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Enrolment in the Gifted Program

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: Our county here in Florida offers a gifted program starting in 3rd grade. The way to get in is to score a 130 or higher on their IQ test. Our 2nd grade son is very bright. He has been placed in the 4th grade math class and is the top student there. He is reading 6th grade level books. He is a very high academic achiever in all areas in class.

They tested his IQ and he scored a 116. This score will not get him into the gifted program, where we feel he belongs to get the challenge he needs in all areas. (He does not like being pulled out of class for the 4th grade math, etc. He likes to be a part of the group). My question is whether we should push the administrators to look at achievement in the class over the IQ test scores to get him into this program, or is he just a bright student and not gifted? Thank you.

A: It is really unfortunate that your son did not gain admittance in the gifted program based on his IQ scores alone. From your description, he may be potentially gifted; however, the school may not think so based on their identification criteria. But this does not mean that he is not gifted. Different schools have varying procedures in screening students for gifted programs. Most schools use intelligence tests as the primary measure to assess giftedness (usually with a minimum score of 130) , but some schools use a combination of assessments which may also take into account other factors such as performance in the classroom, achievement test scores, recommendations by parent or teacher, leadership qualities, creativity, or talent in a specific area.

Since your son is not very happy to be pulled out of class for specific subjects and would rather be part of a group, I believe that you should really push the administrators to look at other factors over the IQ test scores to get him in a more appropriate program. If the school accepts testing results from an outside source, it may be a good idea to get him privately tested to be sure of his scores as there may be a number of factors linked to the reason he did not meet the required cut-off point (so a second opinion can be helpful). You may also want to discuss with his teachers for the best educational opportunities to help him develop his potential.

More than anything else, if you think your son has above average abilities (regardless of being gifted or not), he probably deserves to be in an educational environment that would nurture his potentials. So, yes, go all out and make sure your son gets the educational attention he deserves, whether from his school or his parents. Good luck.


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