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Unchallenged Gifted Children

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My daughter was tested using the Terra Nova testing last year during first grade. In reading she scored in the 97th percentile, while in language and math in the 99th. She is in the CAP program at school, yet rarely had homework and seemed to grasp everything very easily. Are we doing enough for her to have her simply continue in the CAP program, or should she be in another sort of program or school. Our school is in Michigan and the cap program seems to be the only program offered for children here. What should we do? Thank you.

A: I believe the CAP program you are referring to is the Challenging Academic Potential program (there are many other programs with the same abbreviation). I am not very familiar with this program. However I shall attempt to address your concerns.

Your daughter did very well in the test and should be placed in a gifted program, which I believe the school did. It is quite strange that she does not have much work and her ability to grasp learning easily indicates that she may need more difficult work to keep her challenged and motivated.

What I think you may want to do before exploring other avenues is to see what is really offered in this program. In the program itself, does the school have higher level tasks for students of different ability levels? If the level is the same (progression at the same level for all students), this may not be very good for her development. You may want to speak to someone in her school for better understanding of the program and to decide on the suitability.

What about your daughter? Is she complaining at all? Does she appear bored and frustrated? If you plan to put her in another school, will she be ok with it? If your daughter complains about boredom and expresses unhappiness in her learning, you need to see what can be done to cater to her needs. If her needs are already being catered to at school, but you still feel that she is capable of doing better, you can always engage her in more challenging work out of school hours. You may want to send her for some private classes to enhance her skills. But first, speak to someone in her school to see how you can work with the school to improve her learning.


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