Educational assessment is something which parents tend to consider purely as a very valuable part of the evaluation process, if there is suspicion that their child may have a special educational need such as Dyslexia. However, few realise that educational assessments can also have great value in a broader educational sense, where parents are unsure of the academic capabilities and hence potential of their child. Carrying out the right kind of educational assessment when the child is aged 8 or 9 can, for example, assist parents in deciding if preparation for sitting the 11 plus and hence grammar school, would present the right school environment to match their intellectual capabilities, or if they are aiming for a place at the right independent senior day or boarding school.
Educational assessment tools measure children’s performance in tests which are standardised so that scores are obtained which are adjusted according to age and consequently give a clear reflection of where the child’s capability and potential lies, compared with their peers.
There are a whole range of assessment tests available, but in general the assessment tests contain a range of verbal and non-verbal tasks to measure intelligence, combining Verbal IQ and Visual IQ scores.
The average student would expect to get a standardised score of 100 or a percentile ranking of 50. A child, who obtains a standardised score of between 85 and 115, or a percentile ranking of 16 to 85, would be within average range.
Those children who attain a standardised score which is above the normal range are classed as gifted as follows:
Mildly Gifted 115 to 129
Moderately Gifted 130 to 144
Highly Gifted 144 to 160
Exceptionally Gifted 160 to 179
Profoundly Gifted 180 plus
Understanding where your child sits within their peer group can be difficult for parents to assess through mere observation of contribution to school work and results, as there are so many outside factors which affect their attainment. Are they engaged in their learning and putting in 100% effort for example, or are they more interested in playing football and computer games, to really be trying their hardest and hence demonstrating their natural potential?
Undertaking an educational assessment process for your child can therefore be a very useful tool towards understanding where your child’s performance sits against their natural capabilities. If you are faced with difficult decisions as to where they will go to senior school, this can be an additional tool to enable you to consider with confidence, the most appropriate and realistic options.
Whether you plan for them to sit the 11 plus or to take the pre-test for a top public school, it is very useful to have an idea of your child’s potential, as a measure against which you can review performance and hence expectations. Whether this assists you to push your ‘lazy’ child to attain more at school in line with their potential, or to review whether grammar school is the right option, if they would only struggle to get there by the skin of their teeth, this information is extremely useful.
The signs of a gifted child
Every child is different, so this is not always easy to identify from behaviour alone, but here is a list of some of the behaviours which may indicate that your child could be gifted. A child need not demonstrate all of them to be gifted.
Very observant, curious, asks lots of what if questions
Long attention span and excellent memory
Excellent problem solving skills and ability to reason
May have read early, reads quickly and widely
A well-developed sense of humour and ability to interact with teachers and adults
Bored by work which is unchallenging, and so may opt out of trying
Tendency to become fascinated by particular topics
Appearing over sensitive for example appearing to have hurt feelings very easily or sensitive to loud noises or the seams in their socks.