The passing rates on the new Florida Standards Assessments are likely to drop sharply versus the old FCAT, but the real issue is reading comprehension — with the new and much harder text.
Consider this quote from an A.E. Casey report — “Early Warning! Why Read By The End of Third Grade Matters”
“Up to half of the fourth grade curriculum will be incomprehensible to students who read below that grade level according to the Children’s Reading Foundation. Three quarters of the readers who are poor readers in third grade will still be poor readers in 12th grade, according to research done at Yale University.
For gifted students, the challenges are somewhat different. For the gifted student with dyslexia or learning disabilities, what some call the twice-exceptional or 2E students, the risks are somewhat different:
– Instead of being at grade level as many of these students were on the old FCAT tests, the same students may now be below grade level, simply because the test is harder
– Teachers are now going to be graded on how well their students do on the new Florida Standards Assessments — therefore, there may be more pressure on the struggling gifted students to exit the gifted programs
– The self-esteem of the struggling gifted students may also suffer
– Homework time and stress may get to be a much bigger issue
– Parents may be tempted to exit their child to avoid the stress
To help parents and students, we have coined the term GOLD Student (TM) — Gifted Operating with a Learning Difference. GOLD Students have found this label to described them well, to empower them and to provide a new lease on life
Helping Parents of Twice Exceptional or GOLD Students to Make The Difference
There are six common links for the twice-exceptional or struggling gifted child. The child often:
– Learns differently and is what we call a right-brain learner
– Has an attention issue or it may just be they are excited by what they are learning and cannot focus on that which is boring
– Has an eye-teaming issue – it is very common for the right-brain learner to have an eye-teaming issue
– Reading comprehension may be much lower than one would have expected. Unfortunately, schools think it is OK for a gifted child who should be 2 years ahead of grade level, to be on grade level reading or slightly below. What they may not realize is with the huge amount of reading that is required, what takes a typical gifted student an hour to read, may takes the twice-exceptional student 2.5 to 4 hours to do
Federal law makes it very difficult for parents of twice-exceptional students to get reading help from the school.
What can a parent do:
– Find out if your child learns differently and is a right-brain learner — if your child is, you want to consider a right-brain program that plays to your child’s strengths and interests
– Find out if your child has an attention and/or eye-teaming issue
– Have your child assessed for their present level of reading speed and comprehension and their vocabulary level. It is not uncommon for a twice-exceptional student to have a high vocabulary, for their reading comprehension to be below grade level and for their reading speed to be tortuously slow.
Let’s assume these are all true — then you should a right-brain program that improves reading speed and comprehension and you should address the attention and eye-teaming issues.
The new Florida Standards Assessments will be given in the spring of 2015 — the time to act is ASAP.
At 3D Learner, we provide a no cost screening tool for parents of GOLD Students that you can do with your child. To access the assessment and for more information go to GOLD Students