Posts tagged ‘CPS Chicago Public Schools Gifted Program’

Our CPS Gifted/Classical Testing Experience (Pre-Kindergarten)

Before the Gifted/Classical testing, I’d scoured the message boards and interrogated other parents about what might be on the test.  Apparently that is the best kept secret in the city.  Something is done to keep these kids from talking.  Something nice and subtle, yet supremely effective.  All I could gather was that the gifted test measures logical thinking and the classical test measures reading and writing readiness.  Word on the street is that the longer your kid is in the room, the better they performed.  The testing center told me the maximum time could reach 55 minutes for both tests.  In the meantime I’ve heard a rumor that the testers mess with the minds of nutty parents like me and keep the kids in there a long time just coloring and stuff after the test is over.  (What kind of weird educational mental torture is that?!  Give me the water treatment, but don’t mess with the gifted testing you sadists.)


The day of his test, my son had preschool in the morning.  I picked up after lunch with a buffet of snacks and what I’m sure was a fake overly-pleasant attitude.  My number one fear was that with him being an introverted child who is tentative in new situations, he would not walk into the testing room without me.  Ultimately, I didn’t care all that much.  I wasn’t that into getting a spot in a Gifted/Classical school, I just wanted some validation that my kid was halfway intelligent and that I hadn’t done something in his 4.5 short years to mess up his brain.  But since we were weighing the option of staying in private school I couldn’t help but see 9 years of decent free education dangling out there like a carrot on a stick.


We arrived early (for once in my life) and were lucky enough to be taken right away.  (woo hoo, that means other kids finished the test early… gives us a better chance!)  All I can say is that whoever selects the testers has done an amazing job.  A woman took my son away from me and he went so willingly it made me question whether his Stranger Safety video had made any kind of impact at all.  Off he went, happy as could be with nary a look back at me. (Buddy, look out! If she tries to get you to leave the building, make a run for it!)  I immediately consulted my watch so I could start my neurotic timing of the test.


Twenty minutes passed and they brought him out to the lobby.

“Ohhhhhhhh,” I said in my fake happy voice, “Done already?!”  I’m sure the testing lady could see the palpable disappointment on my face and she pegged me as “one of those” parents.

“He needed to take a bathroom break” said the tester.

“YESSSSSS!”  No, I didn’t actually say that – just thought it.

Clearly he had been coached not to speak to me.  He passed by and waved as a man took him over to the bathroom.

Back to the test he went for another 15 minutes.  So 25 in total.  Eh.  Oh well.


As we walked back out to the car I waited a good 5 minutes before starting my lighthearted questioning.   What was on the test?  Silence.  Did they ask you to read?  No.  To write? No.  To tell a story about a picture? No.  Which things were bigger or smaller than others? No.  What order pictures would go in to form a story? No.  Well, what did you do in there all that time?  I can’t remember.   God, they’d gotten to him.  He wasn’t talking.


On the drive on the way home he told me the following tidbit:

Him: “I had a dud pencil so I couldn’t write down any of the answers.”

Me: (Hyperventaliting internally, yet maintaining outward calm.  Trying not to sound utterly horrified.)  “You mean the pencil wouldn’t write? (Wait, 4 year olds can barely even write!? They had to write down their answers?!)

Him: No, it wouldn’t write at all.

Me: Did you tell the lady?

Him: Nah.

Me: Hmmmm. And she didn’t notice it wasn’t working?

Him.  No.


Could this be real?  Should I turn the car around and go back for another chance?  Demand a good pencil?  Could he have made this all up?  I don’t think he even knows what a dud pencil is!  There is no WAY that most of the test involved pencils!  Is there?


That night I relayed the conversation to his Dad.

Me: ….so he said the lady didn’t notice the “dud” pencil at all.

Dad: That was the test.

Me: Wuh?

Dad: That was the test. (Dramatic pause…) To see what a kid would do if they’re given a dud pencil during a test.

Me:.  Noooooooo.  They wouldn’t! 

Me: Would they?

Me:  My God.  That would be so weird and manipulative.  No.  No no no.  I cannot believe that. They seemed so nice.


And so – we were left with no idea about what was on those tests or how it went.  Or if a pencil was involved.  Or if it was a dud.

Eventually I found out one single thing that had allegedly been part of the test.  It involved writing a 2-letter word.  The other 24 minutes remain a mystery.




July 24, 2008 at 5:07 pm 15 comments




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