Benefits of Assessing a Child
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
Should I get my child assessed and what difference will that
I have an 8 year old boy who attends a state primary school.
From an early age he showed an exceptional interest in maths.
Since he has been at school (he is now in year three soon to
go in year 4) the school has struggled to meet his needs in
this area, though they acknowledge he talented in this
field. Last year I tried some sessions with a personal tutor
but found without the follow up in the classroom it wasn't
very satisfactory (the tutor was working at early GSCE
level with him).
A: Firstly, as a parent you
need to explore the reasons for testing your child. Ask
yourself; is it for entry into a specialized program or to
affirm existing assumptions about the child's abilities? For
very young children (at 2 or 3 years of age), it may only
serve to validate a parent's beliefs that their child may be
very bright. But in your case, your son is at school age and
you have seen exceptional qualities, therefore testing can
help document his ability and give you a tool with which to
advocate for appropriate educational programs.
You are doing the right thing by providing enrichment to
meet his needs but it is difficult if the school does not
follow up. This would be the best age to test since IQ
scores can become depressed as children age due to the
ceiling effects of many assessment instruments.
As for the school, I believe that they have limited
resources and perhaps rather than not wanting to help, they
just may not have the essentials to help your son. The
teachers need to be trained for this and if they do not have
a subject acceleration program at school (your son needs
this to cater for this high ability in maths), they are
certainly not helping even after acknowledging his ability.
You can speak to the school to see if anything can be done
to help him further develop his ability (e.g., sitting in
another class that matches his ability during Maths or
getting a teacher to commit some time during his Math class
– more challenging work). He will not fir in the regular
class and may, at some point, be disinterest in all other
subjects as well.
If there is a possibility, you may want to place him in
another school that has a better program for students of
higher ability. But first, get him tested on a standardized
test to see if he has strengths in other areas as well and
any weak areas he needs to strengthen. I believe he would
benefit from a non-regular program. All the best!