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Is Age 3 Too Young for Gifted and Talented Testing?

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momlogic's Vivian:

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Testing for a young child's "giftedness" is laden with controversy as is, but in New York City, the issue is about to get a whole lot more controversial. According to a recent article in the New York Times, the Department of Education is revamping the G&T testing process to make it more inclusive of minority students. The startling tweak? Tests administered in 2012 might be dialed back to include kids as young as 3!

Currently, the test can be given to kids aged 4 and up. Education officials say that, in theory, this new test will make the whole process easier for the parents who are losing tons of cash while juggling private-school deposits and kindergarten waitlists.

Of course, this might make sense if there was actual, physical space in these gifted programs for more kids. Since WAY more children already test into the program than there are available slots -- and most, if not all, of these slots are only available for kindergarteners -- it's daunting enough to think that a test your 4-year-old takes could determine the entire course of his or her academic future.

Plus, some experts say that it's tough to determine giftedness in preschool kids, since they have little to no prior experience in dealing with school settings. One interviewee, doctor and test developer Susan K. Johnsen, told the Times that identifying giftedness in such young kids is an elusive process. "You might be able to find an array of assessments that might be able to do a good job of recognizing children's talents, but I don't think there is a test that is a magic bullet, or even a combination of quantitative tests that are," she said.

What do you guys think? Is age 3 too young to get "giftedness" down on paper?

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6 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous July 5, 2010, 6:24 AM

As a teacher and a mom with gifted kids, I say it’s too young. I’ve seen kids that seem gifted when young because their parents have them “memorize” books or flashcards but really they are just good imitators. On the other hand, I’ve seen kids who are truly gifted but merely shy and uncomfortable around testers and do not show their true talents at such a young age.

Karen July 5, 2010, 10:38 AM

I agree with the teacher comment above. Everyone is gifted; gifts show their true in every age. Also, gifts can change. You can be gifted in one area and then develop more in other areas. It is good to see what children are good at at the moment and encourage their strong points. But I don’t want anyone to be labelled. People can also develop their gifts. Some aren’t so naturally obvious. Some children’s gifts aren’t just academic. Maybe they are excellent at giving encouragement, at sharing, at listening, etc.

Anon  July 5, 2010, 2:33 PM

Everybody THINKS they have a gifted kid.

Melissa July 5, 2010, 4:20 PM

I don’t think 3 is too young if it is the right test. If you can test for delays at younger than a year, you should be able to test for giftedness as well. That being said, no test is predicative of FUTURE. Most tests are only testing for potential and if it’s nurtured OR children (being the fickle lot that they are) stay interested THEN maybe your kid has a gift… In one way, shape or form every kid is gifted it just depends on what their choices are.

Raquel July 7, 2010, 8:05 AM

I think the whole point of gifted tests is to make sure that children are being challenged to do their best at their level, and to receive those services from the school/district they are in. A gifted child, left untested may display bad behavior in class due to boredom and be labeled negatively and head down that road in school.

I think the testing age depends on the kid. A mature and socially advanced or well adjusted 3 year old might do well in a testing situation than another 3 year old who might test better at age 4 or 5.

T Augusta July 7, 2010, 3:43 PM


It depends on the parents.
An insecure, social-climbing couple may be having a version of buyer’s remorse.

Should they invest emotionally in what may be, well, an inferior product?

A “gifted” child will stand out, no need for testing.

If tested and found adequate, we usually pull them out. We place them among their “peers.”

Why not choose to teach leadership, to build community, within the classroom?
Very valuable skills.

The accomplished readers attend an in-house seminar
on internally motivated
learning and basic teaching techniques.

These student teachers then work with the less accomplished readers.

I believe these young teachers will become very invested in the success of their own charges. Bullying
will stop.

The young teachers will benefit the most.

Thank you for reading my post.


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