TerraNova Test to Determine Giftedness
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
My 11 year old son, a 5th grader, received a Cognitive
Skills Index (CSI) score of 137 on the Terra Nova national
standardized test taken last October. His total nonverbal
score was 98, total verbal score 91. Could he possibly be
gifted? He possesses many of the characteristics of a
"gifted" child. Should I have him tested? If so, what
testing do you recommend? Thank you for your reply!
A: By looking at the full
results list, you should be able to see your son's
percentiles in comparison with other children locally and
nationally based on his age and grade. The TerraNova is
indeed an achievement test which some schools may use to
screen students for the gifted program. From the scores
alone, it may be unjust to determine potential giftedness.
Having said that, if you feel that he has demonstrated many
of the characteristics linked to giftedness, you are
probably right in believing that he may be gifted. Then,
testing would be appropriate if you feel that he should be
in a gifted program that would cater to his needs.
If your son is enrolled in a public school, you should
contact his school to find out if he can be referred for
testing by the school psychologist, if they have one. The
psychologist would then be able to advise on which test may
be appropriate. Regardless of whether the school has a
gifted program or not, it may be good to have him tested as
the results can be very helpful to the school (and for
parents) in planning his educational experiences.
If the school has a gifted program, you must bear in mind
that if your son does not qualify for a gifted program, that
does not mean he is not gifted. Different schools have
different 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 they 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.
Therefore, it is best for you to discuss with his teachers
for the best educational opportunities to help him develop
his potential. Good luck!