Each year students accept the MATS challenge and take out-of-level achievement tests intended for students many years older than they are. Our event honors 4-6 graders who take the 8th grade level EXPLORE test and 6-8 graders who take the ACT and SAT intended for high school juniors and seniors.
For those of you who know the numbers, here’s how our top scorers did this year:
Composite: 1450 (out of a possible 1600)
Math: 800 (out of a possible 800)
Reading 720 (out of a possible 800)
Composite: 35 (out of a possible 36)
Math: 36 (out of a possible 36)
Reading: 36 (out of a possible 36)
of all four
sub-tests: 100 (out of a possible 100)
Yes, that’s right! We have kids earning perfect and near-perfect scores!
Not all of Wisconsin’s highly gifted kids participate, however: some don’t hear about it; some can’t afford it; some don’t understand the benefits. Yet research tells us that out-of-level testing is even better than MAPS at showing us what our brightest kids need to succeed.
My point is reporting these numbers is not to elevate test scores, but to remind us all that we have students with this extraordinary ability sitting in our classrooms right now who need more appropriately challenging educational experiences. Differentiated grade-level curriculum is probably not enough for those who already have scores high enough to get them into the most selective colleges. All students, including gifted students, need to struggle and possibly fail, struggle again and finally succeed.
As their advocates, what can we do to make sure that happens?