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Old 06-08-2012, 02:31 AM
 
Location: central Oregon
1,703 posts, read 974,822 times
Reputation: 1899
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momma_bear View Post
I have said this before but it bears repeating: School is a marathon, not a sprint. The leaders in K are not necessarily the leaders when the kids graduate from HS. It is important that your child does well in K because K lays the foundation for later learning. However, being the top student in K does not have anything to do with being the top student in HS, which is when student compete for university admission.

My oldest son did not read when he entered K. He did not begin reading until Thanksgiving of 1st grade. However, he graduated HS in the top 5% of his class. He received an academic scholarship to a top 50 university. Many of the so called top students in his first grade class did not get accepted to our state flagship. Nobody cared that they were the top reader in 1st grade. It made absolutely no difference. When the school work gets to the point that parents cannot do it for the kids the truly exceptional kids separate themselves from the crowd. You cannot "get a jump" on that process.

I understand your need to know how your child is doing. However, I would worry more about your child doing well compared to what he is expected to do in 1st grade rather than how he is doing compared to other students.

Remember that university admission is the goal, not 1st grade.
I am going to share my story to show the contrast:

My son loved numbers and letters from the time he was five months old. He learned to read by age two and was writing soon after. By age three he could remember sequences of 10 numbers that would change things on the Apple computer he was playing on. I had no clue what he was doing, but he did. He had a book for the computer that he read until it fell apart. It was here he was learning the number sequences and recalling them when needed.
By the time he started school he was grades beyond kindergarten in academics, but still a baby in behavior. However, his teacher thought it would be a good idea to send him to 1st grade for math and reading. I thought this was an excellent idea because he did say he was bored with the work (in the first week) and wanted something harder to do. Unfortunately (and I did not know this until years later) he was sent to 1st grade when it was playtime for his kindergarten class. He felt like he was being punished. He excelled in both math and reading classes. He just recently (last few years) told me he hated it because he missed out on free play every single day in kindergarten.
Because he was so smart, the school decided to put him in a bilingual class for 1st grade. We lived in Phoenix, AZ and the class was in Spanish and English. My son had no desire to learn Spanish. (Already at this point in his schooling he was being bullied daily. Every boy that picked on him was Hispanic. This did not make him want to learn Spanish in any way, shape or form. Although NOW he says he should have learned so that he could have told them where to get off. {Such big words now.}) Again he was sent up a grade for math and reading, with the same results - only he didn't miss so much play time.
Academically he was doing fantastic, getting nothing but A's. He hated Art, Music (mostly because his grade school was stuck on trying to teach music history instead of teaching them songs), PE, Computer Class and especially Recess. He never made the honor roll because he flunked all these classes (all throughout his school years!) except recess because that wasn't graded.
When second grade rolled around we decided to stick to one grade and his teacher agreed. She was THE BEST TEACHER he ever had and he loved second grade and learned so much that year.
Throughout all this he was having behavioral problems - mostly associated with the bullying, but also other issues in class where he could not keep quiet or still after he got his work done. We spent a lot of time in the principal's office while he was in grade school.
Third and fourth grade he excelled in academics and flunked everything else.
Fifth grade he got the male teacher he wanted and more than excelled. He loved going to school because he finally got a teacher that understood him and worked with him. Punishment in this class was 'going out to recess'; reward was staying in the class and working on the computer.
Then we went and moved in March of fifth grade. I was "THE MONSTER" for taking him out of the one class he loved, only to put him in a new school where trouble started on day one.
He excelled as before, but this school had a problem with his flunking everything else. He was made aware of this and his behavioral problems grew. He was a fat boy who always, always hated sports - he never learned how to pedal a bike, never once peddled his big wheel. But now this school wanted to punish him by making him stay after school to exercise. He tried it and hated it and was allowed to stop, but the school never stop trying to get him back to it.
From the end of the first week at this new school until the following March, he spent time in the Principal's office every single day (for one infraction or another) doing nothing but reading. (Except over the summer.)
I removed him from school in March of sixth grade and home schooled him. He absorbed whatever we studied.
Fast forward to now: He is 29 years old and is living at home. He will always live with me and will need assistant living when I am gone. He is super smart still, and he still has behavioral problems.
He has Asperger's and we never knew it until just a few years ago. When I finally had an inkling what was wrong with him, I just sat and cried. Not because I was upset but because I was so happy to have figured out what made my son tick. He wasn't being bad just to be bad, he truly did not know that what he was doing was not within the normal bounds of social etiquette.
I can look back on his childhood and see all the signs. I even asked his doctor if he could have Autism (this was back in 1987). The doctor told me, "No, he is just too smart." I remember that so clearly. Yes, he was smart, but he showed many signs of Autism - especially with the flapping of the arms and other repetitious things he did.

I write all this to show the other side. A child may read at age 2 and be the smartest kid in kindergarten, but be unable to care for himself as an adult. A child who doesn't read until later could well turn out to be the number one pick for every elite college in the world.
There is just no way of knowing which path our children will take until they reach their teen years. Until then we just guide them and help them stay on the path of learning.


PS. I was a poor reader until just before jr high. We all do eventually catch up.
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Old 06-08-2012, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
3,388 posts, read 1,667,277 times
Reputation: 2352
Quote:
Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
For example, we are particularly worried about my son's "processing speed" and "staying on task" abilities which came out very low compared to the general population when he was evaluated last year.
[snip]
I doubt many parents whose child would score so low on "processing speed" and "staying on task" tests would be completely relaxed about their child's performance.
The teacher too confirmed that he does indeed have attention problems. So "he is advanced" but "he has attention problems"...what am I supposed to get out of this? How about an honest ranking so we can cut to the chase?
May I ask a silly question? If you are concerned about your son's processing speed and attention/on-task behaviors, why not work on that with him? The norms from measures in a psychoed eval are going to tell you more about his performance relative to his peer group (nationally representative sample) than rankings within his classroom will (tiny sample without much meaning). The assessor at his next evaluation should be able to give you specific recommendations to bolster areas where he may have weaknesses by utilizing his strengths.

Re: your OP question, next year I would let the teacher know you have concerns about your son's processing speed and ability to stay on task and that you would like to be kept apprised if it appears that these things are getting in the way of his performance (which one would expect to be high given the psychoed eval results) so that you can work with him at home. It seems like this is the crux of the matter, unless I am misunderstanding.
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Old 06-09-2012, 09:07 AM
 
26,830 posts, read 19,741,975 times
Reputation: 24067
Quote:
Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
Will they give more info in 1st grade? If not, when would my issue become a legitimate one?
2nd? 4th? High-school? When my son's job application will be one of the 999 rejected, out of 1000?
Just FYI--my daughter's high school did not provide rankings. We could just estimate: There were 95 kids in her class. At the end of her senior year, there was the awards ceremony where scholarships and whatnot were given out. The top ten kids in her class got a particular scholarship. She was not one of them; however, she did learn that she was in the top 15%. So, out of 95 kids, that meant she was somewhere in Nos. 11 - 14.

Didn't matter to me. I raised her to do HER best. To me, it was far, far more important that I raise her to be a person of good character than to stomp on everyone else to be No. 1 in everything she does, but that's just me.

You do seem to have, in my opinion and perception, by your own words, an overblown belief that the number one priority in raising a child is to keep in mind that the world is a ferociously competitive place. That belief is the one thing that defines you all through this thread. And don't worry, your son WILL know that--as a matter of fact, it has probably already been ingrained into him whether you consciously told him so or not. He knows it. Just be careful. This attitude could come back to bite you.

Last edited by Mightyqueen801; 06-09-2012 at 09:32 AM..
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Old 06-09-2012, 02:47 PM
 
482 posts, read 527,283 times
Reputation: 1035
A kindergarten teacher could not accurately rank kindergarten students without giving some kind of test--preferably a standardized one. There is the Scholastic School Readiness Test that is designed for children completing kindergarten. It does give a percentile score. Without such a test, anything you hear would be subjective and would involve too small of a group to have any real meaning.

That said, I have heard and experienced many cases in my own life where students deemed to be really bright in kindergarten ended up being academically average later in school or the reverse ---students who were deemed to be just average or even below average in kindergarten ended up being at the top of their class later in life. So much happens after kindergarten.

If you really dislike competition, why does it bother you if you do not know if your child is "better" than the other kids? Frankly, the parents I know who care about ranking tend to be the most competitive parents. No matter how you look at it though, a kindergarten "ranking" would be practically worthless. Yes, you can often see academic talent and academic struggles early in life, but it is usually not clear how that will all work out until they are older.
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Old 06-10-2012, 12:28 AM
 
2,890 posts, read 3,979,813 times
Reputation: 3925
I'm sure you know and understand that the parameters of class rankings change constantly in elementary school so there really is no useful information to be gleaned by specifically ranking them.

I think your best approach is to schedule a conference about 4-6 weeks into the year. At this conference explain that you know that they do not do rankings nor do they offer information about other students, however you would be interested in knowing where he falls amongst the group they currently have in class. Does he fall in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th quarter of the students? Then explain that the reason you ask is because you want to help keep him progressing at a rate that keeps him challenged and not just meeting state standards. Explain that you simply don't want him achieving the minimal when others are reaching far higher.

Then sit back and really listen to what they have to say. Listen for key words/phrases. If the teacher says they have to find other books to challenge him, then you know he is ahead of the pack. If the teacher says that they are now moving at a faster rate in math than planned, that tells you the class is as a group ahead of pace. If the teacher tells you that they can send home math work for you to help that means he is not progressing at the same rate as the class.

I urge you to stay away from strict comparisons because they truly are not accurate enough to offer any insight in what you really want to know.

It begins to become clearer when they enter middle school/junior high. You will see students begin honors, Pre-AP or gifted classes. You will see how many of those classes are offered compared to grade level classes. Within that you can learn what the class is covering and by watching his progress you can determine where he stands.

They don't rank until you hit high school in most cases. However you can still get an idea of where they rank...but again it is meaningless information without knowledge of exactly what he is up against, which you will never truly know.

That is the bottom line of why they have state standards and the comparisons to them. If he is not meeting those then he is behind the majority of his peers. If he is barely meeting them then he is in the lower portion of average. If he is meeting some and exceeding some then he is better than average and if he is exceeding all then he is in the top portion. Those are the better indicators to analyze than actual ranking.

For what it's worth....my daughter just finished 8th grade and part of me would really like to know her ranking just because. However, her being in the top 2% can easily change next year when the grade level doubles in size as they merge into high school with another group of incoming 9th graders from a different middle school. Then her ranking will ebb and flow for a while as things change. Specific classes, teachers and situations will constantly be changing how a student scores.....it's all relative to ALL the factors, which are much to fluid to analyze in a helpful way.
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Old 06-10-2012, 01:25 PM
 
9,718 posts, read 6,234,372 times
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As soon as the teacher "specified no parents"...I would have known that my kids wouldn't be going that day.
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Old 06-11-2012, 12:41 AM
 
Location: California
4,404 posts, read 4,798,441 times
Reputation: 2988
After reading through this thread I can say I understand completely why the teacher specified no parents.
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:59 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
21,889 posts, read 16,707,974 times
Reputation: 30820
Quote:
Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
At the end of K, my son's teacher had an "Awards Day" for which she clearly (and oddly) specified "no parents present!". .
The only thing odd about it, in my opinion, is that she announced it at all ahead of time.
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Old 06-12-2012, 01:40 PM
 
Location: California
4,404 posts, read 4,798,441 times
Reputation: 2988
Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraC View Post
The only thing odd about it, in my opinion, is that she announced it at all ahead of time.
I still maintain that was intentional on the teacher's part. OP is treating Kindergarten like a blood sport!
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:44 AM
 
Location: here
16,822 posts, read 13,435,311 times
Reputation: 13466
Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraC View Post
The only thing odd about it, in my opinion, is that she announced it at all ahead of time.
I wonder this too. It doesn't even make sense to mention it.
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