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How not to discuss the SAT with your kid November 5, 2010

Posted by mareserinitatis in education, gifted, older son.
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As some of you may know, I’ve gone back to a partial homeschooling arrangement with the older boy since moving back to Fargo. For the most part, this seems to be working well: the older boy takes two classes at the high school and then does four subjects at home over the period of a week. The courses he does at home are introductory college level courses, and our plan is for him to take CLEP exams at the end of the year.

We came to this arrangement after discussing with his previous teachers what would be an optimal educational arrangement. We agreed that he needed time to socialize, hence his time at school, while also being significantly more challenged than he would in a normal high school classroom.

However, I don’t want to continue this situation any longer than necessary. As such, I would like for him to take classes his college-level classes through the university next year. To be admitted to the university, he, like everyone else, is required to take entrance exams, so he took the SAT in early October. He has been medically diagnosed as having ADHD, and I was concerned that he might need extra time or special arrangements through the college board. When I discussed this with him, he refused.

After the exam, he was quite anxious to get his scores. The day that they came out, we logged in and he took a look first thing in the morning. There wasn’t much of a response.

A couple days later, we were discussing things, and he mentioned that he’d gotten a “D” on a couple parts of his SAT.

What?!

I said the he had scored about average, which he had. However, he apparently didn’t realize the context of what average meant. As a freshman in high school, his writing and math scores were average for someone three years older, presumably with a lot more classes, and planning on going to college. Although he could have chosen to have more time on the exam for very good reasons, he opted not to. (This would have been extremely helpful to him because he didn’t complete nearly 1/3 of the math exam.) And his critical reading score was exceptionally high.

If anything, he did, in my opinion, a fantastic job. He has earned scores high enough to be accepted to the local university…as a freshman in high school with minimal formal instruction. However, the little formal schooling he’s had told him that being in the 50-60th percentile was equivalent to earning a D. I have to admit that I was amused that this is one of the things he’s learned in a regular school, and the only place where that’s true is in regular school.

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