Saturday, February 2, 2013

Helping parents applying to APP

Looks like test scores are coming in the mail and parents new to APP are wondering what the scores mean, whether they should apply, and, in some cases, about the appeals process. Let's open a new thread, and please chime in if you have any questions or can answer any questions.

286 comments:

1 – 200 of 286   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

Just received our letter. K child qualified for Spectrum with 87 verbal, 99 quantitative, 97 composite. Her fall MAP scores were 99 and 99, but they weren't used (and she had no additional achievement testing). We expected her verbal to be higher, but overall she missed the cutoff by a point.

Would other folks appeal in our position? Thanks for any guidance.
--Conflicted

Anonymous said...

My daughter's COGAT results were a 0 for verbal, and 70 for math. She's taken the test before and always just missed APP cutoff (made Spectrum). Her MAP scores are 99 every time. We had her privately tested: 99%. She took the ISEE: 99%, 99%, 99% and 96% (she missed two questions on the entire test.) I asked her about the COGAT, if she had completed the test. Her response: "Yes, in about 2/3 of the time allotted." I asked if she could have missed a section; she said she didn't think so, that the answer sheet was a lot like the ISEE and it would have been obvious to her.

It sounds to me like there was an error in scoring her test. Anyone have a similar experience?

Wondering

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any insight into the weighting of the components of the CoGat - just out of curiosity really. The letter says its not a straight average or the 2 values.
Our kid got 88 verbal and 99 quantitative with a composite of 97, whereas our other kid got 99 verbal and 84 quantitative- also with a composite of 97.

Number cruncher

hschinske said...

Re the weighting: all the scores are percentiles, measuring the rarity of the raw score. (If there are, say, 60 questions, getting 55 of them right would give you a raw score of 55, and if 8% of students get a raw score of 55 or better, 55 is at the 92nd percentile -- this is an invented example.)

The composite is simply a measure of how rare it is to get the total raw score of verbal plus math. Once you get to 99th percentile on one side, any halfway decent score on the other is likely to nudge you into 90th+ territory on the composite.

Helen Schinske

Fremont Mama said...

Conflicted - I would definitely appeal. But, since she is technically one point under I would suggest paying for private testing hoping she would score higher. You might be able to appeal and get in with just teacher input, but that is more of a grey area.

Susannae

hschinske said...

@Wondering: Did she really get a zero, or was that a typo? That would definitely mean some kind of scoring error.

In any case, it's always possible to score lower than one's ability on a particular occasion. In your shoes I'd appeal without a second thought.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

In case our information might help any of you decide whether to appeal... our daughter has 99 on both sections of the MAP but on the CogAT scored 42 for quantitative and 97 for Verbal. Interesting, since by every other measure such as other tests, daily work, hobbies, her quantitative/reasoning abilities and achievement outstrip her verbal, year after year. Interesting too because leading up to the CogAT she mentioned many times that she didn't want to take it, was sick of tests, and didn't want to go to APP (we don't know how she learned it was an APP-eligibility test). At home that day she said something like, "It was OK but that kind of fill-in-the-circle test is pretty boring. I wish I could have read instead." She's already taken the WISC this year for other reasons, and has APP-qualifying scores there. In that test, sure enough, her quantitative/reasoning exceeded her verbal. So our experience is that scoring low on the CogAT doesn't necessarily reflect ability. But perhaps it reflects whether APP is a good match? I don't know. Maybe APP teachers or current APP parents would have thoughts on that. Though it's probably very individual. Our daughter's happy where she is so we aren't likely to move her even though she has the scores. But we're going to visit Lincoln and think about it through the enrollment period.
-It's complicated

Anonymous said...

Hi and thanks so much for this great blog and all the information. The letter for our K son states for CogAT: 99 verbal, 95 quantitative and 99 composite and it says he qualifies for Spectrum. Shouldn't these numbers qualify for APP or is the quantitative too low? He was called back for additional testing but there are no other scores listed on our letter. Thanks for any insight.
-Confused

Anonymous said...

My kid got 88 verbal, 99 quantitative, 99 composite and qualifies for APP.

Shaune said...

My son just qualified for APP in what he calls his 'last chance' before middle school next year. I'd love to hear from parents who have experience with kids just starting APP at middle school level; was it a huge culture change? Did your kid(s) seem to be at a disadvantage compared with kids who have been doing APP for years?
thanks

Anonymous said...

Argh. For the second year in a row, I don't trust my daughter's Cogat scores as far as I can throw them. In what grade can students read the test themselves??? Is it really not until the 3rd grade?

Anonymous said...

I do wish they would provide the raw scores in addition to the percentiles. I think it would be far more transparent. Can we ask for the raw scores?

Also wondering whether the individual testers could create some discrepancies. For instance, my K kid had a tester with a very strong accent/lisp - I wondered if this could have affected comprehension of the questions being posed. But I guess that is partly the nature of a group test situation and one of the reasons the one-on-one tests are seen as more representative of kids IQ.

Cogat Questions

North Seattle Mom said...

Exact same boat as Shaune above - our current 5th grade Spectrum student just qualified for APP. I'm concerned about culture change and coming in as the new kid with a well established cohort. In addition there is an IEP for modified curriculum (processing delay, some speech) and don't know if there are other twice exceptional 2E APP students out there. Thanks so much for any and all insight.

Anonymous said...

Conflicted - I'd appeal in your position if private test scores are high enough. Our child had similar scores in K, and she was admitted after private testing. No idea if an appeal could be successful without private scores.

Anonymous said...

Our kindergartener qualifies for APP for next year. We are considering leaving him at our NE neighborhood school (which has ALO) where he is happy and doing well, or switching him to APP@Lincoln. Thoughts from parents who chose to send their kids to APP@Lincoln about its pros and cons? Or thoughts from parents whose kids qualified for APP but who stayed at their neighborhood school about the pros and cons of that route?
New to APP

37 Questions said...

Long time lurker, first time poster.

I have 5yo twins. My son qualified for APP and my daughter for Spectrum. We have had private testing done this past fall for other reasons. He is 99.8% and she is 99.9%.

Her private math reading testing by the same doctor resulted in disqualification based on her scores. This is okay with me, she is not ready for APP at this point anyway.

How do people deal with kids in AL at different schools? The whole idea is making my head spin

37 Questions said...

Anon 5:38

My son tests well.

My daughter does much better in a one on one setting. The private testing gave me much greater insight. However, even if she qualified, she isn't ready.

Testing by group vs individually can really make a difference for certain kids.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous at 2:05:

My daughter was in the same boat last year as a 3rd grader (same cognitive score - 97, and same MAP scores - 99 & 99, and in our case, she had had MAP scores in that range for 3 years in a row, so they were very solid), and we appealed without private testing and were denied, which tells me they are NOT letting kids into APP unless they meet each and every requirement.

It's up to you whether to private test (I would), but don't count on a successful appeal without it.

I hope this helps.

My 2 Cents

Anonymous said...

Thanks to everyone sharing their experiences, it is helpful as we're new to this and I feel like SPS gives very little information. Can someone clarify if it is just the composite score that needs to be 98%+ or if it is both the verbal AND Quantitative that both need to be 98%+? Our Kindergarten student scored similar to a poster above, Verbal 86 and Quantitative 99 for a composite of 97. If its just the composite score that needs to be 98% I would in theory like to see if she could qualify through private testing. If its both, we'll just see what happens in the future. However, one issue is that we can not afford private testing, and it would need to be cognitive and achievement testing. We don't qualify for free/reduced lunch, but we do live very much paycheck to paycheck. I believe I had read on another thread at some point that someone's insurance covered part of the cost for private testing, does anyone have experience with this? I admit I'm feeling a weight on my shoulders being lower middle class with a sub-par neighborhood school. Any advice or recommendations, or is she too far off the APP mark that I don't have to entertain these dilemmas?

Anonymous said...

My 2nd grader qualified for APP, but with a caveat. He was early entrance K by a few days, and, because of this, the letter says that he can only enter APP as a 2nd grader next year.

Does anyone have experience with early entrance and APP? Is SPS really hard and fast on this? My kid's not enthused about the prospect of repeating 2nd grade.

Too young

Anonymous said...

It's 2 out of the 3 98+. So one of v or q and the composite(since if both v and q are, composite will necessarily be). In your case the verbal would probably need to come up a little and the quant stay the same.

Wondering, it's more likely a data processing error on the district end than scoring error. My son got a 0 last year, and it was just that; I called, and they could see the 99 on the screen, problem solved.

Confused, I'd call too. That sounds wrong. Seriously, it's just some person entering stuff into excel. They make mistakes.

Everybody has different pros and cons depending on what they were hoping for their kids and what they think a gifted program should look like. The kids seem to be more competitive and academically motivated (this is a good fit for my kid, but I think makes it tough for high IQ kids with low motivation). The day is more go go go than our last school, which is good for my son who likes to do! lots of! stuff! but definitely not for every gifted child. Do you have any friends who have sent their kids from your home school? I think that is the best comparison.

Anonymous said...

Helen,
In response to your response to me at 2:06, I really mean zero. I'm thinking that even if she got off track on filling in her bubbles, every one off by one or something like that, her score wouldn't have been zero. And her math wouldn't have been 70.

Is it hard to get them to pull an actual test sheet and take a second look at it?

Second question: if we get in on appeal by virtue of her WISC and teacher recs, and hold off on entering APP for a year while the capacity dust settles (she says hopefully), do we maintain our eligibility or start over qualifying next year.

Thanks to all for the help.

Wondering

Anonymous said...

If you have an ALO(or Spectrum) at your school to enroll in, that's it. If not, you start over next year.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused. My son qualified for APP though his fall MAP scores in reading and math are 94%. He hasn't taken winter test yet at his school. His CogAT is 99. I thought winter MAP scores are considered for eligibility. Is it the AL office's error? What's going on? Any idea?

Anonymous said...

We kept our kids in an ALO elementary and switched to APP at middle school. The experience has overall been that the kids have made friends but are not as close as they were to elementary school friends. The curriculum is much better suited to the APP student, though sadly the teachers have been a disappointment. The other positives are that for the first time our kids were not labeled as the "smart kid," and they are learning how to work hard for good grades, which they never needed to do even in ALO programs. I think that the hardest part of the switch was the shuffling from class to class, but that is just the middle school thing, not anything unique to APP. As with most school decisions, it really depends on the student, and for one of our kids it was clearly the right move to go to APP, but for one other kid it is a bit harder to judge, as he really missed his friends. Also the jump in math from fifth to eighth grade was a bit challenging for one of our kids, but I think that is a lot to do with him not being well matched with his teacher.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have experience with early entrance and APP? Is SPS really hard and fast on this? My kid's not enthused about the prospect of repeating 2nd grade.

Good luck. I haven't heard any stories of successfully fighting their unwritten policy. It seems to be just for elementary though, so if you enroll in Spectrum or ALO, supposedly your child keeps APP eligibility and can enroll in APP for middle school (without repeating a grade).

Anonymous said...

Yes, "New To APP" we are in the same position. Our K student is in a decent NE school with an ALO and we're trying to decide whether to move to APP. Someone mentioned that "motivated" kids do better in APP, but I wondered if being around like-minded peers would actually make my kid MORE motivated. She does not like doing the "extra" work that the teacher gives her because it makes her different from her friends. Any idea how many kids each year try APP and then go back to the original school? Just trying to get a handle on how often it's a "bad" fit. Any other advice on how to determine if APP is a better fit for a kid? I'm planning to speak with her teacher and tour the APP program but don't want to miss any other sources of info.
NE K Mom

-GHS alum said...

Our son has been in private school, but he tested into APP for 6th grade and we are considering both private middle schools and Washington. Have others made the transition from private to APP, or are others considering this?

We like the idea of more academic rigor for our son and a cohort more at his level, but are worried about the transition...

Anonymous said...

Too Young--
We went through exactly the same thing last year. We really fought tooth and nail--numerous conversations with the AL office, talking to the principal (this is the person who'd actual decision it is--in our case we are in the south end, and I will tell you she shut us down instantly--it was not up for discussion). I was genuinely furious and wasn't going to enroll her until we actually sat in on a class and saw that the program would be a good fit. Even at that point, I didn't agree with the age policy and tried to fight it one more time. My daughter would never have been picked out of her general ed class as the youngest and was socially doing just fine. One thing they will tell you that is true and also makes it easier is that the age cohort for APP classrooms in generally older--with her mid-September birthday she's only the 4th or 5th oldest, it is in no way obvious. The hardest part has been spending time with her peers that are on her old grade track, but the actual experience of going to APP at a lower grade has been positive. Although I still think she was fully capable of the work at the higher grade level, socially and academically the fit has been fine. I still think the policy is pretty lousy, but in hindsight, I would have just gotten on board sooner and saved myself (and my kid) a lot of stress.
--good luck

Anonymous said...

When my summer-birthday kid entered APP, we were given the recommendation to repeat 2nd grade at Lowell. Best decision ever! There is no stigma because it's all new kids, there is really no curriculum overlap, so you're not "repeating" anything. Imagine your kid at middle school with that much more maturity in their decision making. Imagine your teenager with one more year of frontal lobe development when confronted with mountains of AP or IBX homework. I'm glad I got another year of my kid at home, too, before sending her off to college. Read Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers" for some discussion of the benefits of being on the older side of your cohort.

sidneyd

Anonymous said...

My first grader got 99 quantitative, 79 verbal, 94 composite. I'm curious to know what the verbal test is like -- she reads and comprehends at a high level, and I'm surprised by this low score.

I also see that many verbal scores mentioned here are low. Anyone know why this is?

Dubious

hschinske said...

They've gone back and forth on the summer birthday thing. My kids are all summer-born and no one said boo to me. I think myself that it is a bogus policy. If they can't handle children with a normal developmental level for that grade, there is a big problem with the teaching. The whole POINT of APP is that you teach at the correct intellectual level while allowing for the child to be less mature in other ways. When they lose sight of that, bad things happen.

Most kids are flexible enough that if they're born in August or September they can just take the coin toss and go into the grade they're assigned by birthday, and it won't make all that much difference. A few would be better off as either the youngest or the oldest in the class. It's likely that about half of the August/September babies who would be substantially better off as oldest/youngest are in the best place for them by chance already. The remainder (probably a small number) would be better off on the other side of the date line.

There's NO evidence to show that it's always better to be the oldest. It depends very much on the individual. I was among the oldest in my class, and it just put me even more out of sync (I had to enter kindergarten at almost six, and as a result had been reading for two years already).

Incidentally, no one ever likes to mention it, but there HAVE been grade skips in Seattle Public Schools, even within APP. Not very many, but it's happened.

Helen Schinske

Lori said...

I have a late-August birthday kid in APP and no one ever mentioned holding her back a year upon entry. That's very interesting what sidneyd reports.

And I agree with Helen that the "oldest is best" argument isn't necessarily proven. There are pros and cons on each side.

I read an interesting article some time ago that put a positive spin on being the youngest because you get a cohort of older peers to learn from and to challenge you to try new things. If you're the oldest in the class, you may not have anyone to "look up to." It might even help the younger kid mature more quickly. This was all in the context of red-shirting for Kindergarten but interesting nonetheless:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/opinion/sunday/dont-delay-your-kindergartners-start.html?src=me&ref=general&_r=0

Of course, I probably liked that article because it confirmed or validated a decision we had already made! But seriously, I think you just have to know your kid and go with your gut.

For Too Young, definitely talk to the principal at the relevant school and get your Board member involved if you want to fight it. I remember a family a few years ago who went that route for a September 1 birthday child (but I don't know their outcome). One thing to consider is whether your son would have to repeat material, particularly science and social studies. I think Lincoln at least does the same curriculum as other schools, so that might be a reason to argue against repeating.

And, for whatever it's worth, it's been my experience so far that the birthdays in my daughter's classes have been fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. Yes, I'm a nerd and I look at the little wall calendars to see if she's really the youngest or how many of her peers also have summer birthdays! And purely anecdotally, my kid hasn't been the only "young" one in her APP classes.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the principles the age retention policy are based on, absolutely. But for the record, the policy has been articulated officially: http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/advanced%20learning/APPYoungerStudentGuidelines.pdf?sessionid=cfb31044bc381e9610c9c2e629767e9f

I know it hasn't been like that for very long (I checked before I tested my daughter into K in 2009), but they seem more determined these days to enforce it. They also said that the policy is very popular with the APP teachers, which led me to believe that even if I could fight my kid in, I was not confident that she'd be treated or evaluated fairly. I haven't heard of a successfully fought case in a long time, and I know that there's at least one other student in my child's class who is also in second grade for the second time. I did do everything that seemed rational--involving the school board and superintendent along with the principal and AL office--but didn't try to take it to the state or threaten legal action. If there are people who won this battle recently, I'd love to hear how they did it. All the kids in this boat qualified to go into the grade level above, but the powers that be don't seem interested in even considering it based on the actual capacity of the child in question.
--good luck

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link to the age policy. Notice that the adoption date is Sept. 10, 2010. They had been denying grade level entry to younger students before this date.

If you read the policy, it does state moving to APP in middle school they will be assigned "according to the grade level attended at their last school." This means you don't have to lose a year if you are willing to wait until middle school to join the APP program.

If you have to go back a year in order to accelerate, would it make more sense to choose Spectrum for elementary, then join APP in middle school?

Anonymous said...

Who do you recommend for private testing? Are there testers who will come to your home? If so, would you recommend an in-home test or an in-office test?

Essentially, can anyone give us any recommendations for the appeal process?

Thank you!

Best,
Mom of kid who was ill the she took the cogat.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to all of you who shared your experiences and info on early entrance! I'm glad to hear that holding back has worked out for those who went that route.

I did notice that we could wait until middle school and not lose a year: a qualifying early entrance 5th grader *is* allowed to attend 6th grade APP. Our 2nd grader is pretty happy at our neighborhood elementary school, so we're inclined to stick with that and try again in 5th grade.

Also, it looks like if your neighborhood school offered ALO (or Spectrum), your child could (a) getter better access to enrichment materials and (b) retain APP eligibility for middle school. Unfortunately, our school isn't. That said, many (if not most) Seattle elementary school's have ALO (see bottom):

http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?pageid=282900

and each looks a little different. Does anyone know if ALO is something that could potentially by done at any elementary? Either for the materials or for keeping eligibility?

Thanks again!

Too young

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:44
I read and understood the policy and am aware that its use predates its official articulation. However, I was trying to convey that since it has been written out they seem less flexible than they may have been prior to that.

Depending on your child, your Spectrum options, and your priorities, that might very well make sense, assuming that SPS keeps their policy consistent long enough to take advantage of it.
--good luck

hschinske said...

"They also said that the policy is very popular with the APP teachers"

I'd take that with a very large grain of salt. If there is anything APP teachers are not, it is a monolith. Pronouncements like that also always remind me of the jerky obstetrician I had once who said, when I seemed hesitant over his advice, "And you'll find all my colleagues agree with me too." That hit my BS meter hard, and I went home and called in to find another doctor -- who, golly gee gosh, didn't agree with the first one after all, isn't that funny. (The second one turned out to be one of the best doctors I ever had.)

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Re: the verbal Cogat, there is something about it that clearly throws off my child but I don't know the format. In first grade, he has now had two 70% results in a row. He was just privately tested and had 99.7 on the verbal portion of the WISC, which is very consistent with what we know of him and what his teachers expect. Given that and his 99 MAPS, his verbal Cogat is clearly invalid but don't ask me why!

Anonymous said...

New to APP -

My son tested into APP when he was in kindergarten. He was at a high achieving school with his older sister - and so this was a very hard decision. He was happy at this school, but he was clearly not challenged academically, even with the ALO pull-outs. We didn't relish the thought of having to deal with 2 schools, but also thought it would be easier to transition him earlier in his school career rather than later. We were very split-minded.

In the end, we did move him to APP in 1st grade (he is now a 2nd grader at Lincoln) and it has been very good for him. The academic work is much more appropriate, the teachers are amazing, and as parents, we appreciate being a part of the community and getting great ideas from other parents on how to best support our "fast learner." The two school thing is still a bit of a dance from time to time, but we've made it work.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that while it has been a good experience overall, there was some moments of transition "friction" with missing his old friends, wanting to do something his sister was doing, etc. We just dealt with those as they came up one at a time. Every child gives you something different to focus on anyway.

I don't know if this helps...it was just one experience out of many. Perhaps others will chime in. In any case, I know what you are going through.


One voice from APP

Air said...

Hi everyone. I'm also new to this process and am having problems that I hoped I could get some answers to. My only son, a kindergartner, is currently in every advanced enrichment possible at his school and flourishing.. for reading he is stuck outside in the hall reading with the 1 other kid at his level.. his MAP scores have all been 99%.. he seemed an obvious shoe-in for APP by everyone around him, but his cog-test results just came back shockingly low (73, 69, 73).

I am currently waiting for a response from SPS regarding double-checking his scores (I've heard a few stories of wrong scores being sent out), and asking for a better breakdown of the scores than just meaningless percentiles. Honestly though I'm not expecting a response back anytime soon. We have a number of concerns about how the test was administered (test-giver missed one test day, incorrectly scheduled another, and ended up giving the test to our son as soon as he returned from a lengthy time away from school).

Assuming that somehow these scores are the "correct" ones, we plan to appeal and do private psych testing.

So does anyone have any advice on:

#1 - If we even have a realistic chance since the first test results were so completely off the standard?

#2 - If there are any possible ways to help lessen the painful cost of the private testing? The lowest we've found is about $430.. which is an incredible sum to come up with on the fly within such a limited timeframe.

#3 - Would going down to the SPS offices provide any possibility of getting an answer any quicker? I'm prepared to spend the entire day sitting around if needed. I'm not going to max-out my credit card and get him another test until I know for sure that his current results are correct.

We're at our wits-end over here trying to figure this all out. Don't want our son stuck being treated like a second-class citizen for another year at his current school. =(


Thanks for any help. We *really* appreciate seeing all this public discussion.

Anonymous said...

In response to Air

It is worth getting SPS to double check the results (data entered incorrectly or whatever) but I think a lot of kids do perform less well on group administered IQ tests (like the cogat) than on those administered individually, so that may account for the discrepancy in the results.

For K students, SPS has stated that fall MAP results will NOT be considered, which puts you in the position of having to privately obtain both the IQ test (to appeal cogat score) and reading and math achievement tests (Woodcock Johnson). So I guess the cost increases even more. I doubt they will accept MAP alone on appeals for K students since the district does WJ tests on K students who score 98 or higher in cogat, and determines eligibility based on those.

The district does help with appeals for families eligible for free and reduced lunch, otherwise I guess you have cover the cost yourself somehow - not sure if any psychologists offer sliding scale prices for these tests or not.

Other thing to bear in mind is that advanced reading skills (+/or math) don't necessarily correlate with high IQ score in those tests. Possible to have high IQ and lower reading/math scores and visa versa. APP entry criteria require both high IQ and high achievement scores.

The SPS advanced learning website section has all the details for doing appeals.

Hope that helps a bit

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately it is true that AL cannot accept Fall MAP scores for appeal because they were not given to all students. Whether they will accept the Winter scores (if, at your school, they are available in time for the appeal deadline) is worth finding out. I would think that they would be accepted.

Very possible for kids to get wacky results on the oral Cogat. Absolutely.

Air said...

Thanks much for the response. Very helpful to hear.

Do you know if they consider Winter MAP tests at all? They were even better than his Fall ones.. with his lexiles all very substantially increased.

I get the point of MAP scores not being weighted too strongly though since they could simply be based on the kid being pushed hard by parents and not necessarily reflective of child's overall level. Our kid is very self-motivated but that's not exactly easy to show in an easily quantifiable manner.....

Anonymous said...

New to APP, NE K Mom, and One voice from APP, thanks for starting and commenting on kindergartners who have tested into APP. My daughter also tested in, so we're looking at making the same decision in the next month. We've loved our first year at our NW elementary school with a kindergarten teacher who has challenged and supported our child beautifully. It doesn't make the decision to leave our neighborhood school (which doesn't have any ALO options) easy.

I would love to also see some answers to NE K Mom questions about retention. My child is a perfectionist who seems to stress easily about finishing her work, so I'm trying to figure out whether she would be happy in an APP school—I don't doubt she'll do well, but I'd like to consider her as a whole person.

--NW Kindermom

Lori said...

I'm rushed for time today but I wanted to make sure NW Kindermom and others know about the NW Gifted Child Association's annual conference down in Puyallup this Saturday.

If you're new to all of this, some of the sessions may be particularly helpful, like "Gifted 101" and "The anxious gifted child: perfectionism to procrastination" and the keynote talk, which deals with issues of resilience and emotional intelligence.

One of my goals for my child is to raise her to be resilient, and if you're always the smartest kid in the class and everything comes easy to you, you don't get to practice that skill. For my family, that was one of the biggest draws for APP: an environment when my child will be challenged, learn how to put her best effort forward, and learn how to deal with small failures (like getting an answer wrong) while the stakes are still low. And, I felt that the teachers there might have more experience helping kids overcome perfectionism just given its prevalence in this population.

Conference details here: http://www.nwgca.org/uploads/1/2/0/1/12018395/connections2013flyer.pdf

Anonymous said...

Interesting discussions on low appearing CogAT scores. My 5th grader's CogAT scores came in at 92%, but her second round of testing with ITBS came in at 97 (Reading) and 98 (Math). By the grid, the ITBS qualifies for APP, but the CogAt scores make her Spectrum eligible.

She also did ISEE testing and scored in the 98%. Is an appeal worth while pursuing? I am not interested in further private testing.

Done with Tests

Anonymous said...

Air, you should call and ask if the Winter MAP will be sufficient for the achievement portion. I see no reason why not.

Done, I believe the ISEE should qualify your daughter on appeal.

Nother mom

Anonymous said...

My son's COGAT results were 93 for verbal, 94 for quantitative, 95 composite, qualifying him for Spectrum. I have no idea when the tests were given to him or what kind of a day he was having. Looks like an appeal for an APP designation would involve private testing as a next step? We are very happy at his current school. I'm not sure I'm interested in APP, just curious and wanting to keep all doors open.

- weighing options

Anonymous said...

Air

I would definitely get confirmation from AL that will accept the winter MAP >95 for reading/math achievement scores. Then you would only need private IQ testing so would be good if they did. They were calling in kindergarteners who scored >98 in cogat for WJ to confirm eligibility this year and other years, so made me think they did not accept MAP scores alone as evidence of reading/math achievement for K kids. Anyone else know?

Hope that helps a bit

Anonymous said...

P.S. My son is a kindergartener, if that matters.

Would any of you recommend going for the APP designation, even when you're pretty sure you don't want to switch schools? Does anyone have an idea of the likelihood of an appeal succeeding, given those scores?

Thanks

- weighing options

Anonymous said...

Air

The AL website gives quite clear info about private tests that they will accept - you would give this info to the testing psychologist (or they may already have it) and they would determine which one appropriate for the age/grade - I think for K grade kids it is the WPPSI.

Hope that helps a bit

Anonymous said...

We have two kids who both qualified for APP. Child # 1 we left at her neighborhood elementary school through 5th grade and then switched her to APP@Hamilton in 6th grade. Her transition went great. 8 - 10 kids from her neighborhood elementary school made the same switch; she'd stayed friends with a couple kids who'd made the switch to APP in elementary school; and a number of kids from her soccer team were going to Hamilton.

For our second child, we ended up moving him to APP in 2nd grade. The neighborhood school wasn't as good a fit for him as it was for our oldest child. Transitions are also much tougher for him - and I figured I could do more to ease the transition for him in 2nd grade (e.g. getting to know other parents and setting up playdates) than I could in 6th grade.

So we made two different decisions for our two different kids - and both decisions were the right ones.

For people who are wondering if they should appeal if their child just missed the cut-off or if the scores are very different from the MAP scores - I would recommend doing so. Our second child missed the cut-off by one point. He was 6 when he took the test; took it with one of his best friends; and was thrilled beyond belief that they got to run around the classroom during breaks. To say he was distracted during the testing would be an understatement. He easily qualified based on his private testing scores (and was obviously much less distracted in a one on one setting).

Lincoln & HIMS mom

Anonymous said...

Weighing, my understanding is that the scores on the initial CoGat don't matter IF a child has completed private testing and has 98/99 for both FSIQ and GAI. Without the private scores, however, I don't think it matters how close the near-miss is...the appeal will be denied (unless it's for Spectrum, where AL is much more fluid with admission.)

Good luck to all, been there

Anonymous said...

to weighing options - one thing you might want to consider is where you want your child to go for middle school and if you want APP as an option then. You could also have your child tested again in first grade. It's pretty common for kids who didn't qualify based on their kindergarten scores to qualify in first or second grade. I think the accuracy of group testing when kids are only 5 is not great.

Lincoln & HIMS mom

Anonymous said...

Lincoln & HIMS mom, and other APP parents, so do you think the case for appeal is equally strong in both cases? 1. When Cogats are basically one point off at 97' and 2. When Cogats are super low for an apparently bright child (say, under 75)? I know appeals can draw ire. In the view of most, are both cases valid cases for appeal?

Struggling

Anonymous said...

Thanks!

Lincoln & HIMS mom - If we paid for private testing now (at Kindergarten), and his scores are sufficiently high for APP, does that mean we would be able to keep that APP designation all the way until middle school entrance? Or would we have to move him into APP now in order to keep the designation from expiring between now and 6th grade?

- weighing options

Anonymous said...

Just a note of caution, even if you appeal and are successful, you may wish to think about holding back for a year until after the capacity issues are sorted out. After all, Lincoln is only temporary, it is slated to become a high school in several years, and the APP middle school situation is in flux for the year *after* next. Do what is best for your child. If they need APP, then that will make your decision easy and adapt along with the rest of us to whatever changing circumstances come. If you are comfortable making your existing community work, then, you might consider staying put for one extra year until there is clarity. APP itself is stable (and wonderful), but its longer term address is not exactly stable.

Something to think about before joining.

hschinske said...

I'll reiterate what I've said many times before: ANYONE can score LOWER than their true ability. One low score, therefore, never proves anything. Two of my kids scored in the 50s (percentile-wise) in kindergarten and on subsequent CogATs in the 90s.

The lowest I've heard of offhand for a child who subsequently qualified for APP was something like 37th percentile.

In a way a CogAT score that's obviously way out of whack is, if anything, a better reason to appeal -- a student who scored pretty high, all other things being equal, is more likely to have been doing their best.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

To the parent asking about private testing and home visits, I made an appointment for my K daughter (1 point shy of qualifying for APP) with Dr. Jessica Greenson, 206-658-5512. She only does home visits for testing, and she administers both intelligence and achievement tests.

One thing I appreciated is that she only charges for the tests she administers, and she only administers the achievement tests if the child first meets the threshhold on the intelligence test.

That said, I have no idea what her reputation is as a tester. She sounded very warm and down-to-earth on the phone.

I'm happy to report back after the testing this weekend if anyone is interested.
--No Longer Conflicted

Anonymous said...

To Weighing Options -

it's my understanding that if your child tests into APP, they will maintain their eligibility (even if they stay at a neighborhood school) as long as they are officially enrolled in either Spectrum or an ALO program. Our oldest child qualified for APP in either 1st or 2nd grade. We kept her at her neighborhood school but she was in the ALO program and as a result, received a "special" report card (in addition to her regular report card) that documented her continued eligibility for APP. We then switched her to APP in 6th grade.


To Struggling - it's my sense that you need to have scores that meet the eligibility cut-off. So if your child's scores from the group testing didn't meet the cut-off requirement, you can have your child privately tested - and if the private scores are high enough, use that as the basis of your appeal. I don't think you can successfully appeal based on existing scores (unless, for example, you can show there was a data entry problem leading to a O score).

Lincoln & HIMS mom

Pm said...

Done--

The ISEE counts as an achievement test like the MAP. If the CogAt scores are too low, your child needs a valid IQ test to appeal.

Pm said...

We moved our 1st grader to APP this year. He is our 3rd child in APP, but the first to move in first grade. I thought that socially, a move in 1st grade would be easy because everybody is new, but he had some very strong friendships at his old school and misses those friends. However, on the academic side of things, the move was a great decision. He is a very high reader with MAP scores that would allow him to qualify for APP even if he were in 3rd grade right now. However, the class has a handful of other kids that are at his level or higher and he has been much more motivated to work on things that are challenging for him like writing because of the peer group.

Kathi Jackson said...

I am not a parent, but a psychologist who provides appeals testing. I found this blog when I started receiving calls for appeals testing, and went to look for the current guidelines and the list of acceptable tests. I hope that it is okay for me to be posting on this blog.

I am a PhD clinical psychologist in Everett. My name is not currently on the list of professionals who provide appeals testing for the Advanced programs, although it has been in the past for many years, under the name of Kathi Morton. I moved out of the state for a couple of years and neglected to ask to have my name placed on the list again. I have been doing this type of testing for over 20 years, in addition to complex learning disabilities testing. I was Assistant Director of the Counseling Service of the Halbert and Nancy Robinson Center at UW in the early 90s, worked directly with Dr. Robinson, and have been involved in providing services to highly capable children since that time. I have a very welcoming office, and I am highly skilled at making children feel comfortable in order that they may perform well. I will have time slots on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as during the week. My contact information is: Kathi Jackson, Ph.D., 425-740-3181. The easiest way to reach me initially, by far, is via email, at kathijackson@earthlink.net.

Kathi Jackson, Ph.D.
2731 Wetmore Avenue, STE 240
Everett, WA 98201

425-740-3181
kathijackson@earthlink.net

Anonymous said...

Has anyone had luck asking AL to pull a test sheet to verify scores?

Cogat Confused

Anonymous said...

My son was at our neighborhood school, Loyal Heights, through 3rd grade. We moved him to Lincoln this year, for 4th grade. Although Loyal Heights is an ALO school I did not feel like they were successful at meeting his academic needs at all. I knew we were in trouble when I met with the principal a couple years back and he couldn't tell me what LH was doing to meet the needs of Spectrum and APP qualified kids. He literally had no idea! I had to tell him Walk to Math was probably one example. When I asked him what LH could do to meet my kid's academic needs he said it would be better for my son to move him to Whittier(Spectrum) or Lincoln. We kept him at the school for one more year, knowing he would have a highly desired and respected teacher, but moved him the next year.
The problem with Walk to Math at LH, at least for my son, was that he was doing math that was a year ahead, which was great, BUT he was in a class with the advanced in math 3rd graders and the struggling with math 4th graders, so they had to go slow. This was extremely frustrating for my son. Other, than that I saw no differentiation. In fact, because he had been in a split the year before, he ended up getting the exact same science curriculum two years in a row. Nothing that could be done about it.
Socially, my kid was fine at LH. Lots of friends, playdates, etc. He just was not engaged with the academic side of school at all, and hadn't been since pre school.
Five months into the school year at Lincoln, and he says to me, "Mom, switching to Lincoln is the best thing that ever happened to me." This is from a kid who literally has NEVER had one positive thing to say about school. The thing he loves most about school at Lincoln is how fast they go, especially in math. Everybody, in his words, picks up the concepts quickly, so they don't have to spend lots of time on each concept.
I would not describe my son as a highly motivated perfectionist at all. It is like pulling teeth to get him to do his homework, finish projects, etc., but he is SO much happier about school. He does miss his friends from LH and he feels like he doesn't have as much in common with his peer group at Lincoln, but he has definitely made friends. We have absolutely no regrets about moving him and are so glad we did!

-No regrets

Anonymous said...

"No Regrets" - Thanks for sharing your experience. We are in an ALO school. I like the "inclusion" philosophy of ALO but don't know how often it works in practice. Any suggestions for what questions to ask of our school? Seems like "walk to math" is something to look for but any other specifics that make a program work better (or worse). Has anyone here kept their APP student in an ALO school and had the ALO program work well?
NE K Mom

Anonymous said...

We did our appeal of the CoGAT and got a 98%. Do we now also need a teacher's input for our appeal? I am sure our original teacher nomination form was "average" at best, but I'm not enthusiastic about asking our current teacher for a recommendation.

Thanks. Yet another elem. parent.

Anonymous said...

NE K Mom - I think that ALO varies so much from one school to the next that you really need to talk to the principal at your school.

to the 3:03 Elem. Parent - when we appealed (successfully) for our child, we just used the test scores. We didn't ask his teacher for a recommendation.

Lincoln & HIMS mom

Anonymous said...

p.s. to NE K Mom - I just re-read your comment more carefully and realized you are asking for questions. Our oldest went was in ALO at her neighborhood school - which at the time meant being pulled out (with other kids) for separate language arts. The extra teacher that provided the separate language arts was paid for by the PTA. That worked well for our child.

I don't know how ALO works if the child stays in the classroom and there isn't some sort of walk to math or separate pull-out. I guess I would ask for specific examples of how being in ALO at your child's school is different than not being in ALO.

Lincoln & HIMS mom

Anonymous said...

We just got the scores today.

Verbal - 92
Quantative - 98
V-Q composite - 97

So this qualified for Spectrum. Is it worth appealing? Oldest child is in APP and it has been a perfect fit and I think this would work for child #2 but I don't know.

Child #2 is dyslexic so testing is typically a nightmare. I was actually impressed the scores were this high as he does not typically test very well.

Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Lori, THANK YOU for the conference information. The breakout session about the anxious gifted child sounds like exactly what I need.

And to everyone who has posted questions or taken the time to craft answers, I really appreciate the dialog!

NW Kindermom

JB said...

@Cogat Confused,
They pulled our daughter's sheet and it had been mis-scored. They corrected it and she went from 0 (yes, zero) and 70 to 98/99. If you think it's way off, it's worth checking. They were nice about it.

Feeling better now

Unknown said...

to feeling better now, my son (grade k) has been one of the two kids in his class that are assigned highest level of readings but his verbal score came below 20%. i suspect there's some mistake too. please reply me and tell who you contacted for correcting the mistakes. phone calls or email? how long did it take? etc. thanks.
with a bit of hope.

Anonymous said...

With a 98% I would include a teacher letter if at all possible, especially if achievements are borderline or there is scatter in the subtest scores; you can always ask last year's teacher if that was a better fit.

Anonymous said...

For newly APP eligible students' parents...

Did they use winter MAP testing scores or fall MAP scores to determine your child's eligibility?

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 9:19 PM: Fall MAP scores + CogAT scores + Woodcock-Johnson scores. SPS's site does say you can use the winter scores for an appeal.

--NW Kindermom

Anonymous said...

A general question: are teachers and principals at the current schools given the data on how the students in their school performed on the test? Does the principal know how many students from their school tested into the APP program? I have no problem approaching them to ask, but it would be nice to know if they have some knowledge about it before I do.

--NW Kindermom

Anonymous said...

To Unknown (Feb. 5, 7:37 pm) - since I'm a belt and suspenders kind of person, I'd try both emailing and calling the advanced learning department.

The email is advlearn@seattleschools.org

Phone is 206-252-0130

HIMS & Lincoln Mom

called a lot of providers said...

Re Jessica Greenson, her work focuses on very young (early preK) autistic kids. Not giftedness and school-age kids. (I am not suggesting autistic kids can't be gifted.) Greenson works at the UW autism center. I'd suggest getting a provider whose work focuses on school-age kids and hopefully gifted kinds, or at least who is working with such kids as a regular part of their practice, and has a lot of experience administering IQ and achievement tests to school-age and gifted populations. Gifted kids give such different answers and have such different strategies, it can take some experience to recognize their thought patterns. There's some degree of interpretation by the provider as the IQ tests go along. A provider who has a strong professional understanding of & experience with school-age gifted kids is important to getting the most out of the assessment. Nothing against Dr Greenson, I'd just question whether that background is the optimal fit for the job you need done.

called a lot of providers said...

meant to type "and hopefully gifted kids". Not "gifted kinds."

Anonymous said...

Since you raise the topic, I can add that Dr. Greenson does have a somewhat non-traditional approach that may or may not be producing reliable results; and hopefully that is not too obtuse.

Madrona dad

called a lot of providers said...

One more thing, I didn't talk to Dr Greenson herself, I talked to someone who answered the phone at the center. So Dr Greenson may very well have a broader practice/experience than that person was aware of.

Anonymous said...

Madrona dad:

Can you elaborate on what you mean by Dr. Greenson's "somewhat non-traditional approach?" Even though Dr. Greenson specializes in autism, it appears that she gives many tests for appeals this time of year and in the fall for private school assessments.

Thanks for any further information.

Signed, Has an appointment scheduled with Dr. Greenson

Anonymous said...

What I heard may just be a difference in doing the test at home and not an office. Good luck
M.D.

Anonymous said...

Madrona dad,
Could you please be more specific? Our family only has one shot at additional testing. While I realize there are no guarantees with any provider, I would like to avoid choosing one who may have unreliable methods.
--Uncertain

Anonymous said...

M.D.,
What did you hear, exactly? This is quite a bomb to drop when some of us are scheduled with that provider.

Anonymous said...

Can current HIMS APP parents take a moment to summarize pros and cons of the program as it will be next year.

Our current 5th grader is in a neighborhood school and has an APP designation.

I fell I understand our other options pretty well, but not APP.

I am disappointed that there are no daytime tours of the school, and the only open house is late in the season of decision-making, 2/28. It is difficult to ask a kid to leap into the unknown. I feel the principal really does not want to help kids or families make this decision, as a way to discourage enrollment and thus manage capacity.

Open to and appreciative of your thoughts

Spectrum vs APP? said...

We're thinking of enrolling our APP-qualified daughter in our neighborhood elementary Spectrum program instead. I know there is a lot of variability from Spectrum program to Spectrum program, but I'd love to have any input from families who have taken this path for their APP kids. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

It is Ok, I shouldn't have posted an obtuse comment; Dr Greenson tests at home which could impact results but who I talked to didn't detail anything more than that. If your child is OK at home they will do even better with Dr Greenson. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Spectrum vs APP,

Is your Spectrum school a strong one? Does it still have a contained Spectrum program? I keep hearing about the dismantling of Spectrum programs.

Curious too

Spectrum vs APP said...

Curious too - ours is Wedgwood, which next year will have self-contained for 4th & 5th only. At least that is the current plan, my understanding is that is subject to change. Each incoming class for the past few years has been blended. Our other option would be JA K-8 Spectrum, also blended w/walk-to math etc. I have heard positive reviews about both from parents, but not much detail.

Curiouser and Curiouser said...

Does anyone know exactly how APP ramps up in the first and second grades? What happens with qualified kids who aren't already surging ahead with reading? Also, I noticed someone asked about whether a certain Spectrum school was a "strong" one. Are there some Spectrum programs considered far better than others?
Which are considered the best? Thanks.

Curiouser and Curiouser

Anonymous said...

To Spectrum vs APP - one thing to consider in your decision is that you are guaranteed a spot in APP - but the Spectrum spots are only on a space available basis. So it might be worth checking with either the Enrollment office or the Spectrum school to find out if everyone who wanted to get into the Spectrum program was able to get in.

To the 11:27 post "Open and Curious for Your Thoughts" - our child is in 7th grade at Hamilton APP. She went to a neighborhood school for elementary. It seems like roughly half the kids in APP came from neighborhood or Spectrum programs and about half came from the APP elementary school.

Overall, our daughter has had a great experience at Hamilton. It has a very strong music program (both band and orchestra). She's had fun playing on the sports teams. And with one exception, we've really liked her 6th and 7th grade teachers. And it seems to be a really nice group of kids.

Lincoln & HIMS mom

Anonymous said...

Trying to keep this brief but it probably won't be...
1. This blog is a very useful and informative but too much information can cause more handwringing. I didn't know about this blog until after we made the switch to go from private to APP. I second guessed my decision all summer until he started school, even though I knew it was a no brainer the right choice for him academically. He's a relatively social kid so less of a concern for us on that front.
2. Go with your gut and what you know about your child. If your child is doing fine, I would ask why you are seeking to make the change?
3. Take a tour and look what the classrooms are doing. I think the work and watching the kids was what convinced me about our decision.
4. Even in APP, there's a range of ability. The range is narrower than Gen Ed but it still exists. For both my kids, it's the pace of learning and hopefully, depth of learning, that they benefit from. They also need to be with a like cohort.
5. And, I know this may come across wrong to some readers but folks need to choose APP for the right reasons. Getting into APP is not some prize or honor. There are plenty of high achieving, bright kids who don't need APP. You don't escape problems that affect SPS by being in APP. In fact, there may be more issues by being in APP. We have instability and uncertainty about our future and frankly, it feels like sometimes we're targeted for a variety of reasons. It feels like unnecessary drama. So go with your eyes open because if you can handle the drama and the baggage, and your kid needs or would benefit from being with a like cohort, I think APP is worth it - making the change, starting over, paying the money for an appeal, etc...

-Way more than 2 cents

Anonymous said...

@nw kindermom 12:25

I've emailed the district to confirm but it was my understanding that they used the spring 2012 MAP scores not the fall 2012. Fall 2012 and winter 2013 scores are acceptable for appeals though ( as per the district website). Unfortunately they still have conflicting information on their website, though the first statement seems more current.

"Fall and Winter 2012-13 MAP scores may be used to support an appeal."

And

"Only achievements tests that have been completed no earlier than March 2012 will be considered. (Because the 2012 Fall MAP was not available to all children in all Seattle Public Schools, we are unable to use 2012 Fall MAP scores for consideration of Advanced Learning eligibility and are unable to use them for appeals."

Also, our principal said they are not given the results of the Cogat. She encouraged parents to provide them.

Public/private parent

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any experience with appeals for kids that meet the IQ score requirements and have very advanced math ability but have reading scores below the threshold for APP (on math/reading achievement tests administered privately). Hate the thought of them languishing unchallenged in math in the ALO class (which in my experience is just extra worksheets) when they are capable of much more. Does anyone have any advice or similar experience with this sort of situation. Worth going ahead with appeal or do we just need to try again next year? Also wondering if folks have supplemented their kids math in this situation, and if so - how?

Appeal questions

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what the average 1st grade guided reading level is for APP at Lincoln? My son qualified for APP, but his math is a lot stronger than his reading. Thank you.

JB said...

@Appeal questions,
You can single subject homeschool, or find a private teacher for that single subject. That worked well for us when our student was not challenged in math. Agree, extra worksheets with no instruction is inadequate.

Anonymous said...

I emailed the AL office for clarification on appeal instructions and got this very helpful reply:

"Fall and Winter 2012-13 MAP scores can be used to support an appeal. The psychologist’s report may be photocopied and sent along with your appeal. If the psychologist is not on the list of pre-approved providers on our website, a copy of his/her state license should also be included. While both GAI and FSIQ scores should be reported, either one can be used to establish eligibility."

People at the AL office are pleasant and responsive, it's worth just calling or emailing to ask them your questions directly.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:48-

M-ish? N-ish? Maybe 2/3rds that 1/3rd s-t-u-v? My kid is up there, and I feel like they aren't doing as much for that zone (though there are lots of kids in the class there with him); I don't think the target to start is that high, more like Bailey School Kids level. I think it would be hard if they didn't come in reading easy chapter books, say, but I don't know, exactly. Parents aren't told everybody's reading levels, obviously! I'm just guessing based on just right reading choices and my child's reporting. So this is wild speculation. But it's not as high as I thought it would be. I really wanted to know, too, before we came- to see if my kid would fit in, make sure he wouldn't be out of his depth- so I'm trying to answer. But it would probably be better to ask teachers or the principal than trust a random parent on the internet with zero first hand knowledge.

I would not, however, send a kid who was not pretty strong in both (I don't mean equally strong, but well above grade level expectations in both), so if this sounds out of range, I'd wait. There is more work there than at a regular school. I don't think it is too much work- my kid likes to do it all, didn't like the slower pace at our old school- but it would be very stressful to keep up on top of catching up. I would wait until they caught up and then send them later, just supplementing the strong area to keep them interested.

Anonymous said...

Anon helping anon at 3:48, you are doing well with your guesses, :-), my son entered grade 1 liking Bailey School Kids a lot!

I think not every K kid that tests in is not necessarily already a whiz-bang reader; my son didn't take off with that until nearly the end of K.

Anonymous said...

There is more emphasis on reading comprehension vs simply being able to read. Just because they can read Harry Potter does not mean they understand beyond the surface of the story. I think the number of kids in first grade able to read above an R/S is fewer than 1/3. There are not as many books age appropriate at those levels as well so do you really want them reading inappropriate content?

Anonymous said...

So is it safe to say that you don't really need to submit anything but the tester's report if you have solid scores for an appeal? (i.e., 99 on both MAP tests and 99 on the WISC?) Do I even need to write anything beyond a basic cover letter with our names and signature?

Thanks!
Appealing

Anonymous said...

Well, since my kid is one of those readers, I'll say there are actually plenty of books above that level that I am able to find(his fall lexiles put him at a "W" according to some translator on the internet; I am brimming with reliable sources tonight), lots of classics, older books, Nesbit and Macdonald, Paddington is R at least I think. Not so much modern, though. I wish there was more in class to help him learn about literary conventions or narrative styles or foreshadowing, more discussion groups. It seems like there are several other kids who are the same zone as him for reading. I didn't get the sense at conferences he was an outlier, but I didn't ask. APP doesn't stretch up infinitely; I am sure the parents of the kid who is an amazing writer wish there were more for that kid to do to develop skills, but there is only one teacher and only so many hours in a day, and most of the kids are working on paragraph structure and good story telling sense(mine included) so that's where most of the energy goes. It's accelerated, but there is still a range, and the bulk of teaching energy necessarily focuses on the middle of the range.

I do agree that kids generally test in school lower by several levels than the things they will attempt outside of school. Reading level for academic work requires knowing almost every word on the page and getting the structure, far more than reading for pleasure.

helper from before

Anonymous said...

To Appealing @10:12,

For my kid's appeal last year, we did just that: mailed qualifying scores with a cover letter. No portfolio, no teacher letter. The appeal was successful.

- 1st grade APP parent

37 Questions said...

Wow, I just went to the school tour at Whittier to check out Spectrum (I know it's an APP forum but I have two kids going into 1st - 1 APP qualified and one Spectrum) - I left totally depressed. No specialized training for teachers? No acceleration except working one year ahead in math? Larger classes for Spectrum then gen ed? A principal whose goal appears to be intergrate ge and spectrum because, and I quote, "There is no special spectrum line in the grocery store....

Every time I have to deal with this school district I throw up in my mouth.

Is there any hope for my spectrum kid, who needs to be taught differently as well as accelerated?

Sunny said...

I wanted to share a bit about what I've learned about Jane Addams program from a discussion with a teacher last week. The teacher said that they don't really go by the test scores and instead go by how the children have performed over the year. Every year there are kids who perform at the APP level but were never tested and those kids are placed in the same way as the APP kids who chose to stay at JA.

Same with the Spectrum kids - if they perform at the Spectrum level they're placed in the same way regardless of their scores.

I was also told that they try to keep the APP kids together and some of the teachers there have taught APP, so they have the experience.

If you're considering it as an option, you should talk to the principal to get more info (instead of second hand from me). Especially if you're transferring and the teachers don't know your kid, it will probably take some conversations to get them placed well.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like Whittier's principal's main goal is to prepare children to stand in grocery lines. I think that tells you exactly what you need to know about the person running the school.

Better to know before you commit to the school, then find out.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, 1st grade parent!

Appealing

Anonymous said...

Hello,

I just toured Wittier this morning, as my daughter will qualify for Spectrum on appeal.

Because I'm uncertain about her appeal to APP until we see the results of the acedemic private testing test, I'm trying to see if we have any chance of getting her into a school that has dedicated classes for spectrum kids, AND is actually teaching at a higher level in all subjects, not just math. (Math is apparently the only distiction at Whittier Spectrum, per the principal this morning.)

(Our reference school has a "Spectrum" program, but it was changed to an "integrated" program a few years ago with "walk to reading/walk to math.")

For those in the know:

Is Whittier the only school left that has dedicated classrooms for Spectrum in the North End?

Are any of the spectrum classrooms actually teaching at an advanced level, or is it essentially the same as the general ed except for math?

I'm so terribly confused.

The principal this morning at Whittier pretty clearly expressed that she doesn't see much of a difference in the Spectrum classrooms compared to the other classes. ?????!!!

Further, there isn't enough spots for the number of kids who qualify even in the reference area! They only have one class per grade, and they already know that they will have more demand, just from the reference area than they can accomodate for 1st grade. And, THERE ARE NO SPOTS FOR KIDS IN THE LATER GRADES.

Seriously, what is the point of having a Spectrum program, if you don't offer enough classes to accomodate the number of students that qualify? OR, there is no actual differentiation in the education offered?

Am I seeing things, or is Spectrum being slowly dismantled in the district?

--???

37 Questions said...

Hi. ???

Glad I'm not the only one. I was at that tour too - the obnoxious one that looked like a bum and kept angrily interrupting her answers.

Anonymous said...

Whittier's principal is great by the way, and all kids at the school are challenged, not just the few who are lucky enough to get in for 1st Grade based on a test taken in Kindergarten. My kid has been wait listed two years in a row, but thankfully I feel he is still very much challenged at the school, and has a teacher who gives him appropriate work and homework, even without the Spectrum label. Self contained classrooms in neighborhood schools are simply not sustainable given the large number of kids who qualify each year. I would much prefer to see ALO at all schools, rather than the self contained model.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone go to the APP@Lincoln tour today? I would love to hear impressions from parents with early-grade kids! I can't make it until the last tour date but I'll be there and I'm excited about it!

also_anon said...

I have a child in spectrum at Whittier and one in APP at Hamilton. I feel Whittier well prepared my middle schooler to enter APP at sixth grade. Spectrum, by definition, is working a year ahead in math. The rest depends on the teacher. First, fourth and fifth grades at Whittier are great. Second and third so-so (in my opinion).

There are a lot of issues with self-contained spectrum...not enough spaces, feeling by some that gen ed is not as good, and on, and on. I have been pleased, however, with the quality of my child's education and in my opinion Whittier is a good school for all students.

By the way, the new principal (this is her first year) has done more positive things for Whittier in her first few months than the previous SEVEN years of lackluster leadership. She is smart, committed, and doing a really good job. She is also very direct - which I like - so I can imagine her grocery store comment right now.

Maybe in the future, find out a bit more before you denigrate a principal based on a half hour tour.

Anonymous said...

There is no special gifted training required for any AL teachers - APP or Spectrum.

Anonymous said...

RE: Anonymous at 2:09 PM

I liked the principal at Whittier, and got the sense that they do, in fact, try to teach to the upper levels for all kids.

But, I'm not sure I understand why, if there are many more who qualify for Spectrum, they don't create the classrooms to meet the need.

Testing in kindergarten is certainly wonky, for sure, but the studies all show that advanced learners don't continue to advance at the same pace when they are placed in cohorts with a lower range of ability.

I appreciate the value of inclusion, but ALO programs do not advance advanced learners at the same pace as when they are in dedicated classroom WITH appropriate instruction.

Why not err on the side of creating MORE spectrum classrooms and including those kids that have shown the capability even without the test scores, instead of keeping kids that do qualify in gen ed? This current strategy of waitlisting kids is akin to making a 2st grader stay in a 1st grade classroom and then giving them extra work to make up the difference.

It just doesn't make sense to me.

And, if testing in Kindergarten is not a reliable measure (which we know it isn't) then why even start the program then? Why not wait until 2nd grade (like Lake Washington School district) or 3rd grade like many other programs across the country?

I disagree that the answer is to turn all of the Spectrum programs into ALO programs. I say we place the bar higher, create more Spectrum classrooms, and allow appeals based on demonstrated ability, not just test scores. Include MORE kids in a higher level of learning and CALL IT ad higher level of learning, instead of the other way around...

Just my two cents.

37 Questions said...

Just to clarify, I did not degenerate the principal. I did give a quote of a poor analogy she used - other than that it was just more sps required answers. She seemed like a perfectly nice lady who cares a lot about the very nice school and community she interacts with.

Don't put words in my mouth. Just because I am frustrated and angry with a broken system does not mean I am "denigrating" anyone. I also say what I think.

If you are going to pop off, at least get your facts straight.

Anonymous said...

We left Seattle Public schools to private at 2nd grade due to need for more challenge and not wanting to bus to APP at Lowell. Considering a return to SPS for APP at Hamilton. I have concerns about the stability of the program as well as the choice to place International, General, and APP at Hamilton. Is it working to have them all together? Seems like a recipe for disaster with three programs in one school. Also would like input/thoughts on the quality of APP classes/teachers at Hamilton.

Returning to SPS?

Anonymous said...

With capacity issues, the future of APP at Hamilton is a real unknown.

Band and orchestra have strong teachers. For APP specific classes, there have been ups and downs. Read through the old threads and you'll get an idea of some of the issues.

NW Kindermom said...

Anon at 3:43pm wrote: Did anyone go to the APP@Lincoln tour today? I would love to hear impressions from parents with early-grade kids! I can't make it until the last tour date but I'll be there and I'm excited about it!

I went on Thursday walked away feeling very confident with the program. Some of the teachers embraced the parent-tour interruptions and addressed us before the class (I'm always thrilled to see the teachers acknowledge the chaos), and often, the classrooms were quiet, focused, and felt like a welcoming learning environment. I was warned about the building being old and not suitable for the younger grades, but I didn't feel that negatively about it and actually liked it.

Air said...

Wanted to post an update for anyone going through this process.

I posted last week about how our kindergartner, who, despite every other possible sign out there of being right for APP (including 99th percentile MAP scores), got very unexpected CoGat scores of 73, 69, 73 from SPS. After a lot of worry and scrounging up of money for the excessive psychologist fees, he finally took a private test today and got a 99.6% percentile and 136 IQ.

We are obviously ecstatic and it confirms our worries with the SPS testing process: repeatedly bumbled scheduling, very subpar examiner, and group setting? Not that everyone had the same problems.. but yeah.. no thanks.

Onwards with the appeal!
Not there yet, but there is hope! =D

37 Questions said...

NWkindermom - that is great to hear! I can't wait to visit. Your post makes me feel a lot more positive about my visit. Thank you for posting your experience.

Anonymous said...

Air,

Good for you! Now you get in to be in APP at SPS...good for you!? The AL testing experience is just the beginning of all the bungling.

-Ted

Anonymous said...

In response to the parents wondering how their child's reading level will fit with the APP program - I wouldn't worry at all about reading level. The kids will be doing Reader's Workshop where each kid picks books at his/her own level. I would worry way more about math where everyone is doing the same material. At TM the kids now immediately jump two full years ahead in math, plus the TM math books are more rigorous than Everyday Math so the jump is maybe more like 2.5 years. For a lot of kids that is perfect, but some kids end up struggling.

Math Mom

juicygoofy said...

to 37 questions,

I have an APP qualified child at Whittier, enrolled in Spectrum. Although the new principal will say that the only difference between Spectrum and general ed is the math level, that is the district definition. By grouping the accelerated children together, the classes, as a cohort are able to work faster and deeper in other areas. The Spectrum teachers, all who have been in their positions for many years, are great at handling gifted children (although some are better than others.)

My feeling is that our principal is doing her best to represent the district's definitions and not alienate general ed families, as there is often a perception of inequity from the outside. This is mainly because of the wait list for reference area students, which is entirely the district's doing.

The district assigns 1st grade Spectrum enrollment by lottery including students from other schools (with ALO) with equal weighting. Actually, students with siblings already at Whittier (even if out of reference) get priority. By the nature of these assignments, the class fills up at 1st grade, and any Whittier reference area students who qualify in later grades get wait listed.

It's mixed up and unfortunate, especially since Whittier does not have a formal ALO program. It would work best if we had BOTH Spectrum and ALO...or equal access to Spectrum. But for now, our principal is doing her best to provide equal opportunities for advanced students who don't have access to Spectrum as per the district....thus her down-playing the positives of Spectrum.

By the way, a large group of Whittier 5th grade Spectrum graduates have typically done on to Hamilton APP...which is why we like to keep up with this blog.

hschinske said...

If they're really two full years ahead in elementary math, that's new. Used to be there was only one point (somewhere in fourth grade) where APP was really a full two years ahead, and then for inexplicable-to-me reasons they slowed down and did sixth-grade math over the course of two years in fourth and fifth grade.

I would worry about the reading a little, depending, because you have to read to do everything else -- in APP they're supposed to jump right into reading-to-learn in first grade. But that's a third-grade level, which is probably lower than you think.

Helen Schinske

37 Questions said...

Juicygoofy,

Thanks for your reply. She seemd nice, and your post helped me see that what she said was the district's rules for what she could say. Sounds like things ar e different once you are there. I think the waitlisting of kids in the reference area is lame. SSD policy a its best, once again. I feel much better about the school after reading your post.

Anyone have a kid that has cog test scores that are very, very high, but that only makes the cut on math and not on reading? Were you able to appeal successfully or not?

TM Cap Hill parent said...

We have a 2nd and 5th grader in APP at Thurgood Marshall and we are very happy with the school and program. Clearly there are tradeoffs, however. Some thoughts in response to posters:

- Many people aren't sure whether to move their children to APP when they are happy with their current school. I'd recommend trying to visit an APP classroom to see the environment and peer group up close. Then decide if it's worth making the switch.
- We do not find APP to be a competitive environment for children. Instead, the excellent teachers, richer curriculum in writing and science, and especially the peer group are very motivating for our kids to stretch.
- I can't say enough about that last element - the peer group. It's pretty neat to go to a 2nd or 5th grade classroom "writing celebration" when the kids are reading and writing comments about each other's work, with jazz music playing in the background. These kids love school and generally behave well - a fab environment to teach in.
- APP is a wonderful community, but it doesn't have the same community vibe as a neighborhood elementary school because the kids live in a wider geographic area. Decide how important that is to you.
- Re: switching from private school, we did this for 3rd grade, and I think it's tougher for parents to make the switch than kids. Public schools just aren't as cozy and parent-oriented as private schools. But did I mention the APP peer group, teachers and curriculum?
- Class sizes vary in APP from year to year, depending on # of new entrants. Daughter's class had 30 in 4th grade and now has 22 in 5th grade. We do not believe this has affected the quality of their education because the kids generally behave well.
- For private testing, we used Dr. Fred Provenzano, who is a nice guy and well respected. It's not cheap, but it's a phenomenal investment compared to private school tuition.
- As a friend told me about private testing, "There's no guarantee you'll get APP scores, but it will show what your child can do on their best day."

TM Cap Hill parent

Anonymous said...

Helen - Yes, at Thurgood Marshall this year all APP classes are really two full years ahead in math, and this is new. I agree with the previous poster that the new Envision math curriculum is a step up from both everyday math and CMP. The combination of truly working two full years ahead combined with a rigorous curriculum means that The APP math at Thurgood Marshall is very different from ALO or Spectrum math. Parents & teachers seem to think it is a big improvement, and kids at Thurgood seem to be making big strides in math.
- Loving the math at TM this year

Anonymous said...

APP@Lincoln is not the same as APP@TM, nor is APP@Hamilton the same as APP@Washington. In some cases they are using different books (in elementary math and in middle school LA/SS) and it's unclear why they are not evolving together. The divergence seems to be increasing every year.

I don't hear many complaints about APP from either TM or Washington, yet HIMS has had a number of negative posts. Is it a function of who posts, or are things generally more stable at TM and Washington?

Also, with the math curriculum at TM being stronger, will more students qualify for Algebra 1 in 6th grade? Will they compare outcomes between sites?

Anon said...

Glad to see some comments finally about TM. I will likely move my K and 2nd graders (both qualified this year) to TM. We'll be leaving a very warm, lovely, welcoming neighborhood school and I understand TM doesn't quite have that vibe. However, I'd like to see my children challenged academically over the years, and surrounded by a strong cohort of students at a similar level. Curious about a couple of things: general experiences at TM, and how other parents have chosen to discuss the school change with their children. My 2nd grader, I think, may be particularly resistant to leaving her friends for a new program.

Anonymous said...

To the mom who posted about making an appt with Dr. Greenson this weekend, I'd love to hear your feedback about her. We you happy with her? Did she provide a useful written report, etc.?

We are considering making an appointment with her as well. Thankyou so much for sharing.

Anonymous said...

RE: TM.I have a second grader this year and we came from a really cozy neighborhood school where she was really happy. TM does not have that vibe, but lots of families are friendly with each other and lots of people seem very involved (we live far away, so we aren't as in the loop as we'd like). They have plenty of whole-school events, and they had grade-level pot lucks at the beginning of the year to help people get acquainted. My daughter wanted absolutely nothing to do with changing schools, and only changed her mind after we sat in on a class and she saw how engaging the work would be and how nice the kids were. She didn't want to leave her friends, but she's made more, and in many cases deeper, friendships in APP because they have so much in common. The teachers try to smooth the social transition at the beginning of the year, but it is rough for some of the kids who don't know their classmates yet, because lots of the kids are obviously already close. When we made the decision, we told her it was because it was important for her to be challenged throughout her school career, and we felt like this was the best way to do it. Although she did get on board before we filled out the papers, I did have to tell her that we were going to make the decision that we really thought was the best for her long-term well-being, even if she didn't agree. Since you have a second grader she'd likely be with many of the kids from my daughter's class (plus a whole bunch more), and they really are a wonderful bunch of kids, including tons of great girls.
--good luck

Anonymous said...

Glad to see some TM comments here! We are considering whether to keep our son at Hawthorne to begin Spectrum next year (1st grade) or to make the move to TM. We're excited about 1st grade Spectrum at Hawthorne but we wonder if the upper grades have the same creative approach and quality instruction. We are leaning toward staying in our current school (very excited about STEAM, not to mention diversity and the bonus of a neighborhood school), but are holding off finalizing our decision until we learn more about both programs.

Does anyone have insights to share on Hawthorne Spectrum v. TM, or the transition from Spectrum to APP at Washington for middle school? I believe Hawthorne is using Everyday Math all the way through, but not sure about Washington.

Anonymous said...

I can also confirm that all TM classes are working 2 years ahead in math, including the first graders. It was bumpy at the start of the year as everyone tried to figure out how to make it viable for 1st graders to tackle the 3rd grade envision math book since most students didn't have the reading comprehension skills to understand the story problems. Adjustments have been made and now things are going well, but is a big step up to go from kindergarten everyday math to grade 3 envision math. I'm sure it will be better next year. We couldn't be happier that everyday math is gone, regardless of the initial growing pains. Now we just need a better middle school math curriculum....

Anonymous said...

Question about private testing results: Does the district just consider the full-scale score on the WPPSI-IV, or is the threshold 98% on two of the three domains, similar to the CoGat?
Thanks for any insight

Anonymous said...

You should email Advanced Learning and ask. Last year my 2nd grader had a qualifying GAI but not FSIQ and we were denied, but this year someone posted that they will take either score. Her Cogat qualified this year, but I'd still be interested in the answer if you get one. Good luck.

Wondering said...

My kindergarten daughter qualifies for Spectrum. After much debate about throwing her name into the lottery for Whittier Spectrum, we decided to keep her at our neighborhood school next year in the ALO program.

If we are still interested in Lincoln APP for elementary and beyond, should we test her again next year? Do we risk losing her Academically Gifted (Spectrum) label if we test her next year for APP and, if for some reason, she fails to make the Spectrum cut?

Also, I'd love to start opting her out of the MAP testing, but it looks like I need to continue with the MAP because the Advanced Learning department relies on it as a screening tool and for achievement scores. She's scoring in the 99th percentiles on all her MAP tests.

Signed, Wondering

juicygoofy said...

For Wondering,
Currently you will NOT lose your Spectrum classification if you test for APP. We were told that by Bob Vaughan during an Advanced Placement informational meeting at Whittier last year. But, if you test again in the future, check with the office of advanced learning (just in case.) Also, if your daughter qualified for Spectrum with the CoGat, you might find higher results with private testing.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have a recommendation for a private tester that may still have appointment times available before the appeal deadline? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Last year, we used Dr. Steven Katz phone # 425-688-7675. He's on the Seattle School list of approved evaluators (or at least he was last year). When I was in this situation last year, I looked for people on the Seattle School list who had eastside offices with the idea that they might have more availability. And as it turned out, Dr. Katz had both a Bellevue and a Seattle office.

And this is probably obvious, but you'll want to make sure they have time to both conduct the evaluation AND write up the results before the appeals deadline.



Lincoln Mom

Anonymous said...

Dr. Honora Hanley was recommended to us but we have not used her.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone not met the APP threshold with private testing? Part of me wonders if it's gaming the system. We paid for private testing, and I admit I feel conflicted about it. (Our child passed.)

juicygoofy said...

If children haven't met the APP private testing threshold, they are probably not reading this blog...

Anonymous said...

darn, our child did not pass at the private testing. he was very close though. if this makes you feel better. who was your tester? i did feel that my money was wasted :(

Anonymous said...

ouch it hurts! reading the comment from juicygoofy.

Anonymous said...

It's not really "passing." Like one would think of pass/fail. You are paying for a true representation of your child's strengths and weaknesses and hopefully most if not all of the testers are going to give you that rather than simply giving a score to please parents.

TM mom

Anonymous said...

My daughter did not pass the private testing neither. I actually did not feel bad about it. She is only five, what can you do? She didn't even understand what the test was. Until she is ready for it, APP is not the right choice for her now.

NW Kindermom said...

I actually did not feel bad about it. She is only five, what can you do? ...Until she is ready for it, APP is not the right choice for her now.

Gold star and a parenting award to you, Anon@9:17pm. Wise and well-said...

Anonymous said...

Our kid did private testing and scored really highly in cognitive test and math but didn't meet the threshold in reading. Seems fair and in keeping with what we expected (though we were hoping for better!)
You do get the impression everyones kid gets great scores from reading the blog, but there aren't all that many of us posting here, and remember, there is 'selection bias' going on. A relatively small subset of Seattle kids are getting private testing and most parents signing up for it are probably fairly confident that their kids are at or close to the level required or they wouldn't bother paying so much for it. Therefore, the numbers of kids testing high is going to be greater than if a similar sized subset of local kids was picked for testing totally at random. Simply having the type of parents who seek out private testing (and have the financial means to do so) may increase the likelihood that kids have higher than average scores based on socioeconomic factors, educational levels etc.

Stats

Anonymous said...

Oh, and it's not about passing or failing. It's just about meeting certain arbitrary eligibility criteria for a program. Nobody should think their kid's a failure for scoring in the 80% percentile on something (even if they didn't make the spectrum/APP threshold)!
Though it's encouraging to make the cut for one of these programs, we shouldn't get too hung up with the scores and forget the kid.

Stats

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to share this with other parents who might wonder if you can cherry-pick MAP scores in an appeal. The answer is yes, according to the Advanced Learning Office: "scores from any MAP tests from Spring 2012 forward can be used to satisfy the achievement requirements."

I'd asked if I could use her 98 in Reading for Winter 2012-13 and a 99 on Math in Fall 2012-13. Her class hasn't taken the Math portion yet and I don't know how soon results will be available.

2E said...

We've done private testing twice, and not quite made the APP cut-off either time. We did use the 2nd set of private scores for Spectrum status and ALO placement. My child is twice exceptional, and has test scores all over the place, though the private tests are more consistent than the CogAt and MAP. I do expect that she'll test in eventually, but probably not until middle school. Twice exceptional kids make up a big chunk of what used to be called "late bloomers."

I think a lot of parents don't want to talk about their kids not making the cutoff in private testing. The kids may not want to talk about it either. 2E kids often have a lot of shame, embarrassment, and anxiety issues about test performance.

Private testing got us into Spectrum/ALO said...

We were another who didn't make the APP cut in private testing. We are very happy to enroll our child in her neighborhood school's ALO program. However, we will test her for APP again next year if she continues to get all 99s on the MAP.

My hope is to move her into APP sometime in elementary school. I'd then say good riddance to the MAP and opt her out from there on out!

weighing options said...

Not sure if this has been covered already or not, but does anyone know of families who have been in APP and decided to leave? If the program was not the right fit for their kid, what did they do- go back to the neighborhood school, private school, home school, etc.? In what way was the program not the right fit?

Anonymous said...

I have seen several questions here about kids who are scoring high on cognitive and math, but a bit lower on reading, and whether it is worth appealing. My child is in this category and I was not going to submit an appeal, as I figured it was pointless, but if others have had success, I would love to know.

My daughter's GAI was 148 (99.9th percentile), full scale was 137 (99th percentile), and her MAP scores in math have been 99th percentile every time she has taken the test (and she is currently in 4th grade). Her reading MAP scores have historically been 98th or 99th percentile - as recently as winter 2012-, but more recently have dropped to 87th. Private reading test put her at 91st (not high enough for APP).

Based on my daughter's IQ and history of high reading scores, the psychologist was of the opinion that my daughter is not being challenged to grow in her reading skills in her current program and needs reading enrichment outside of school. I feel like my child would thrive in an APP environment, but she obviously does not have the reading score right now.

Is anyone in a similar boat? Anyone aware of a successful appeal in these circumstances?

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Boy, in light of her other scores, if her reading MAP was 98 as recently as winter 2012, I would definitely appeal. They would have to be pretty cold-hearted to deny you.

Anonymous said...

Private testing...if your daughter is a near-miss in private testing but you have a neighborhood school with an ALO thats worth "happily enrolling in," I'd say you're pretty lucky!

Private testing got us into Spectrum/ALO said...

2:41 said "Private testing...if your daughter is a near-miss in private testing but you have a neighborhood school with an ALO thats worth "happily enrolling in," I'd say you're pretty lucky!"

I'm happy to try the ALO program. I expect that it won't be perfect and will take some advocacy on my part. But, from reading this blog, it seems like APP parents also deal with solutions that aren't perfect.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

We had our daughter privately tested and her FSIQ is 98 with a GAI of 99. Her MAP scores are 99 for math and 95 for reading. From your collective experience, has anyone had a profile like this and not been successful appealing for APP? I am not sure what to expect.

Thanks,

SE mom

Anonymous said...

anonymous, you may as well appeal. The worst they can do is say no. Since you've already done the private testing, the only cost to the appeal is the time it takes you to write the letter. In this case, I think I might not mention the private reading score, and instead mention the 98 from last year.

Anonymous said...

I would say opposite. I'd include the private reading score. If you don't, they may simply reject your appeal because you didn't follow the rules and submitted a score from before Mar 2012. With the private test, plus the historical MAP data, they are confronted with the reality of a highly capable child not being served in her current program, and they can't in good conscience say that what's set up as ALO and/or Spectrum is going to be able to meet her needs. I'd include the tester's report. It's not like 91 is miles away from a qualifying score. Hope it works out for you.

Anonymous said...

SE Mom - my understanding is that if your child has the private scores, the appeal will be successful. (Assuming it's filed on time, tester's report included, etc.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks to those who weighed in on my issue (high cognitive and math; reading scores that have dropped). I really appreciate hearing the different views on appealing and whether to include private reading test. I was not even planning to send in an appeal, but now I will. It can't hurt. I just feel like she's pretty far off the mark with recent reading scores even though she had 6 straight scores of 98/99 before the drop. It's a bit frustrating.

Thanks again! You're a thoughtful group.

Anonymous said...

Are kids happy at Lincoln? I toured, and honestly kids in general seemed a little ... down. Compared to other elementary environments. I'm wondering about how the basic kid stuff is affecting things - no playground, what to do at recess, a building built for big people, inhospitable lunchroom setup... I would like to choose APP for academic reasons and a peer group, but the words of a friend (a teacher & dad) who toured last year are ringing in my ears, "never seen so many sad elementary kids in one school." Any APP Lincoln parents out there who can give some perspective on this? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

My first grader is happy there- happier than at his old elementary, which was small and had a huge playground. He's a pretty happy go lucky guy, though. He likes the playground and the lunchroom and thinks the building is old and neat. So do I, but I am in the minority.

I do think some of the kids seem more stressed out. Though I would say that is more likely their natural personality (more intense/vocal about academic issues, which would make them more likely to have been moved in the first place. People don't move happy kids as often as they move unhappy kids. But the kid isn't always unhappy because of just school.), I know some people might disagree. There do seem to be kids who are unhappy because they have to do a lot more than they did at their old schools. Not many.

I think you can tell a lot from a vibe, though, and if it didn't seem like the kind of place your child would be happy next year, don't go. you are probably right. Lots of kids are happy there, but not every kid who qualifies is or would be. We waited for one of our children until 4th grade, and I am so glad. I toured when she was in kindergarten and really didn't like it, and I was right, it wouldn't have been a good fit then. But it was later. The peer group will still be there later, and you can supplement for a little while.

Anonymous said...

Our child's demeanor changed once the program moved to Lincoln. At Lowell there was a big grassy play area with room to run, which my child really needed every day. It made a big difference in mood to go from that to the small asphalt play area in the shade of the big Lincoln building. Recess was the favorite part of my child's day until they moved to Lincoln.

In addition, there are many new to the program teachers and fewer familiar faces. It's frankly not the same program we toured before enrolling our child years ago.

I'm sure others will chime in and say how great it is for their child, but there are those for whom the program isn't quite what they expected. Even so, it may be a better alternative than where your child is now. It's hard to know based on a one hour visit isn't it?

wavering said...

I'm really wavering between Spectrum at Whittier and ALO at our neighborhood school for our kindergartener. Spectrum spots go so quickly so we'll have to do it now or not at all. I'd love to get some perspectives and recommendations from others.

Anonymous said...

I'm also glad we made the switch from our neighborhood school to Lincoln. My kid has had an easier time finding kids that he clicks with. I certainly wouldn't say that Lincoln is full of sad kids. My kid's biggest complaint was that lunchtime was too short - which was his exact same complaint about his neighborhood school.

Wavering - ALO programs are so different from one school to the next, that it's difficult to respond. Is your child happy, engaged and challenged where he is? Are you happy with the school?

We kept our oldest APP-qualified kid at her ALO school and it worked out well - but again it all depends on the specifics of your situation.

Mom of two

juicygoofy said...

To wavering,

We are in Whittier Spectrum and very happy with it...although nothing is perfect. I have the perception that Spectrum families are generally happier than ALO, but only because there are a handful of children at Whittier who left their ALO programs dissatisfied. I don't know about ALO families who have stayed in your neighborhood school, so I suggest you find some to question!

But about Whittier,

Pros: Rigorous curriculum, especially 1st grade. Similar peer group. Great PE program. Beautiful facility. Huge library with a full-time librarian. Lots of before and after school activity choices. Regular art classes. Guaranteed placement in middle school Spectrum.

Cons: Maximum class size in Spectrum (26 or more). Everyday Math curriculum (boo). Possibility that the Spectrum program could be changed. No language program (except before school for a fee). No "green" play area. Homogeneous demographics.

Hope that helps.



Anonymous said...

Question about appeals: it's all about the scores, right? I mean, do they want more global points about the child or is it all about the scores?

Our situation: my child met the CogAt scores, but his MAP scores from last spring were a little lower than usual (both 93rd percentile). He has since taken the winter MAP and gotten 97th in reading and 99th in math. We also had him privately tested and he got 99.9 math and 97 in reading. Do we need to make any big arguments, too, about his fit for APP or is it enough that he got the scores (and we turn them in with the report)? Thanks.
Scores

Anonymous said...

Greg - I saw the separate thread for high school application considerations. Can we have separate threads for middle school and elementary APP applicationss, pls? thx.

Anonymous said...

Scores, like others have said, the scores will do it. That is how it has gone in the past.

I'll admit I think it's silly that they will cherry pick MAP scores. There are three sets of scores available for this round of admissions and it is too easy to get "lucky" especially in the young grades.

Anonymous said...

Are MAP scores important in a program for the highly gifted? Isn't the cognitive testing what is key?

NE mom said...

Seattle's program is mostly about acceleration. The district uses the scores on achievement tests to gauge a student's suitability to an acceleration format.

It used to be less pure acceleration. There used to be more depth and exploration, more project work. Even just five years ago it was more that way, let alone 15 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Thank you to NE Mom.

What are the options if your child seems to need depth, exploration and less repetition, but not a massive workload? It's my impression that gifted programs should be about providing the appropriate materials to keep kids interested, not about more work.

How do APP parents of younger kids feel about the workload?

Anonymous said...

The APP workload is not supposed to be heavier than other elementary schools. The material is just covered at a faster pace with less review since the kids need less time for review. Kids in APP elementary schools are given a developmentally age-appropriate amount of homework. It changes in middle school, when APP kids start to have high-school level work and heavier homework burdens relatively earlier. Some families have struggled with the middle school homework load. At the high school level, APP effectively goes away and is replaced by AP classes or IB classes for all kids who choose to enroll in these rigorous classes (APP or not). These classes come with a heavy work load. That is true whether you are an AP kid at Garfield, or taking an AP or IB class elsewhere.
-- APP mom

So many questions said...

I'd like to know more about the APP Lincoln principal. No wish to be negative, I'd just like to get a better feel. If I remember correctly, she was officially rebuked on an ethics concern. It seemed to fade away more than get fully resolved. Then at a mtg I sat next to two APP parents who were expressing concern that the principal lacks standing among other principals and the administration, and has not turned out to be a skilled advocate for APP Lincoln at JSCEE, and that all this has had a negative effect on APP Lincoln. I guess I'm wondering, do Lincoln parents have confidence in her, or are they crossing their fingers and hoping for the best. And, there seem to be a lot of junior teachers there, nothing wrong with that in itself just that sometimes that's an indicator that experienced teachers are steering clear. It's so hard to tell much from the outside. As a previous poster said, it's difficult to discern much from a 1-hr visit.

Anonymous said...

it is interesting having moved my son to lincoln two years ago. liked our neighborhood school but just thought we should give this a try. this school is a better place for my son. to me it is the similarly abled kids and a higher expectation for them. love the teachers. think the principal does a fine job. it has been interesting to me how removed we are as a family from what is going on at the school due to distance. don't mind it but do not feel as inbedded with all that is going on, academicaly and dramaticly......kind of like it. good fit for billy.

-better fit for my son but still sps

Anonymous said...

I wondered if anyone has had a successful appeal for APP with a 96 on the WISC? Would the psychologist report hold any weight in this case, or would the child be ruled out on scores alone? MAP scores were 98 and 99. This would be for 2nd grade, and at Lincoln they have only 2 1st grade classes this year, if that matters.

Thanks for any guidance.

--Worth appealing?

Anonymous said...

Is your 96 from the FSIQ or the GAI? If GAI is higher (98+), you may have successful appeal.

I feel for those in these situations as it is hard to find a challenge for your child.

Lincoln parent

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know a good person to talk to at APP@Lincoln about concerns about an incoming child's reading level? We need more specific curriculum information than we can get from a tour.

Befuddled for now

Anonymous said...

Years ago, parents expressed their wish to improve the math curriculum for APP@Lincoln. They were told they couldn't do anything different than TM because the programs would then be different. Meanwhile, TM pushed forward a different math curriculum that is in use this year. They are effectively working ahead of students at APP@Lincoln. So, APP@Lincoln and APP@TM are different anyway. Which administrator do you think is a better advocate for their students?

Anonymous said...

Some families have struggled with the middle school homework load.

If I had wanted my child to be in high school, taking on the workload of a high school student, I would have radically grade skipped my child. Instead, I went with the promise of APP that the work would be age appropriate, while providing more challenge. There are a few teachers in middle school that give an excessive amount of HW and it does not in my mind add to their depth of knowledge. Be forewarned that some teachers think APP is about more work, not more challenging work.

Lori said...

This is our third year in APP (Lowell now Lincoln). It is the current principal's 2nd year as principal. To the person who asked earlier for opinions, if you went on any Lincoln's tours, I think there was supposed to be a list of parents you can contact with questions, which might give you better answers than you'll get from anonymous posters on a blog.

Our family has been happy with the program. It's the right fit for our child, she has friends, she's appropriately challenged, she doesn't have too much homework, she's had three successive years of very good teachers, most of whom have been relatively new to APP and have brought enormous energy and enthusiasm to the program.

The principal has done a great job hiring new staff and doing the hard work of rebuilding after the first split with TM and then the Lowell eviction. The staff seems to work well together and they are motivated to work with this group of learners. The principal has made professional development, both in gifted ed and math education, a priority. This is important because the district does not provide any real PD in gifted ed for APP teachers.

And, the focus on math PD is part of a thoughtful, serious effort to identify the most appropriate curriculum for our kids. This past year, multiple teachers have been piloting a variety of different materials, including Envision (used at TM) and Singapore and rigorously assessing how well (or poorly) they work for our school. The teachers are not forced to use only EDM and CMP, and I have found they are truly interested in making sure the kids master topics rather than just spiral around topics like the district curriculum would have you do.

We spent 2 years at our neighborhood school, where my child's early interest in math and numbers was basically killed with EDM and the slow pace. She hated math and we could barely get her to do her homework. This year, however, she loves it, even telling me that doing long-division (not recess!) is the best part of the school day. I have been so impressed with her math teacher this year, and to hear a kid say something like this, well, something must be going well in the classroom!

Lastly, Lincoln is also focusing on project-based learning, which I've heard is how it used to be at Lowell many years ago. There is PD going on in this area as well, and my child has enjoyed the projects they've done.

I feel like north end elementary APP has been thru a lot of challenges the last few years, some of which damaged the program. But, I just see the program getting stronger and stronger each year. A few months ago, another parent even quipped to me that she wished her child was younger and just entering APP now because there are so many great teachers and great things happening that we will miss out on with only 1 more year in the program!

Anonymous said...

Hi all!

We just got back from private testing and my daughter's scores hit the mark: 99 IQ and 95 reading and 99 math. AND, she is a June birthday, so the age normed scores are even higher.

So, should I spend time trying to get a letter from her teacher or anything else, or are the scores all i need?

Has anyone lost an appeal by just submitting scores and NOT submitting any additional documentation? I want to make this as simple as possible, so if I don't really need to track down any additionaly stuff, I would be VERY happy.

THANKS!!! (SHE hit the mark!!!)

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know whether the AL office typically sends an e-receipt or other notification that they received the appeal? Also does notification of the appeal results usually come during or after open enrollment? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

To those of you with children that have IEP at Lincoln: I've just learned that the Resource teacher is part time and there isn't an aide. My kindergartner has an IEP and is well supported at Whittier. Do you feel that your children have enough support and time with the Resource teacher? Do you feel the teachers work well with the Resource teacher? Does she spend time in the classrooms? Has that role always been part time?

Thanks!
Jennifer

Anonymous said...

Do the majority of the kids in APP get in via private testing appeals? Curious to know the percentage of kids who pass the CogAT. My K daughter scored 98 and 99 on W MAP testing; 99.7 GAI & 99 FSIQ on WISC; and 68 & 73 on CogAT. Other than the group testing environment, how is the CogAT different from the WISC?

weighing options said...

I just submitted our appeal, but noticed on the appeal website that the scores needed for the cognitive testing include the FSIQ and the GAI. Our private testing was the WPPSI-III and the report did not include a GAI number. We ended up with a verbal IQ at 99.9%, a performance IQ at 94% and a full scale IQ at 99%. I'm not sure what to make of the GAI- I found that it means 'General Abilities Index', but don't see how it relates to the WPPSI-III test. I did find some websites that showed how to derive it from the WISC-IV test scores, but not the WPPSI-III. Anyone have any ideas? If we only have the FSIQ number and no GAI, are we likely to be denied? MAP tests are verbal 99% and math 98%. I'm a little worried that the 94% performance score will stand in the way.

Anonymous said...

weighing options, you are very likely to be more than fine. The GAI can be calculated for the WPPSI by removing the processing speed index from the calculation of the FSIQ. In the case of some gifted kids, processing speed can be way out of line with the rest of their IQ scores (due to perfectionism, meticulousness etc). If processing speed is not significantly different from the verbal and performance measures, there is no reason to remove it, and FSIQ is the best measure. You don't have to worry about the performance number. You're fine!!

Mom of 2 in APP

Anonymous said...

Anecdotally, I have heard many times over the years that the CoGat is fine for most applications but can be a very poor test for the highly gifted.

Samantha Moscheck said...

My K daughter had already been privately tested a year ago, and had scored 99.8 full scale, 99.9 GAI (which is simply a calculation that excludes the processing score because it has been shown that the processing quotient is not accurate for primary age kids). So I already knew her scores.

She scored in the 77th percentile on the CoGat test. I was appalled. I think it is very safe to say that parents should not be trusting the results of that test. I mean, how it is possible to have such a huge differentiation? I am assuming that I can take the results of the 3 hour long private psychologist-administered test over the group format 1 hour test.

Also, the proctor for her test did not even bother to walk to children back to their parents or even step into the lunch room with them at the end of the test. She was out the door and gone before any of us could try to catch up to her to ask if our kids were finished (and how Kindergardeners in a non-timed test could be finished half an hour from the start time when we were told it would be at least an hour before we needed to return to the school to wait for them?)

Does anybody know what the current situation is with Lincoln and Wilson Pacific?

weighing options said...

Thank you, Mom of 2 in APP. His processing score is in fact much lower than the other scores, which sounds like a common phenomenon. So, will SPS calculate the GAI from the WPPSI results, or is it not necessary given the FSIQ meets the threshold?

Anonymous said...

I don't know about now, but I know that 2 years ago the vast majority of kids got in straight, not appeal. This blog has a lot more people talking about appealing for obvious reasons. Appeals are a lot of hassle, time, and money, and mostly neighborhood elementary programs around here are excellent. People don't usually move mountains to get out of them unless something really isn't working.

My two kids got in straight, and I can't see a qualitative difference between them and the kids I know who got in on appeal. I have heard that the CoGAT is better for visual spatial, low attention span kids (often boys), and in the younger grades often selects more for old for grade kids. The WISC has more vocabulary, requires longer attention, etc. My oldest took it when she was 5 for private schools, and it did seem more thorough, but also more likely to be biased toward kids from upper middle class households(I think the test changes as they get older). But then the CoGAT really seemed to prize visual spatial skills, which isn't great either, and is a pretty narrow band of kids who need a program like this. None of these are perfect. I do know that the two tests are more similar/get more similar results as the kids get older, so it's easier to trust a CoGAT result for a third grader than a kindergartner (but that is true for every test).

Anonymous said...

The FSIQ will be adequate, weighing. But since you've paid a lot to your tester (!), if they are reachable by phone you could have them include the GAI (which would be 99 point something, it sounds like) in the report for you. SPS won't do any calculating of that.

Anonymous said...

How do you know that about 2 years ago, anon at 2:56? Is that anecdotal?

Anonymous said...

At 5 years your child would have taken the WPPSI, which does select more for kids from upper class households because it tests acquired knowledge (Information). The WISC does not have Information as a standard subtest.

Mom of 2

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