The Case of Kyeesha (page 80)

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The Case of Kyeesha (page 80) by Mind Map: The Case of Kyeesha (page 80)

1. Principal's Perspective by Alice

1.1. From my perspective, there are three underlying issues with Kyeesha's situation:

1.1.1. 1. Being diagnosed as “gifted” from a private clinic, whose terminology of and testing for giftedness may be different than that of the school board, and not in the best interest of the child.

1.1.1.1. a. While being assessed for giftedness at a private clinic is a suitable practice, it is in my professional opinion that the School Board should also have a hand in a student’s assessment process. As educators, we will be looking for giftedness in particular domains to determine the correct programming that would be needed for Kyeesha’s IEP (Woolfolk et al., 2013).

1.1.1.2. b. There is no guarantee that children who are diagnosed as gifted at a young age because they are seen as advanced relative to their peers, will continue to be considered exceptional learners, or display the same levels of advancement beyond their peers as they grow older (Woolfolk et al., 2013). b. Additionally, being tested for giftedness at such a young age is not standard practice. Though each school board is different, ours tends to test for giftedness in Grade 4. At which point the individual may be choose to pursue a path in a self-contained gifted classroom, or continue mainstream with accommodations.

1.1.1.3. c. Children who are labeled as advancing well beyond their peers may not actually be gifted, but they may have an exceptionally stimulating home life just as Kyeesha does, and they may be emulating the stimulants, experiences, and thoughts of their parents and home (Bennett et al., 2013).

1.1.2. 2. Unfortunately, I was not the principal last year when the IPRC reviewed Kyeesha’s case and accepted her into our school as a gifted student.

1.1.2.1. a. In my opinion, the IPRC committee’s immediate acceptance of Kyeesha’s identification, despite having insufficient evidence or preforming their own assessment of Kyeesha, should not have been the acceptable.

1.1.2.2. b. There was no mention of a transferred IEP transferred from the private school that she was enrolled in for her Kindergarten years. Due to this, it would have been imperative that our School Board conducted their own assessment of Kyeesha to ensure that she was being given the best instruction in school.

1.1.2.3. c. Without initially conducting our own assessment on Kyeesha, we were not able to fully understand her academic abilities, where she landed on the giftedness scale, and we could have best supported her through her education using accommodations and/or modifications.

1.1.3. 3. I must ensure the parents that though she is not intellectually gifted, she may be considered gifted in an alternative domain. We must continue to provide Kyeesha with support in the school.

1.1.3.1. a. Just because she is not considered intellectually gifted, does not mean she is not gifted in other areas. I want to continue to provide exceptional support to ensure she does not continue to fall behind her peers. I think we have caught this transition early enough in her education that we can rectify the situation and bring her up to expectation and in sync with her peers. To do this, we will continue to work with Kyeesha in the classroom to remediate any skill deficits while identifying and developing her obvious talents and strengths.

1.1.3.2. b. I do believe we should now assess Kyeesha for any outstanding exceptionalities. It’s important for the board to have Kyeesha assessed again after being deemed not gifted to ensure that she does not need modifications or accommodations, since she did slip below grade level expectations in her classroom.

1.2. A few outstanding questions I have include:

1.2.1. 1. If there was an IEP, why wasn’t the IEP re-examined at each reporting period when we would have seen Kyeesha slipping behind her peers (Bennett et al., 2013)?

1.2.2. 2. What tests did the private clinic use on Kyeesha to determine that she was gifted? Depending if it was an IQ test or a combination of tests, there could be a varying range of results.

2. Teacher Perspective by Victoria

2.1. Concern for Kyeesha's Education

2.1.1. As Kyeesha's teacher, I would be concerned for the quality of her education. Since Kyeesha was considered gifted for most of the school year, I will continue her advanced lesson plans in my classroom. I will ensure she is getting the best possible education for her above-level intellignece. However, as Kyeesha progresses through this school year, and moves into the next school year, I will no longer be there to push her as a gifted student. The next teacher may choose to keep their lesson plans universal through the class, and not challenge an intelligent student. My concern for Kyeesha will continue beyond this classroom, and likely for the years to come. Is she getting the right amount of attention and differentaition that is required for someone so intelligent? She is so young and capable, my concern is that the teachers in the future may fail to recognize her incredible talent if she is no longer considered gifted with an IEP.

2.1.1.1. How to approach this concern in the classroom:

2.1.1.1.1. If Kyeesha was previously diagnosed as gifted, she would most likely have an IEP that outlined the various methods of accommodations and modifications that could be conducted in my lesson plans. There are many ways that I could go about differentiating the instruction to allow Kyeesha's above average intelligence to be furthered. Although she may not be considered gifted anymore, she needs to understand how wide and in-depth her knowledge is. I will give Kyeesha the opportunities to exhibit her intelligence through differentiated instruction and accomodations. After exhibiting this, I would continue to push Kyeesha intellectually, and allow her the opportunity to encourage her growth mindset. Kyeesha should understand her level of intelligence, and ensure herself and her parents that not being gifted is not a hurdle or misfortune. Kyeesha is highly capable inside and outside of the classroom, she should understand her vast amount of intelligence, and continue to push herself daily.. My lesson plans will always end with a question that will allow Kyeesha and any other student to further their knowledge, inquiry more and learn more. I want Kyeesha to always be pushing herself to learn more, even when she is not on a designated gifted education plan.

2.1.1.1.2. Another method that could be used to address my concern about Kyeesha's education could be to encourage Kyeesha to build her inquiry into her education. I would hope to instill in her a drive that encourages the development of knowledge, and inquiry-based projects. As her teacher, I would allow her to build her own realm of education, inquire about topics that interest her and allow her to thrive in this sense. Kyeesha would be in control of her own education, and would carry this growth mindset into her future years at the school. Kyeesha will complete projects like Genius Hour, and Kyeesha will learn to develop her own knowledge by herself. Kyeesha will not depend on the education system or school to grow her above average intelligence, but rather it will be all dependent on herself. As her teacher, I think this method of instruction will allow someone intelligent like Kyeesha to be able to explore their intelligence and interests at their own pace. This mentality will continue with Kyeesha through her entire educational career, and allow her to grow as an individual, as well as an intellectual. A resource that would come in handy for me is, "Self-Assessment and Goal Setting" that would help me build the knowledge and understanding to allow Kyeesha to be able to self-assess and build her own effective form of education.

2.2. Concern for Kyeesha's Well-Being in the Classroom/School

2.2.1. As Kyeesha’s teacher I would be concerned for her well-being and confidence in the classroom. Kyeesha losing her diagnosis of being gifted, might cause her to feel less competent in the classroom, and may cause her parents to push ideals on her that may affect her. This idea that she may need to consistently achieve unrealistic goals in the classroom may cause deteriorating attitudes and behaviour issues in the class (Bennett, 2013). As Kyeesha’s teacher I think it is important to acknowledge that there are many difficulties with being labelled gifted. Students that are diagnosed as being gifted tend to be encouraged to achieve incredible success, when gifted people sometimes are not successful. Although giftedness is a gift in the eyes of parents, it also sets out an unrealistic set of standards for the student. Children that are considered gifted experience early success and no failure. Now that Kyeesha is not considered gifted, and is now up to par with her peers, she may feel less special and may resort to behavioural accommodations.

2.2.1.1. How to approach this concern in the classroom:

2.2.1.1.1. As Kyeesha’s teacher, I would allow her the opportunity to continue her gifted program in the classroom, or allow her to think she was still doing so. This would build her confidence, and allow her to know she’s still achieving something great. Allowing Kyeesha to challenge her knowledge, and build on the pre-existing knowledge, will allow her to utilize her above average IQ towards a productive and effective lesson. Although Kyeesha is not considered gifted anymore, she is still incredibly intelligent and deserves the recognition for her intelligence. I will provide her with the confidence and thought-provoking lessons to build on this intelligence and push Kyeesha to be the best that she can be. With or without her exceptionality because every student is exceptional.

2.2.1.1.2. Along with encouraging Kyeesha to achieve her greatest in the classroom, I will work with Kyeesha to build on her learning skills. Students that are diagnosed as gifted tend to struggle with learning skills, and work better independently (Bennett, 2013). Although Kyeesha is no longer considered gifted, I will work with Kyeesha and help her develop her communication skills, collaboration skills, hard work and perseverance. Some activities that could be conducted could be: group assignments with individual portions, inquiry-based learning and knowledge-building discussions. I want Kyeesha to build on her intelligence, and further her learning skills and abilities as a student and leader in the classroom and school setting. Encouraging her to develop herself as a more well-rounded intellectual student may allow her to feel fulfilled, and feel as intelligent as she felt before. Since Kyeesha was constantly rewarded as a child for being intelligent, I will ensure that her intelligence continues to be rewarded and appreciated. Positive reinforcement will be key in ensuring that Kyeesha understands her intelligence is acknowledged and appreciated.

2.3. Concern for the effectiveness of the assessment

2.3.1. As Kyeesha's teacher and a teacher in general, I would be concerned about the process of assessment for gifted students. Since Kyeesha was assessed and diagnosed by a private clinic, do these clinics have the same criteria and expectations as the school board? I am confident that Kyeesha is an extremely intelligent student, however, the process of being diagnosed gifted and then losing that diagnosis is a daunting process. My concerns are with the process of allowing private clinics to test students for giftedness at such a young age, a stage in the brain development that does not exhibit the prime opportunity for test results. I find that Kyeesha was tested at an incorrect age, that led to a diagnosis that did not properly reflect her intelligence. If the test was done at a more prime age, preferably in the proportional stage instead of the sensorimotor stage, the assessment would have proved to be more effective and accurate (Woolfolk et al, 2016). As Kyeesha's teacher, and as the teacher for future students, I am concerned about this assessment and its accuracy for determining if a student is gifted or not. Is the test accurate enough to be considered reliable for schools to use?

2.3.1.1. How to approach this concern:

2.3.1.1.1. To approach this concern of this assessment, I think it is very important to have a standardized age for the gifted test (usually around the age of 10 - grade four). This limits the number of students, like Kyeesha, that are subjected to this extremely inconvenient situation. The IPRC should only be responsible for this assessment, and should not be allowed by private clinics.

3. Student Perspective by Stephanie

3.1. "I AM CONFUSED": When I went to the other school, Ms. Ryan and Ms. Chung said I was smart. I thought that meant that my stories and my pictures were good, because they always said it when I gave those to them. Ms. Ryan put gold star stickers on, and Ms. Chung added a smiley face on the back when Ms. Ryan wasn't looking. She said smiley faces weren't allowed except for when someone did something really special. None of other kids ever got a smiley face. Alot of times when mom and dad came to get me they would talk for a while with Ms. Ryan and Ms. Chung. They would look at the gold stickers, and after Ms. Ryan left Ms. Chung would show them the special smiley faces. One time when she showed him the smiley faces Dad smiled really big and said that was what the test said about me. I asked him what a test was and what it said about me, and he said they took me to do a test when I was little, and the test said I was really smart. But he said they didn't really need the test to know that, because they could tell I was smarter than other kids. I forgot about the test after a bit; I just liked the stickers, and I liked being smart because that's why I got the stickers. Everytime I wrote a story or made a picture, I knew I would get another sticker. I got older this year, so now I'm in a different school. At the new school I still make stories and pictures, and now I do alot of math too. Mom and dad talk to Mr. Saunders when they pick me up, and he shows them my stuff, and sometimes I get gold stickers, but never any smiley faces on the back. I've even seen that sometimes other kids get stickers when I don't. Mom and Dad don't smile as much as they used to when they see the things I do. They still talk about the test, but it's not like with Ms. Ryan and Ms. Chung. Whatever Mr. Saunders is saying about me is not what the test said about me, and I think that makes mom and dad angry at Mr. Saunders. Or maybe at me. I don't know why they're angry at me. I work really hard at my pictures and my stories, and even my math, even though it makes my head sore. Something is wrong. At the old school I had fun, but I don't even really want to learn anymore. I want to know why I don't get smiley face stickers. I want to know is why I'm not smart anymore.

3.1.1. Kyeesha is left feeling so confused about her status because the "smart" identity which her parents and preschool experience have created for her was based on the extremely unsteady foundation of a single test provided by a private company. This is an incredibly unreliable basis; because of the complex nature of giftedness, psychologists recommend gathering a variety of material, including examples of various types of work, projects, portfolios, self-ratings, and letters from teachers (Woolfolk, 2016, 124). No such thorough research was done in Kyeesha's case; in fact, a profit-based private company could very easily falsify results in order to please clients. With their own academic backgrounds, it would be clear to the company that these parents would only respond well to a very positive evaluation of their daughter. Indeed, one of the difficulties of identifying giftedness is that those with very intellectual home lives (like Kyeesha) may simply be reflecting their environments rather than their own tendencies (Bennett, Dworet, & Weber, 2013, 143). Nevertheless, having no doubt been enthusiastically informed by her parents that Kyeesha was identified as Very Superior intellectually, Ms. Ryan and Ms. Chung viewed her work through this lens, encouraging Kyeesha to see herself as defined by the positive feedback and approval of them and her parents. Now that she is actually being challenged in elementary school, that fragile pretense of superiority lent by the test and/or her intellectually-rich home life is not enough to produce acclaim like the sort she received from her first teachers. The unreliability of the test, her parents' overemphasis on it, and the very real challenges of elementary school, have left Kyeesha without a stable means to define her identity. As a result, she agonizes over why she is no longer "smart," even though most children wouldn't give a second thought to such a label.

3.1.2. Another source of confusion for Kyeesha is her parents' insistence that they know she is smarter than other kids. This is an example of one of the problems of parent nomination for giftedness; that is, that a child may appear more gifted in an isolated "idealized" home environment than they do in the more realistic setting of the classroom, where their skills and talents are seen beside those of other students (Bennett, Dworet, & Weber, 2013, 152). Her parents have only ever observed her learning and working in her home environment, and met with her teachers after class; they have never bothered to watch her work among her fellow students. The "problem" they are encountering as she enters elementary school is a result of their limited, biased observations finally being challenged in a more competitive environment.

3.2. "I DON'T WANT TO BE DIFFERENT": At the first school, everyone had fun. We all played together and got all dirty in the sandbox and made up all these games at lunch about fighting space aliens. At this school it's different. Here there's a bunch of girls who are wearing cool clothes and doing their hair in all these braids that I can't do. The boys still fight space aliens, but the cool girls don't play with the boys anymore, because most of them don't want to get dirty. They sit they in the back and do their hair during their English class, because they don't care about what the teacher is saying, at least that's what they say. One time when I tried to sit with them at lunch I mentioned the test Dad told me about, and how it said I was smart, and then one of them said I was a nerd, and then everybody started saying it. Then they wouldn't let me sit with them at lunch -- I have to sit with all the kids from my special class. But I really want to be friends with the cool girls, so now sometimes I tell Mr. Saunders that I'm ahead in my work and ask him if I can go to their English class instead of mine. I say I want to hear about the books they're reading. Then I go and sit at the back and try to get someone to let me do their hair. I hardly ever go to my English class anymore, and Mr. Saunders doesn't seem worried about it. At first I was scared to skip class because I knew I'd do bad on my essays and stuff, but the girls kind of laughed at that and said "So?" So I did it, and since I've been doing that they've stopped calling me nerd. I sit with them at lunch all the time now, and yesterday Camilla even let me try to give her pigtail braids in the back of the room when their teacher was talking about "Charlotte's Web."

3.2.1. Like all children her age, Kyeesha is desperate to belong, to fit in with and be like her peers. This means that even if the test used to determine Kyeesha's intelligence wasn't so unreliable -- even if she truly is in something equivalent to the Very Superior range -- it wouldn't be surprising that her demonstrated abilties are beginning to decline as she transitions to elementary school. This is largely due to the fact that traditional gender norms, which unfortunately begin to be socially-enforced even at this early age, position intelligent girls as anamolies. This is evidenced by the fact that girls in middle or high school are more likely to try to hide their abilites than boys (Woolfolk, 2016, 124). At this age and in the situation of moving to a new school, an anamoly is the last thing that Kyeesha wants to be.

3.2.2. In addition to not "fitting in with the girls," Kyeesha faces additional derogatory stereotypes associated with her gifted identification. There are myths that gifted students behave badly (bored with school, disruptive, antagonistic); that they are emotionally instable; and that they are physically inept, self-absorbed, and narrow-minded (Bennett, Dworet, & Weber, 2013, 142). On the level of Kyeesha's interactions with her peers, the focus tends to be on the last of these negative stereotypes, manifesting in labels like "nerd," which Kyeesha now feels she must modify her behaviour and work habits to avoid.

3.3. "I NEED HELP": When I started at the new school, my parents told the teachers and everyone that I was really smart. They told them about the test, and that's why they put me in the special classes for smart kids. But in the special classes the teacher never comes over to talk to me, like Ms. Ryan and Ms. Chung used to do all the time. He never asks me if I understand the story I'm reading, or if I know how to do all the steps of the math, and alot of the time I don't. The stuff they make us do now is so much harder than before. It makes me really upset when I can't do it anymore, like I'm about to be sick. I asked Amanda why they don't help us in class, why they just stand up at the front and talk all the time, and she said it's because we're all smart, and she said her mom says it's the not-smart kids that get the help because they're the ones who need it. I guess there must not be enough help for everyone. I guess it's a good thing anyway, because this way Mr. Saunders believes me when I say I'm ahead in my work and lets me go to the other English class.

3.3.1. While from her peers Kyeesha has to cope with the stereotype of the gifted student as a social misfit, from her teachers she faces the persistent myth that gifted kids are perfectly capable of teaching themselves. In keeping with the anology that "cream will rise to the top no matter what," it is a common belief that exceptional talent means that highly-intelligent kids do not need the same help with their schoolwork as average kids (Bennett, Dworet, & Weber, 2013, 142). In her first schooling experience, Kyeesha was very little, and thus attended to properly as a beginning learner. Set apart from other students in a gifted program in her new school, however, she is viewed as more mature and in need of less guidance than her peers, causing her much confusion and frustration.

3.3.2. The difficulty of lacking guidance from her teachers is compounded by the high standards imposed on Kyeesha due to her identification as exceptionally intelligent. Her past experience has taught her that she has no option but to do perfect work, a lesson compounded by her parents' very vocal expectations. This is a common form of pressure that gifted students experience, regardless of whether their skills at a given point actually allow them to meet the high standards set for them by others (Bennett, Dworet, & Weber, 2013, 152). It is this kind of pressure, along with the lack of assistance in the classroom, that makes Kyeesha become so upset and physically anxious when she has difficulty in school.

3.3.3. Not only is she being neglected academically, Kyeesha is also experiencing the effects of never having learned how to learn. Because she did so well (on relatively easy work) and was praised so highly in pre-school for her every accomplishment, Kyeesha never had the opportunity to learn good work habits. As with many good learners, she appears to be doing worse now not because she is less intelligent, but because she is actually being challenged for the first time, and in order to face academic challenges one must have learned values such as persistence and consistency (Bennett, Dworet, & Weber, 2013, 152). Another possible reason for Kyeesha's feeling that the work is harder is that -- particularly at her age -- giftedness cannot be considered a fixed trait. The mind is so elastic during the early years of schooling (ages 4 - 9) that a positive identification is impossible (Bennett, Dworet, & Weber, 2013, 152). While her parents might bulk at the prospect, it is entirely possible that Kyeesha has to some extent grown out of the giftedness which was identified by the initial test (if that simplistic test can be trusted to begin with).

4. Deconstruction of Case Study

4.1. Giftedness Category: Intellectual Definition: “An unusually advanced degree of general intellectual ability that requires differentiated learning experiences of a depth and breadth beyond those normally provided in the regular school program to satisfy the level of educational potential indicated” Special Education in Ontario Schools, Bennett, Dworet, Weber

4.1.1. Biology and Cognitive Development

4.1.1.1. Brain growth grows into adolescence. This makes sense for Kyeesha as she was first tested at age four, then again in grade two. Solving the reasoning behind two vastly different results of her tests.

4.1.1.2. Kyeesha's first test was completed during what Piaget would call the sensorimotor phase of her life and the second was completed during the preoperational stage of her development. Changes could have affected Kyeesha's test results because in grade two Kyeesha would begin learning logical reasoning, symbolic thinking, and language acquisition which does not begin developing until the preoperational phase.

4.1.2. Classroom Implications

4.1.2.1. Gifted students generally have good abstract thinking and decision making abilities.

4.1.2.2. Some of the positive aspects of students diagnosed with giftedness include: superior vocabulary, good reading skills, enjoyment of learning, creativity and accelerated thought processes.

4.1.2.3. Gifted students also tend to have certain social deficits that may be reflected in their attitude in the classroom. In the Special Education in Ontario Schools textbook, it is noted that a student diagnosed with giftedness may have difficulty changing tasks, inattentiveness, and unwillingness to listen to others.

4.1.2.4. At the same time, it is important that each student is treated as an individual, and no assumptions made about their character traits or other abilities or needs based on their giftedness. Unfortunately, there are a host of harmful myths surrounding gifted students which have very real implications in the classroom. These include sweeping conclusions that gifted students are always antagonistic, bored, and self-sufficient, so they are often not given help or are ostracized (Bennett, Dworet, & Weber, 2013, 142). To avoid such negative reactions, and desiring to fit in with their peers, many students will pretend to be "less smart" than they actually are (Woolfolk, 2016, 124).

4.1.2.5. In the past self-contained classrooms were meant for all exceptionalities. Separate classes were created within the school where all children with exceptionalities went to learn. Today, we find more school boards have made shifts towards eliminating self-contained classes and exceptional children are fully immersed in the regular classroom curriculum. These integrated students may or may not have Personal Support Workers or Educational Assistants. The teacher is primarily responsible for programming for each student.

4.1.2.6. Although there has been work towards inclusion there are still many self-contained classrooms when it comes to gifted student exceptionalities. The schools who have full classrooms of gifted students are for those students who have been assessed and proven intellectually gifted, usually beginning in grade five. Therefore, it was quite early for Kyeesha to to be tested at the age of four. It was a good idea to have her tested again in grade 2 to assess any changes in her intellectual ability.

4.1.2.7. Accommodations: Individualized equipment required to enable a student to learn and to demonstrate learning (i.e. chrome books, iPads, computers in their self-contained gifted classrooms for genius hour projects and project-based learning).

4.1.2.8. Differentiated Instruction: A teacher's response to the way each gifted student in their classroom learns. The teacher's delivery of course material, management strategies and instruction change to fit the interests of the students.

4.1.2.9. Questions to ask when a student identified as “gifted” does not perform as such (Bennett, Dworet, & Weber, 2013, 152): - Has the student learned to learn? - Do social factors permit success? - Are expectations realistic? - Is there a good fit between the child and the classroom? One must also inquire into the possibility that the student needs significant help with work, but is not getting it due to the misconception that "smart" kids don't require assistance to succeed (Bennett, Dworet, & Weber, 2013, 142).

4.1.3. Definition and Testing

4.1.3.1. Testing for giftedness is typically performed in a case study format which involves the collection of test scores, grades, examples of work, projects and portfolios, letters or ratings from teachers, and self-ratings. It is a complex and in no way definitive process (Woolfolk, 2016,124). Parental referral -- which is too often biased -- is not sufficient to create a reliable diagnosis (Bennett, Dworet, & Weber, 2013, 152).

5. Summary of Case

5.1. Kyeesha's parents had struggled with getting pregnant for many years. In their late forties, when Kyeesha was born, their home was filled with intellectual and cultural stimulants from their lives, and Kyeesha was considered their "divine gift".

5.2. Kyeesha's parents had her intellectually tested by a private clinic at the age of four, and enrolled in a private preschool soon after.

5.3. As Kyeesha changed from the private to the public sector, the new school's IPRC had little information from the private school, and private clinic but approved Kyeesha to attend a primary gifted program.

5.4. Soon Kyeesha fell behind in academic achievement. Due to the lag behind her classmates, the school requested another assessment with the approval of Kyeesha's parents near the end of her Grade 2 year. Kyeesha tested average to high average, therefore not intellectually gifted.

5.5. The issue: The parents are confused. How could two tests have such vastly different results and where do they go from here?

6. Parent Perspective by Katie O'Donnell

6.1. I couldn't have been more excited to be a mom. Our little Kyeesha was our divine gift; a miracle, added to our lives. My husband and I were getting discouraged and had almost given up on having kids altogether when I found out I was finally pregnant. My husband and I made a promise to each other to teach Kyeesha everything we knew, and to provide her with a loving and culturally stimulating home. It was clear even when Kyeesha was very young, she was not just our divine gift, she also had intellectual talents as well. So we decided to pay a private clinic to have her tested. She would have been around four years old when the first test was given.

6.1.1. I was quite nervous, but my husband was thrilled we were getting the test done. Neither of us have tested gifted people in our family, Kyeesha would be the first. The doctor collected a variety of test scores based on conversations with Kyeesha and any examples of work we had done with her at home and in her current preschool. My girlfriends had told me that usually children aren't tested until their primary or even junior years but I told them money can pay for any test. The doctor had identified our daughter as being in a very superior intellectual range so we enrolled her in an intellectually challenging private preschool.

6.1.1.1. When Kyeesha got the the age where she was entering grade one, we thought it would be a good idea to request a meeting with the identification, placement, and review committee to see where to go from preschool. Kyeesha had been doing very well but the recommendation was to switch to the public sector in a primary gifted program. We couldn't have been more excited. Although it was a public school Kyeesha was officially considered gifted.

6.2. The shift

6.2.1. By the end of grade two the school had requested another test be done because Kyeesha was starting to lag behind her classmates. I had explained to the teacher we were working on her social skills at home and we were aware that these deficits may reflect a poor attitude in the classroom. At home Kyeesha was often inattentive and unwilling to listen to her father and I. We got the sense that she felt pride in the title of being gifted, which was fine at home because we couldn't be more proud, but not at school. My suggestion was when putting her in group work to assign a leader to the group, and have her follow instructions to work on these deficits.

6.2.1.1. One thing my husband noticed when helping Kyeesha with homework was she would answer a question and then when trying to answer the next one she would take more time to complete the answer or she did not know how to find the answer. When completing research on giftedness, my husband said sometimes students desiring to fit in with their peers will pretend to be "less smart" than they actually are. Maybe this was happening with Kyeesha and that is why she was lagging behind?

6.2.1.1.1. The school did not share these opinions. They did not see social deficits and did not agree that Kyeesha was pretending to be less smart. Instead they spoke about biological and cognitive development as Kyeesha grew. We were told a child's brain grows into adolescence.

6.3. The second assessment

6.3.1. The school requested another assessment and Kyeesha tested average to high average, therefore not intellectually gifted. I could not believe this. How could two tests have such vastly different results?

6.3.1.1. The school explained that Kyeesha's first test was completed during what Piaget would call the sensorimotor phase of her life and the second was completed during the preoperational stage of her development. Changes in Kyeesha's cognitive development could have affected Kyeesha's test results. When doing research on Piaget and his reasoning behind a child's stages of development things became more clear for me. My husband had a more difficult time coming to terms with the fact that Kyeesha was not intellectually gifted, even though she was very smart. I shared the research I had done with my husband. It said that in grade two Kyeesha would begin learning logical reasoning, symbolic thinking, and language acquisition which does not begin developing until the preoperational phase. Our daughter may have been more advanced in the sensorimotor stage but as she advanced through a new stage of development, her intellectual abilities became more average than advanced.

6.4. The issue for me: where do we go from here?

6.4.1. Once coming to terms with this new assessment I was able to discuss a plan of action with the school to help Kyeesha with the transition from a gifted program to a new academic status. The school explained this would take time to identify a new status but they would find a new academic program suitable for her learning style. They also recommended additional testing to discover any other exceptionalities Kyeesha may have.

6.4.1.1. My husband and I plan to keep Kyeesha's home life consistent with cultural and intellectual stimulants. I also recommended to the teacher she slowly remove any accommodations she had made for Kyeesha to ease the transition. For example, I know she loves the project based learning in her gifted class and I know she enjoys doing research on her chromebook. I suggested to the teacher to not remove her completely from this approach until the further testing was completed. Perhaps in grade three, after summer break would be a good time to start the transition away from the gifted self-contained classes so she has opportunity to succeed with new peers and no longer lag behind with ones she's currently working with.

6.4.1.1.1. My husband is still struggling with this transition, but I am waiting for the next set of tests to be strong for Kyeesha.

7. References

7.1. Bennett, S., Dworet, D., & Weber, K. (2013). Special Education in Ontario Schools: Seventh Edition. St. David's, Ontario: Highland Press. Woolfolk, A, Winne, P. H., & Perry, Nancy (2016). Educational Psychological: Sixth Canadian Edition. Toronto, Ontario: Pearson.