All Of The Tests

Ohforthelove… BigGuy took the ACT in April because he wanted to apply to an online high school.  He didn’t get the scores he needed (partly anxiety about the test and partly lack of knowledge) and in fact, he came in one point too low for the lab science he wants next year.  So we are taking the Stanford10 online since those scores WILL qualify for his lab science.

As usual, Girly was displeased with being left out… 

Seriously?  She is EIGHT.  But again–I am reminded that her brain is developing beyond what I give credit for… as is her maturity level.  I keep pushing her into the baby box and I keep getting kicked with “she’s not a baby anymore” realities.  When will this mama learn?

One thing I HAVE learned is that my girl does NOT handle the idea of being compared to others very well.  She has STRONG sensitivities to anything that might result in her being deemed “not good enough”.  Please don’t say “that’s partly the age” because I know plenty of kids her age.  This is far more than average and we know it ties into her feelings about being an adoptee.  We have had some telling conversations on that front.  We’re working on it.

I also have noticed some weird stuff that I don’t understand in terms of Girly’s ability to grasp new information.  For a few years, I blew it off as asynchronous development.  But now it was starting to concern me.  I couldn’t deny that I was wondering how that was affecting her legit ability to learn.  If she wanted to take a test, great.  I found ones that looked like a computer game (the ADAM and DORA tests from Let’sGoLearn.com )

So, we talked about it and she was a little nervous about “not doing well” but it wasn’t her usual furrowed-brow-type of nervous.  She was kind of excited about it.  Maybe because we had talked about how it was just showing me what we didn’t need to learn anymore and how she thought about things.  She understood it wasn’t a “am I good enough for 3rd grade” test as much as a “what do we NOT need to learn anymore” test.  I feel like we had to have similar conversations with BigGuy around this age about grades and tests and what they mean–what they are meant to communicate to parents, etc.  These are concepts that are well known in my house although BigGuy has now entered the world of test scores qualifying you as “good enough” for a program or something.

That has launched us into an entire discussion about “qualifying scores” and how it is not about whether they are “good enough” but whether they KNOW enough to be able to understand the content that’s being covered at the entry level of a program.  We have had to be sure to really drive this home to BigGuy and so far, we are warding off what could have been a nasty bout of depression and negative self-image.  He is very aware of (and sometimes ashamed of) his challenges but overall, he’s a relatively positive and upbeat kid.

Back to Girly… she took the whole thing in stride.  There wasn’t a moment of upset or worry through the testing.  She enjoyed it as if it were an online game.  As expected, she didn’t meet their benchmark for second grade in math.  We don’t do any formal math with her so it wasn’t a shock.  It was actually more surprising to see her score well into second grade for geometry and data analysis than it was to see her come in at end of Kindergarten level for measurement.  When I looked at what she WAS scoring highest on it was Patterns & Sorting where she maxed out the test. That subsection only went to end of second grade but I couldn’t believe she hit the ceiling even at that since this was an area I was certain was a neurological disconnect in her brain given what I had seen of her learning experiences.  #momgotschooled

I feel like this happens often: the homeschooled kids score lower than their public schooled peers at the younger ages and catch up (or exceed them) before or during that first year of high school.  BigGuy was testing to take math at the local elementary school when he would have been entering 5th grade.  Since I noted that he was advanced, they were going to give him the end-of-year test for 5th graders to qualify him for 6th grade math.  I asked about the content and they said it was “predominantly fractions”.  I told them that although he had dabbled in calculus and formally learned things like set notation and Sigma summation, he had not done fractions.  “Oh,” they said a bit surprised.  “Well, we could give him the test for the end of fourth grade and if he passes THAT, we would just place him at grade level.”  So I asked about the content of the fourth grade test and had to be transferred to someone else.  The fourth grade test was fractions, too!  Well, he wasn’t going to pass that, either.

The school noted that he would have to learn fractions at some point and I didn’t disagree.  I didn’t think he needed to be in school every day for 1-2 years to learn them, though.

In February of that school year, BigGuy was inspired to apply to a math/science school and tested into the state’s accredited online programs for Pre-Algebra which he whipped through in 4-1/2 months with an average in the low 90s for the year’s worth of work.  At the beginning of what would be his 6th grade year, we went back to the school to take Algebra.  His grades and experience with the state’s online program didn’t matter: he had to take their test.  So he took their test and got three wrong on the entire thing.  Now, he qualified to take math that was a year ahead of their gifted program.

Needless to say, I’m not worried about Girly.  For one, she is young.  But for another, she is an artist.  She may never achieve the levels of math my BigGuy will push forward to and as long as she can manage her finances comprehensively, get the right change and know how to measure to order what she needs–we’re okay.

Back to her testing… Her language arts scores WERE surprising, though.  Considering that she started reading “late” by public school standards and she doesn’t strike me as exceptional on this front, her scores were very surprising.  She hit the test ceiling for high-frequency words and she scored near the end of 6th grade level for word recognition.  *insert jaw-drop here*.

What started as Girly’s desire to “be big like her brother” turned into a “mom learned a lot about Girly’s capabilities”.  So overall, it was a good thing.  Not something we would do often, but glad we did this one.

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