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Preschool Gifted Education Program

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My 3 year and 1 month old son just underwent a battery of tests to determine his eligibility to attend a local gifted pre-school program. Could you please interpret the results and comment on the validity of the cumulative tests and whether you believe he is of gifted ability?

Peabody Pict. Vocab -Score of MA =4yr.6mos.
Detroit Test of learning Aptitude Verbal Opposites - Score of MA = 6yr. 3mos.

McCarthy Screening
     Verbal Memory - Score MA = 4yr.0mos.
     Numeric Memory - Score MA = 4yr.0mos
     Conceptual Grouping - Score MA=6yr. 6mos
     Slosson Intelligent Test - Score of IQ=141

Thank you for your help.

A: I am really amazed at the number of tests your son went through for a preschool gifted education program. In fact, at three, it is surprising that he was given the tests since most have an age requirement of at least four years of age (e.g, the Slosson Intelligence Test that is used for a quick estimate of general verbal cognitive ability requires a minimum age of 4 years).

The results interpretations are quite clear to show a rather advanced ability for your son. This is based on the mental age based on each test against his chronological age. Every test indicated a mental age of at least four, which means that his ability is about at least a year advanced in most tests. Therefore, based on the test alone, I would assume that he would possibly be in the gifted range and would gain from early intervention based on his learning ability.

For most preschoolers, test results may not be representative of their general ability since most of such tests require verbal responses to item. Hence, children who are not very able to express themselves verbally may not score as well as children who are more verbally advanced on a non-verbal test.

It is also believed that such tests may not be very reliable in the identification of the young gifted especially below five years of age. Below five years of age, it is hard to predict giftedness with accuracy as compared to above that age for more stable and reliable indicators.

For now, since it can be assumed that your son has advanced verbal ability, you may want to encourage him word play, play-writing, rhyming games and so on. For a balanced ability in fine motor skills, he can also be encouraged to draw, handling and using scissors, gluing words and pictures, etc. For practical skills, include puzzles, organizing and building toys (such as Lego and other similar toys).

However, your son had shown above average ability based on his chronological age and he should gain admission in a preschool gifted education program without difficulty. He would surely gain from an early intervention to tap on his abilities to the maximum. Best of luck.


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