Thursday, February 22, 2007

ISTEP Results and Related Rambling

We just got back Robbie's results on the ISTEP exams (Indiana State Testing...something or another). It's a state-wide mandatory test that they administer starting in the third grade, so this was his first year. Robbie did really well. We're tickled, his teachers are tickled, he's tickled. Good stuff.

ISTEP comes in two parts, Math and Language. Each part is then broken down into six areas, which are tested separately. The whole process takes a week.

In language he pretty much kicked butt - except for the Writing Applications seciton. Writing Applications gives the kids a writing prompt (The best day of my life was..., or something similar), and they have thirty minutes to write an essay based on the prompt. Anybody who deals with Robbie much knows this is asking for trouble. The kid writes like a house afire on his own ideas, but blanks easily when asked to write about things he's not personally interested in. According to his teacher Robbie wrote nothing for the first 20-25 minutes, until she tapped him on the shoulder and hissed "Robbie! You're going to get a zero!" Whereupon he started scribbling madly. He scored a 79 (state average 69) on the strength of those ten minutes, but it's still a noticeable dip from his other scores, which ranged from 94 to 97. His overall Language score puts him four points below a Pass+, and over 100 points above a passing score. Nothing to sneeze at. Plus (Bonus!), the low essay score bothers him, and he's starting to work a little harder on being able to write to prompts.

Language may have been good, but he blew the roof off the test in Math. His lowest score (Problem Solving) was 92 (state average 57), and he scored 99 in four out of the six sections. Not only a Pass+, but way up at the top of the scale - a full 176 points above a passing score.

Needless to say his parents and grandparents are proud as peacocks about this. Makes me want to take his scores and mail them off to his kindergarten teacher, who kept telling the poor kid how bad he was. She would never believe that he misbehaved in her classroom because he was bored. Not even when we showed her he understood fractions (yes, in kindergarten), or when she gave him a picture book and he wrote in the story because a book with pictures and no words was just wrong. It was all because he was an unmanageable, probably ADHD child that we should go have treated for his problems. Funny how all the problems went away when we pulled him out of kindergarten and never came back. Iincluding the chronic stomach pains that started up about six weeks into school.

Three years later, and in a different school (Hallelujah!), we have teachers who understand that a bright child can be immature, and this mitigates neither his need to be challenged, nor his need to be met at his own level of social maturity. And I have teachers that I can talk to about Robbie being gifted without getting down-the-nose looks, where you can see the thoughts behind them. "Oh another one of those mothers, they all think their child is just so special." Usually followed by a concerted effort to prove to me (and my child) that he really isn't all that.

I could forgive his kindergarten teacher for being snotty to me. I will never forgive her for making Robbie's kindergarten experience so toxic. She's truly the only person I know that I've ever wanted to just slap across the face. I am unbelievably relieved to have Robbie (and Aaron) in a school that doesn't ignore them because they're inconvenient. I can't imagine what this year would have been like if we still lived there. I don't have the skills to give Aaron the extra help he needs (he gets speech and PT help in school), but I would rot in Hell before I would put another child of mine in that kindergarten.

Umm - well that was more of a rant then I intended. Shall we shorten it to - Robbie is finally somewhere where he is blooming, and we couldn't be happier about it.


Becky said...

Go ahead and rant! I could say some of the same thing about Cody's teachers. His big thing is not doing his work. But a kid who is reading Tolkien just isn't going to be interested in "A is for Apple" worksheets. And yes, we got the ADD lecture, too, even after the doc I took him to said, "If that is an ADD child I'll eat my hat."

Anyway, congrats on Robbie's good scores. And congrats on having a school that meets his needs. Wish we had one here...

Anonymous said...

Hello...I found your blog site researching some info about ISTEP, etc. I noticed you talking about the excellent level your son has been learning at...I am not sure where you live--but there are a couple of great elementary schools that are private that would REALLY influence his learning style. I went to University High School but most of my class mates went to Orchard or Sycamore schools. they are elementary(I believe K-8) and they are incredible. I was in highschool with some of the strongest students I have ever encountered. They are both around the Indy area.

Perpetual Beginner said...

Anon: We're down at the other end of the state, near Louisville. Private school is rather out of our reach at the moment, but fortunately our local public elementary is an excellent school. Both boys are doing very well there, and I'm pretty confident the school system will continue to work productively with us.