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Acceptance into the Gifted Programme

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D


Q: My daughter is in the 3rd grade. She was tested last year with the WISC and scored 120 on her composite IQ. She needed to score 124 in order to be accepted into a gifted program at her school. She was retested this year with the Stanford-Binet and her scores were as follows:

  • Verbal Reasoning - 92

  • Abstract Reasoning - 126

  • Quantitative - 104

  • Short Term Memory - 117

  • Composite - 111

She once again did not get accepted into the program. I was wondering what your thoughts are on her scores? Do they look too scattered to you? She had this happen last year as well (scatter of scores), but I currently don't have the separate scores for her WISC.

What do you recommend? We haven't told her yet that she didn't get in to the program again. She was extremely upset last year. It was a very long weekend when she found out.

Thank you in advance for your help.

A: I am sorry that she did not get in just by a few points. There is no breakdown of the WISC scores so it is hard to tell if the scores are scattered. Unfortunately I am less familiar with the SB-V (I believe your daughter was given the latest version). This test measures mathematical and visual-spatial abilities better than abstract verbal reasoning abilities. It has been determined that when this test is administered for selection of into a gifted programme, the cut-off score for admission should be lowered to an IQ of 120. Find out from the school if this was done.

Gifted programmes are tailored for certain students who need differentiation in learning. Hence, tests are used to determine students who would benefit the most from such programmes based on the scores. As much as we may think that gifted programmes are the best programmes, in reality, it is just a different programme that suits some students better than others. Some students thrive better in a regular programme as they learn better and are better suited there. Give it a thought. Your daughter wants to be in the programme so much that it is upsetting her tremendously. This may not be very emotionally healthy.

You may also want to speak to the school to see if there is a possibility of reviewing the scores and accepting her on probation as a special case. If they see that she is thriving well in the programme, they may realise that it is catering towards her educational needs. Speak to someone in the school to see if there is any alternative to this.

If nothing works, focus on her strong areas and help her develop them using enrichment perhaps outside school. She needs to enjoy learning as it is and not be too competitive – something that may kill enjoyment in learning. Enrol her in activities that she enjoys to give her the boost and confidence she needs. Explain to her that the gifted programme is not a better programme, but just a special learning programme for some students.

Hope that helps. Wishing you all the best!.


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