Tag Archives: parents

Not all Gifted Children Test Well

istock_000042615630_large_redford_new_sat-jpg-736x0_q85The beginning of the  school year is always busy for me. This is the time of year many parents contact me to test their child to see if they qualify for gifted services. Many parents tell me their child is gifted, but tests don’t always show it. I always try to reassure parents that I try to create a peaceful and stress free environment. After testing and scoring, I come to the same result as the parent. The child didn’t test well. So I have to use more than just one instrument to see if a child is gifted or not.

But, how can a child who is gifted not test well? There are several ideas as to why a child doesn’t test well. Parents and teachers know some students don’t test well, but know they are smarter than the test results.

If you know a child is gifted, and isn’t a great test taker here are some ideas as to why they may not test well.

  1. Motivation. Some students have motivation and some don’t. If a student has a lack of motivation then doing well on a test is the last thing the child will do well on.
  2. Intra-Stress. Sometimes a student will not test well, because inside they are too stressed out. It doesn’t matter that the environment is peaceful and stress-free, some students will still battle their own stress.
  3. Perfectionism. Some students feel they need to be perfect in everything. This particularly comes out during timed testing. Children who suffer from perfectionism want to answer every question correctly sometimes will not test well. They get stuck on a question and can’t move on.
  4. Over-thinking. Gifted children are smart, but sometimes they overthink things. Students who overthink on tests don’t do well on multiple choice tests (which most gifted tests are). Gifted children make connections differently. When they can’t use their thinking skills to create something unique, they struggle.


To help children overcome these aspects teachers and parents need to help them overcome these shortfalls. When dealing with motivation or lack thereof, try to spark intrinsic motivation. Use their hobbies and passions to your advantage. Use the idea that doing well now will help them in the future to get into a college or university they are interested in going to.

To help a student who has stress issues teach them techniques that will help them center themselves. Help them to recognize when the internal stress is creeping up, and how to control it.

A student who has an issue with perfectionism needs to understand that making mistakes isn’t a big of deal they perceived it to be. To help them understand this place the student in simulations that they will make mistakes or fail. They will see and feel that they survived. This idea isn’t just with tests. This is an aspect of life. Children who suffer with perfectionism need to know at some point they will make mistakes in life. It matters how they handle the mistake and move on.

For students who  just overthink things on tests help them understand they don’t have to fish for an answer. Most multiple choice tests are straightforward. Just as in life, somethings are just that…straightforward. Once the test is over students will look back, and realize not fishing for a unique answer was the best decision.

As the school year goes on, and you begin to see some of the aspects listed above I hope that you can give these children, and parents some help.

What are some other aspects do you find in students who don’t test well.

For this post, I used the awesome resource Parenting Gifted Children by Jennifer L. Jolly, Ph.D., Donald J. Treffinger, Ph.D., Tracy Ford Inman, and Joan Franklin Smutny, Ph.D.

2016 OAGC Parent Day

Dear Families and Educators:
I hope everyone’s school year is off to a great start! I wanted to reach out and personally invite you to our OAGC Parent Day on Sunday, October 16.  This day is always a great jam-packed day and it only costs $5!!! 

* Jonathan Plucker, professor from John Hopkins  Center for Talented Youth will present a keynote on: Success in College and Life:  A Professor’s Perspective

* We will then have fabulous breakout sessions from some of the best speakers in the field on topics including:

  • Great Books for Great Young Minds
  • Top 10 Things Gifted Parents Need To Know Before HS
  • Beyond Instant Information: Engaging Generation Z Gifted Students
  • Safe Havens: Providing Support for Stressed-Out Gifted Children

Parent Day is a great opportunity to network and learn from other families–and often the educational/game vendors have set up early so you can buy from them.

Thanks for your help in promoting Parent Day. Attached is a flier to email around and also attached is a photo you can use to post on social media. You also can get these attachments online:


Microsoft Word - OAGC Parent Day2016 Registration.docx

What I learned about Perfectionism and Gifted Children

Perfectionism is a topic that I haven’t really written about. I have had only a few students in nearly 10 years of teaching gifted students to suffer from it. So, for me I haven’t really explored it much. I know I am probably behind the curve a little, but I am trying to catch up.

I am reading Gifted Education in Ireland and the United States, which is a collaboration between CTY Ireland at Dublin City University, and the Center for Gifted Education at William and Mary. I love this book.The research the authors have done is top-notch. I was inspired to write this post as I am reading chapter 8 which is entitled, Addressing Concerns About the Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted Students by Jennifer Riedl Cross, PhD, and Tracy L. Cross, PhD. The section that I really hit me today was about perfectionism.

I know it is important to have expectations for your gifted children either in your own home or in your classroom. Which is absolutely fine. But, when those standards begin to affect the child to where they can no longer meet the expectations it becomes unhealthy.

Perfectionism can come in three forms:

  • Self-oriented: when the gifted child is expecting perfection from themselves
  • Other-oriented: when the gifted child is expecting perfection from others
  • Socially prescribed: when the gifted child is “expecting perfection of oneself in response to perceived expectations of society.” (pg. 184)

I have to be honest, before reading this section of the book, I never thought about how gifted students perceive perfection, or even where they got the notion that they have to be perfect. In the book, the authors look at some research as to where some of this perception comes from. Some of the research suggests it comes from a desire to be accepted but that acceptance is threatened by imperfection. Some environments that foster this are:

  • “Families in which judgments and critiques are frequently voiced risk raising a child who pursues perfection to avoid judgement and to feel securely acceptable.
  • Families in which there is a push-pull or “yes, but…” dynamic, where the constant message is “This is OK, but you could have done better,” risk raising children who believe they are never good enough.
  • Families in which parents or other adults chronically complete tasks a child undertakes may be giving the message that there is a right and a wrong way to do things, and the child is always wrong.” (pg. 185)

As teachers and parents we need to have standards and expectations for our students and children. But we must also remember that gifted children can and should fail. We don’t want our children to be perfectionists. We want them to have a healthy view of success and failure. There is always a lot one can learn from failure. Edison once said about his frustration of getting the lightbulb to work: “I have not failed. I have found 10,000 ways it won’t work.” Edison learned from his failures just like we need to teach our gifted children that there are many valuable lessons to be learned from failure. Dave Burgess, Author of Teach Like a Pirate, says “If you haven’t failed lately in the classroom you aren’t pushing far enough.” 

What lessons do you point out to your gifted children and students that they can learn when they fail at an assignment or project? How do you fight the battle of perfectionism?

Parents and Teachers: Forming a Successful Partnership

Last Sunday the OAGC Teacher Division had a tweetchat with the topic about parents and teachers forming a successful partnership. (You can read the transcript here.) If you have time, check out their website, and join in the chat. All you have to do is follow the #oagctdchat hash tag. Also check out their resources on this topic.

Parents and teachers need to work together. There needs to be communication from both. There are some things that teachers need to do to help support parents. Here are a few things we talked about in the chat:

  • Teachers use parents as valuable resources
  • Teachers find and dispense good information on current research, articles, websites, and support groups
  • Teachers reinforce the idea that they along with parents will advocate for their child

Parents can support teachers in areas like this:

  • Parents share with their child’s teacher their strengths and weaknesses
  • Parents share the needs of their twice-exceptional children
  • Parents share the  overexcitabilities of their child with their teacher
  • Parents share their child’s interests and their learning styles with their teacher

There is always some ways that teachers and parents can work together. From my view, there seems to be more parent involvement when the children are younger than when they are older. Elementary teachers seem to have a better sense of communication than middle and high school teachers.

As a middle school teacher there isn’t much parent involvement, and on the other hand I don’t reach out to my parents very much. I personally don’t know why. I think it may stem that most parents work during the day, and I don’t want to bother them. I do send home things that are going on in the community and the surrounding areas that may be of interest to them or their child.

Teachers how do you support your parents? Parents how do you support your child’s teacher?

An awesome Presentation for Parents and Educators

I have a cool lead on a presentation for gifted parents to attend. Its in Findlay Ohio. Jim Delisle, Ph.D is a Nationally Acclaimed gifted author is speaking at Gledwood Middle School from 7-9pm on Thursday Nov. 14. The school is located at 1715 N. Main St. in Findlay. I hope many of you can attend. I have heard Dr. Delisle speak before. He uses wit and humor in his presentations. He is a great speaker, and has a lot of experience in Gifted Education.


End of the School Year is Near

If you are like me, when we then end of the year is near you have a bitter-sweet feeling.  This year it is especially bitter since I am changing grades this year. Next year I will be teaching only 7/8th graders. The past 5 years I have taught 3-8th graders. So I will be loosing several students for some years before I see then again in class.

 Next week, is the last week, that I will hold classes. I will go through my annual class picture and some end of the year routine stuff with them, but this year it seems so final. I have put so much time building relationships with my students. I have enjoyed so many memories with them over the past several years.  I enjoyed my classes this year, and I know they have had fun, and learned a lot as well.

I do have a few regrets. One that I didn’t take enough pictures. I try to do many cool projects or activities with my students and I try to make a photodocumentary of the year. I want to allow my students to look back and see all they have done. I set up a flickr account that my students can see and look back upon. Another regret that I have is that I didn’t so case my students work enough. Normally, I do a big showcase in one of the halls, but this year it got away from me. I hope that I can do better next year.

A few things that I think I did well this year is I is my communication with parents. I kept a class blog that had different things we were working on, and several posts about things that I thought were important. I also kept a class website that was more descriptive about what we were doing, reminders of things coming up, and a few other things. I thought I had a pretty good turn out for both parent/teacher conferences. (I want to thank the parents for that. It’s because of you it was a success.)

I want to thank the parents for supporting our Gifted Program. I want to thank the administrators for stepping up and seeing that this is an important program. I hope to have some new things in the works for next year to make our program even better.