5th grade. The kids he studied were poor from neglected neighborhoods but showed lifelong benefits. And that led to his conclusion that it isn’t the IQ boost that counts but the character development. This thread has been all about IQ boosts. And the question I have is does IQ for all kids tend to revert to the ‘norm’ — if that is the right term — by a certain age? Does it depend on whether differentiated or accelerated learning continues? Or does at least some of the IQ boost persist? Did you find research on this? Thanks.

  • 118. walker  |  April 15, 2014 at 11:37 am

    I did a small experiment in my company and asked employees to take a custom gifted test for kids (NNAT2 mostly). A guy with PhD got the highest result (no surprise here). At the same time there were 2 huge deviations in opposite directions between my expectations based on performance and the actual results. In those two cases Critical Thinking was highly correlated with the test results but one quality stood out – the ability to not give up. It maybe coincidence but still an interesting result…

  • 119. Anonymous  |  April 15, 2014 at 11:58 am

    @117 Cary, I am perplexed as to why someone would ask Norwood’s (no offense intended Norwood, simply stating facts) opinion about questions on the reversion of IQ boost to the norm in preschool educated kids. He’s a Dad cramming his own kids to get into RGCs not a scientific researcher.

  • 120. momof3fish  |  April 16, 2014 at 10:16 am

    i dont think all the kids at the rgc’s are gifted. i personally think they are not “gifted” at all just plain-old-smart. there are a bunch of them who should clearly pull out but for some insane reason their parents leave them there (maybe for the prestige of it) and they struggle for years. i dont think one can be taught to be gifted. you either are or not. when my child went to northwestern recently to take the explorer test. there was a child there who, ihmo, was clearly gifted, you can tell by the way he spoke, carried himself, and he was “different” from the other kids. different, not in a bad way, but you can just tell. i’ll bet he was the 3rd grader (maybe it was 4th, i dont have the report in front of me) who scored a perfect score. i think my child is a super smart, well rounded kid but i dont think he is gifted. i think he is the combo of his oldest brother(who tests well, but lazy) and the middle(who works hard and gets straight As but tests terrible).

  • 121. Celestia  |  April 16, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Define “giftedness”? I think giftedness is not a state of being, but a process. To me, someone who is gifted doesn’t regurgitate facts on command, but uses facts to solve problems in a different way or who has the unique perspective. If my kid can check off the right box does that make him capable of coming up with a unique solution? I think that capacity to see the world in a unique and different way is part of childhood…and in our quest to score and label, we distance each kid from that gift. Reminds me of a couple of occasions in the park: 1) Kid is on the jungle gym, and the mom calls out: Honey, get down from there, it is time for your gymnastics class. 2) Kid in the sand box and tosses and out and says: Look, Mommy, snow. And, the mom replied: Don’t be silly. That isn’t snow, it is sand.

  • 122. Test Me  |  April 18, 2014 at 7:28 am

    “Yes, IQ Really Matters
    Critics of the SAT and other standardized testing are disregarding the data.”

    “The SAT does predict success in college—not perfectly, but relatively well, especially given that it takes just a few hours to administer. And, unlike a “complex portrait” of a student’s life, it can be scored in an objective way.”
    ” found that test score (SAT or ACT—whichever the student took) correlated strongly with cumulative GPA at the end of the fourth year.”
    “SAT scores even predict success beyond the college years. ”

    “The second popular anti-SAT argument is that, if the test measures anything at all, it’s not cognitive skill but socioeconomic status.”
    “It’s true that economic background correlates with SAT scores. Kids from well-off families tend to do better on the SAT. However, the correlation is far from perfect. In the University of Minnesota study of nearly 150,000 students, the correlation between socioeconomic status, or SES, and SAT was not trivial but not huge. (A perfect correlation has a value of 1; this one was .25.) What this means is that there are plenty of low-income students who get good scores on the SAT; there are even likely to be low-income students among those who achieve a perfect score on the SAT.”

    “Thus, just as it was originally designed to do, the SAT in fact goes a long way toward leveling the playing field, giving students an opportunity to distinguish themselves regardless of their background. Scoring well on the SAT may in fact be the only such opportunity for students who graduate from public high schools that are regarded by college admissions offices as academically weak.”
    “Research has consistently shown that prep courses have only a small effect on SAT scores—and a much smaller effect than test prep companies claim they do. For example, in one study of a random sample of more than 4,000 students, average improvement in overall score on the “old” SAT, which had a range from 400 to 1600, was no more than about 30 points.”

    “Scores on the SAT correlate very highly with scores on IQ tests—so highly that the Harvard education scholar Howard Gardner, known for his theory of multiple intelligences, once called the SAT and other scholastic measures “thinly disguised” intelligence tests. ”

    ” In fact, disregarding IQ—by admitting students to colleges or hiring people for jobs in which they are very likely to fail—is harmful both to individuals and to society. ”


  • 123. Norwood  |  April 18, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    @119 The reason that @117 is asking me to interpret this study is that I’m the only person in the field of “IQ” who has any common sense whatsoever. in the land of the blind, the one eye’d man is king. Apparently I’m falling way behind on self promotion.

    @117 – Here’s your answer. It wasn’t the impact on education or character. It was the impact on the parents, by demonstrating to them that education matters. It took researchers 50 more years to realize that parents had any role in the success of the child. In this study, you’d have to assume that the parent is totally clueless that their kid is at a top notch preschool program run by top notch educators in order to exclude this correlate. (@119, you should be getting nervous because I’m using the term “correlate” and I’m only a dad.)

    I read all of these studies, the majority of which dealt with impoverished, disadvantaged children. They all had an impact, and the impact was temporary. From these papers I came to view IQ as totally learned – even before I studied IQ and realized it was all a sham.

    This study brings up other questions as well. First of all, would this work with spoiled, overly privileged children? (Yes, both of them). Secondly, would it work with children who are older? (I’m saying yes, but I’m still working on this right now.) And thirdly, can it be repeated on a broader scale on the South Side? I’m thinking.

  • 124. thisiswhatiknowaboutiq  |  April 19, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Norwood, for whatever reason I have been interested in iq for a long time. This is what I know:

    Over 20 years ago “The Bell Curve” was published. The central thesis of this book was that iq exists, it measures something useful and it is heritable. Genes don’t determine everything but about half of iq.

    This set off a firestorm of controversy because different races have different mean iqs. So the American Psychological Ass. did a literature review, which agreed with the authors of The Bell Curve that iq exists and predicts school success but said no genetic basis has been found to date.

    Why go into all this? The RGC test is an iq test. COGAT iirc.

    First at such a young age the predictive power is low. IE a person can move around somewhat as they mature.

    Second, like any neuropsychological test, it is learnable. If used diagnostically (brain damage) a particular iq test is not valud if given more than once a year.

    So what do you want to do to get your kid into RGC? Give them many, many iq tests. Tell the kid they are puzzles. Most iq tests are similar. They all help.

  • 125. 606133  |  April 30, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    I have heard that gifted children learn differently. Has anyone else heard this? I have been unable to find information on this.

  • 126. Norwood  |  May 2, 2014 at 10:15 am

    @606113 (that’s some zip code)
    There have been a lot of studies on this, and you can just go to and read through some of the papers. I think the test for K and 1-6 are looking for the differentiators.

    Here are some examples:

    1. They get excited about challenging problems and things they don’t know.
    2. They are not put off by frustration, like getting something wrong. It motivates them.
    3. They look through the problem more carefully and see things that other kids miss. Same with potential answers.
    4. They apply things they just learned to new situations. Many kids don’t think to put 2 and 2 together and forget about examples quickly.
    5. They address problems, especially in math, from different perspectives. In math, they tend to visualize problems with their hands.
    6. They can think step-by-step through multi-step problems.
    7. They have a lot of fortitude to stick it out for long periods of time, probably because of #1-#6.
    8. They tend to walk away from the problem and do their own. Eg, they may see a play and then want to write and perform their own. They may stop right in the middle of a math problem and start writing their own. This may be a derivative of #4.

    By the way, there are also studies wherein a researcher teaches these tools to kids, and then measures test scores and academic performance against a control group. Guess what? Kids always do better when they are taught these skills. The biggest impact is for kids that are underperformers or kids from disadvantaged neighborhoods.

    Do you have a kid who exhibits unusual learning behavior? Please share.

  • 127. 606133  |  May 4, 2014 at 9:07 am

    He often covers his ears or tells me to stop talking.So I thought maybe I needed a better approach. 🙂

  • 128. newbie  |  May 4, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    “The only major personality trait that consistently leads to success is….


  • 129. Robin in WRP  |  May 4, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Granted, the processes have changed since my now 18 year was starting at CPS. We did not do any test prep for either Decatur (which she attended), the gifted program, or the academic centers (she went to Whitney). As Mrs. Schacter (the original Decatur Classical principal) liked to explain, when you expose your child to the world, by reading, going to museums, walking in the park, etc., you are preparing your child for school and testing.

  • 130. I only read the short posts  |  June 14, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Easy enough to get into RGC but when they are in will they keep up – or be the “dunce” of the class – which is not ideal for them

  • 131. walker  |  June 15, 2014 at 7:55 am

    @126 Let me be a guinea pig here 🙂 The Norwood’s list is exactly what I saw in myself and my friends. If you ask me to order all those traits, #1&#2 would be on the top.

    I remember I came across a Norwood’s statement (I guess it was Norrwood’s one but can’t find it) that gifted kids will 100% fail in college. Although I don’t like any “100%” statements, I should admit that there are some anecdotal evidences from my life that support the statement. It happened to me (at least over a short period of time) and some of my classmates. Luckily, I managed to escape and ended up with PhD etc, but some weren’t so lucky.
    So, what’s the reason? Well, it’s exactly #1&#2 on the Norwood’s list. Remove challenges and discourage failures as a way to learn, and gifted kids (even adults) will lose any interested in what they are doing. It’s also pretty challenging to teach those kids as they can (and in most cases are) smarter (not wiser though) than their teachers. I remember many cases when some kids found much simpler and original solutions to challenging problems in well-respected books. I remember one guy who could solve complex integrals just looking into ceiling for a few minutes. In a “gifted” school teachers get use to it mainly because they are great teachers and #2 works for them too. Possible they teach differently and more like facilitators who’s main task is to steer gifted kids toward challenges. One of our teachers who prepared us for International and National contests never said something like “let me teach you how to solve those types of problems”, never, it was more like “let’s see who’s the first one to crack this problem. I have a big chocolate candy for the winner”. When nobody could solve it (it happened… not so often though), he just showed the solution and took the candy. He exploited #1 in its pure form 🙂 In real life, some teachers may feel very uncomfortable when somebody points out their mistakes and challenges their statements. So, my personal hard-learned take-away is to teach my kids what to do when they lose a sight of #1&#2, when the world stops spoon-feeding them with challenges, and how to find challenges/failure-tolerant environment again.

    I think #6 is the weakest trait. Actually, I would say opposite as gifted kids (because of #5) may see the problem (challenging multi-step problem) as a whole picture when the solution just become obvious without a clear step-by-step strategy. It’s kind of “aha” way to solve challenging problems. Basically, a step-by-step solution may rather be a solution itself than a way to find one. I noticed, that the way people tell you how they solved a problem might be pretty different from how they actually solved it.

    All above is related to math/science and I have no clue whether it’s the same for “gifted” readers/writers.

    My formula of “giftedness” is 5% of luck + 5% of genetics + 90% of hard work and perseverance that comes with it.

  • 132. You are more than your mind  |  June 15, 2014 at 10:47 am

    I’m confused. Doesn’t Norwood claim that giftedness can be taught, and his kids are examples? If Norwood believes giftedness can be taught, then why is he advancing the claim that there are what seem to be described as inherent/inborn traits of gifted kids #1-8?

    That point aside, regarding #1 and #2, a Stanford study showed that kids who are frequently told they are “smart” or “gifted”, can develop a fear of getting something wrong because they feel they must live up to their gifted image. They then can avoid challenges because they are afraid to fail and disappoint mom and dad who get such an ego boost from and take such pride in their child’s specialness. So, I’m not sure that #1 and #2 above are inherent traits of gifted kids.

    I praised my kid’s hard work when I saw her all As and 1B report card. I didn’t freak over the B either.

  • 133. Check Out  |  July 13, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Check Out

    Can “giftedness” be taught? To all kids? | CPS Obsessed

  • 134. conversational tone  |  July 25, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    conversational tone

    Can “giftedness” be taught? To all kids? | CPS Obsessed

  • 135. Chicago School GPS  |  August 29, 2014 at 8:20 am

    Sal Khan agrees…..The mindset is more important than “innate” ability.

    “Researchers have known for some time that the brain is like a muscle; that the more you use it, the more it grows. They’ve found that neural connections form and deepen most when we make mistakes doing difficult tasks rather than repeatedly having success with easy ones.
    What this means is that our intelligence is not fixed, and the best way that we can grow our intelligence is to embrace tasks where we might struggle and fail.”

  • 136. Darragh  |  March 4, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Giftedness cant be thought and the test doesn’t underpin schools because those tests are geared for 2-3 years ahead. You cant teach it because it comes naturally and if you did give your child higher level lessons then the test is unfair, not for everybody else but for your child because when harder stuff comes up your child wont be able to keep up. People have giftedness because genes.

    The reason gifted children fail is because they never have to study or work hard or feel challenged at primary or secondary school, so they aren’t used to studying or trying to work hard. Thats one problem with almost all educational systems they don’t normally cater for gifted children or give them harder work they either 1. give them more sums or exercises. 2. this is the worst and has the most boredom in it which is making gifted children help children with dyslexia or ADHD which literally annoys them and makes them annoyed why they have to do it or 3. Ignore them.

    This is coming from a gifted child and I am gifted because I got a test from a gifted association in Ireland and got given a test of work 2 years ahead of me and the work they gave wasn’t stuff you couldn’t figure out I was you had to use your higher mathematical reasoning (if you were gifted).

    I have never been forced to study or told to learn stuff, I normally didn’t even study and naturally I went into my head in class. Seriously don’t force your child into this because he probably doesn’t belong here and I don’t have parents who pressure me I think thats absurd to think that and that it discredits the child of his/her natural ability.

    You can teach the ability to do stuff but it comes naturally to some and the you can’t teach verbal or mathematical reasoning, because that is when you have no formula but have to find one by your self.
    The only thing that can underpin almost every school is that gifted children don’t get the appropriate quality of education that they can handle because it all seems like they are learning the abc’s over and over and thats how it felt for me. So even if you are cruel enough to force your child into this, you wont even get the education for gifted children.

    I am a gifted teen.

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