Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Fast Track To GAT

I've put together an efficient program for gifted and talented test prep that I'm going to use when I start working with underprivileged minorities in Chicago.  By "efficient" I mean both the most efficient use of time and the most efficient use of money, since I'm going to have to buy these books.

I'm going to start prep right before age 4, maybe a week or two, with Pre-K Phonics Conceptual Vocabulary and Thinking combined with Shape Size Color Count.  I'll keep Building Thinking Skills Level 1 for grades 2 and 3 if needed to supplement these two.  We won't need BTS Primary because Shape Size Color Count puts us right about in the middle of the nonverbal section of grades 2 and 3, and the content is from Pre K Phonics is overkill for the verbal side of the test by design.  I'll need a single practice test for COGAT to cover before the test with each child.  We'll probably take the OLSAT, but I like COGAT practice tests better because they're harder.

This is going to take about 6 to 9 months.  I've got about 3 months to enroll candidates for a test date of February 2018.

I'm not worried about the test.   I think at this point I could get a Parakeet past the 98.8% cutoff score. The point of this research is to figure out how to get the parents in the game.  No one has studied this aspect of education in any depth even though it's the single biggest factor, maybe the only factor. Until Chicago addresses early childhood education among minorities by looking closely at the parents, we're stuck with poverty and violence.  Early childhood education is a well kept secret in the United States.  It's call teaching cognitive skills.  In the US, we test for cognitive skills but do almost nothing to teach them.

To go from slightly above average to gifted takes a lot of work on the part of the parent.  After going through this process, you can look back and see enjoyable parent-child time, once you get past the crying and the 'I can't do this'.  To get from below average is going to be even harder on the parent. I'm probably going to be dealing with single parents.

I think of fast track as a short cut.  It means the shortest possible path using both money and time wisely.  'Short cut' and 'fast track' mean this:

I chose a Pre-K test leading to a Kindergarten program because it's much easier than a Kindergarten test leading to a 1st grade program.   There's 1 less year to catch up.  The mountain gets bigger after Kindergarten.  As a bonus, if the Pre-K test doesn't go well, there's an extra year to get the job done.

So that's the plan.  Challenging and doable.


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