How does a child qualify for the
Gifted or AGP program?
In the public school system, children are eligible for the gifted program if they meet three criteria. First, they must usually obtain a score of 130 or higher on a state-approved intelligence (or IQ) test. A score of 127 or higher might also be accepted under certain exceptional circumstances. Just for a frame of reference, an IQ of 100 is average.
Second, the children must be rated by their teacher(s) as showing traits commonly associated with giftedness, such as academic achievement, curiosity, and leadership skills. The first part - the IQ test - is administered by a trained examiner, such as myself. The second part is a checklist completed at school by the teacher(s).
Third, the children must achieve high grades and/or standardized test scores.
Why test my child privately when the school
system offers the service for free?
There are many reasons for choosing private testing. The most common one is a desire to have it done more quickly; schools frequently have a waiting list. Another possibility is that some children become nervous about the prospect of testing at school. Often they do not know the examiner and have little warning before the actual time of testing. Some parents are concerned that their children may not perform at their best under such circumstances. A third reason may be that the child has been tested before but did not meet the criteria the first time. Private testing gives a child a second chance, possibly under more optimal conditions than the school can provide (e.g., a quieter setting, more breaks if needed). Finally, some parents would simply like the "luxury" of being the first ones to know their child's result, instead of hearing about it after the guidance counselor, teachers, etc., already have.
How long does the process take?
Testing typically takes 45 to 90 minutes. On rare occasions, it can take longer, as some portions are untimed and your child is allowed a reasonable number of breaks, if needed.
What will my child be asked to do? Can they "study" for it?
Although different IQ tests use slightly different formats, some common activities include defining or comparing words and verbal concepts, putting blocks or puzzle pieces together, recalling things they have just heard or seen, and analyzing patterns of pictures. As we cannot reveal the exact nature of the items on the tests, there is no real way to "study" for it. Indeed, IQ tests ideally try to measure children's ability to "figure out" new or novel problems by themselves, problems they have never seen before. Teaching children how to answer the questions does not yield a valid or "true" IQ result. You are then just measuring their ability to do what they have already been shown how to do - which is a very different skill than solving a problem independently.
To prepare your child, you can ensure that your child is well-rested the morning of testing, that he/she understands that it is OK to guess or to not know something, and that he/she knows that many very smart and accomplished students do not know all or even most of the answers - not qualifying does not mean he/she is not intelligent.
The following website describes some examples of tasks on one outdated IQ test (version 4 of the WISC) but it is not a comprehensive list of the activities that may be required on the IQ test your child will be taking. Actvities #1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 8 are the most relevant to newer tests.
Where does testing take place? In what areas do you work?
I typically come to your house to do the testing, usually at the dining room table. The advantage of this set-up is that many children are more comfortable and less anxious in a familiar environment, which, hopefully, allows them to do their best. The lack of an office space also reduces my overhead, which helps me keep my fees reasonable. If this is not possible, I occasionally see clients in my home in Brandon. The fee for that location is reduced as it saves me driving time.
I primarily work in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, and Polk counties. I may be willing to travel further for a reasonable fee to compensate for the extra time and travel.
How soon can I get the results?
I bring my laptop with me. As I set up a template for your child's report in advance, it typically takes me about 10 to 15 minutes to finish the report after testing is over. If you have a computer and printer, I can print it out and go over it with you right away. Otherwise, we can discuss the scores right away and I can mail you an official printed copy the next day.
How soon can I schedule an appointment?
I usually have openings anywhere from immediately to within a week or two depending on the time of year. I have both morning and afternoon appointments during the week (usually Monday through Thursday) and some appointments on Sunday afternoons as well.
Who can have a child tested? What information do you need from me?
Only a parent or legal guardian can consent to testing. I will require you to sign a legal parental consent form describing both of our rights and responsibilities in this situation before I work with your child. The form serves to protect us both.
When we set up the appointment, I will also ask for information such as your address and phone number, and your child's name, birthdate, school, grade, and relevant medical issues. I also need to know the name of any previous IQ tests taken within the last year, as a child cannot take the exact same test twice within 12 months.
What forms of payment do you accept?
I accept cash, checks, and credit cards through Paypal. If necessary, you can break the fee into two to three payments, due a month apart each.
What other resources are available to help answer my questions?
Here are some links to helpful organizations that may be able to provide more information about parenting a bright child and link you to other parents in your community. These change frequently so I apologize for any outdated links :)
Gifted Advocacy Council of Hillsborough, Inc.
Florida Gifted Network
Florida Association for the Gifted (FLAG)
Florida Education Standards (including proposals for Gifted Standards - click Standards at top)
Sunrise Learning Lab (a blog linked to a pilot program for gifted children in Pasco County)
Odyssey of the Mind (an excellent educational program)
Summer Institute for the Gifted (both day, residential, and online courses in many subjects)
If you have any further questions, please call me at # (813) 610-7905 or email
me at email@example.com. PLEASE NOTE Some people are saying the link to my email is not working and the email gets returned as undeliverable. I am trying to resolve this. You may need to manually type it in (AALAACS@MSN.COM) or try me at firstname.lastname@example.org The problem especially seems to be with Windows Live Mail or Outlook. I apologize.
Please also feel free to text me at the phone number listed above (although please be aware that text messaging is not the securest form of communicating).
A. Paige Frecker, Ed.S., NCSP
License # SS715
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