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The Least You Should Know About Testing Your Gifted Child

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Updated April 30, 2014

Students Taking a Test.
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Reasons for Gifted Testing:

Parents sometimes think they should get their child tested without any clear reason for doing it. What are the reasons for testing a child?
  1. To provide details about learning needs, including strengths and weaknesses
  2. To help identify a child for a gifted program
  3. To discover any learning disabilities requiring intervention
  4. To help advocate for appropriate educational accommodations

When to Test:

The best time to test gifted children is between the ages of four and eight. Testing before age four is likely to result in unreliable scores because their behavior is too unpredictable. Testing after age 8 can result in inaccurate scores. Inaccuracies can be caused by several factors including test ceilings, perfectionism, and underachievement.

What Kind of Tests:

The two primary types of tests parents think about when they considering testing for their gifted children are IQ tests and achievement tests. IQ tests measure ability while achievement tests measure what a child already knows. Schools often give group IQ tests, such as the Otis-Lennon. Individual IQ tests, like the WISC-IV, are more accurate for gifted children. The same problem exists for group versus individual achievement tests, such as the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT).

Who Should Test:

Testing should be done by someone who has experience working with gifted children. Otherwise, test results may not be accurate. For example, a tester begins by asking the child the easiest questions and continues asking until the child misses a certain consecutive number of questions. An experienced tester will know to start with more difficult questions so the child won't get tired or bored, which can cause the child to make mistakes, which in turn can lead to a low and inaccurate score.

Costs of Gifted Testing:

Testing can cost anywhere from two to seven hundred dollars. The average rate is between five and six hundred dollars and generally includes both IQ and achievement tests. The cost is the same whether the tester has experience with gifted children or not, so be sure to ask any prospective tester about his or her experience. Graduate psychology students at a nearby university may do testing for a couple hundred dollars. However, they may not have experience with gifted children.
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