Testing, testing …

Part of my job is to assess the learning potential of some of the kids who attend my school. That’s teacher-talk for “giving an IQ test”. Not a real, full-fledged one, oh no, this would be just a brief, abridged version of a full one. I’m not qualified to administer and interpret the complete test, not being a psychologist with the accompanying thousand years of post-secondary education. I am only able to conduct the smaller test, despite being simply a lowly teacher with only five years of university. Fortunately, they are the right type of five years of university in order to be deemed capable by – oh, I don’t know who. Maybe the IQ test fairies?

Anyway, once I score this baby brother of the standard IQ test, I then administer the academic achievement tests. These measure a kid’s current performance in reading, writing and math. Then I compare the results of the two kinds of tests. Normally, academic performance matches learning potential, more or less. But sometimes, performance is far below what would be expected based upon the measured potential. When that happens, I suspect those kids of having serious learning disabilities. Those are the kids who I refer for further testing by our school psychologist – you know, the real qualified professionals.

So that’s what I was doing all morning today. Today. The day the elementary school set was celebrating one of its favourite holidays: Halloween. The day 99% of the population 12 and under wore a costume to school. The day every single classroom had a party in the afternoon, if not all day. The day every single kid was effing WIRED on excitement and sugar.

And brilliant me decided to test today. Perfect.

Still, there was a silver lining. I did get to laugh loud and long – but inside my head, of course.

One girl was plodding through the reading part of the academic achievement test. She had to read aloud lists of words, with absolutely no help or encouragement from me. One of the words she struggled with was “hour”.

And how did she end up reading that word?

“Whore.”

The kid is nine. And she was dressed as a cat.

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6 responses to “Testing, testing …

  1. LOL@ the catgirl’s pronunciation. Sure, she meant to say “hour”. 😉

    I’m a bit skeptical on these types of tests, they seem very biased and the results are not always reliable.

    • Pauline – I know what you mean about bias and reliability: for one thing, most IQ tests are written by and for Americans, so some of the questions are things that we Canadians simply don’t know (unless we’re adults or have absorbed a LOT of American culture). Still, some things are universal, like figuring out relationships between objects. The tests are generally pretty reliable, according to my course-work, but that doesn’t mean that results can’t change over time to a certain degree. If you’re tired or hungry when you do the test, for example, you might get a different result than when you redo the test two years later and you’re well-rested and well-fed.

  2. You mean, that’s not how it’s pronounced? Anyway, her Freudianism might have been more apt if you were doing some aptitude testing and slotting them into future career possibilities. Just a thought. Anyway, I remember doing the Gates Reading tests, which are just about as inspiring. To this day I do not know my own IQ. I’ve never tried to find out. Two reasons for this: if it’s really high then I’ll feel I’ve wasted my potential; if it’s lower than I might think then I would lapse into despair and never write any more blogs.

    • mrwriteon – Really, an IQ is just a number, and apparently it can fluctuate somewhat over time. The only reason I do the screening is to give relevant info to the psychologists, and THEY only do it to determine whether or not the kid has learning disabilities. I don’t think it really has much relevance in real life – unless you’re looking for a reason to despair, I suppose. And most of us have enough of those, don’t we?!

  3. And what sort of neighborhood did you say you teach in, or was this just an exception? Some kids are very forward for their age. It’s amazing what they come up with. You wonder where their minds are?

    • Nora – The neighbourhood where I teach is a regular, middle-class, suburban one, with mostly separate houses and some townhouses and even a few apartment buildings. Nothing that would lead me to believe that this kid actually knew what she was saying – but, as you say, it’s amazing what they come up with sometimes, so who knows? At least I had a giggle that day!