Can anyone tell me what the year 3 STAR tests actually mean? Our 7 year old daughter is reading (and understanding) at a 10 year old level and is off the school spelling charts, but came out as stanine 6 on the STAR test level 2 - 3 (whatever that means) earlier this year.
We are considering whether to get her tested or not as we have muddled through school for 2 1/2 years now and all that seems to be happening is that she seems to be withdrawing more and more and hiding her abilities more. The school don't really recognise giftedness unless it is in reading or maths, ours is more science and weird ways of thinking!!!
We don't really know where to go from here as daughter seems to be becoming happy average, whilst also becoming quiet and withdrawn. We, meanwhile are beginning to question our original conclusions that she is gifted. :-(
What did the teacher say about the STAR test results? Were they surprising to the teacher? Some children are poor test-takers (one of mine used to get in a time panic) but otherwise do okay at school. Or it could be there is an issue affecting all schoolwork, not just the test-taking. Seems to me the teacher might have noticed some discrepancies?
The qualities or characteristics in your daughter that lead you to conclude that she is gifted are still there ... albeit if they are a little hidden at the moment. FWIW our elder child was assessed as highly gifted and clearly well ahead of age peers in all areas. Come school and some less-than-ideal experiences and environments and we had an 'average' performing child. One thing some girls are particularly good at is being just like the majority of the others. One thing some teachers and schools are good at is stamping out the appearance of giftedness.
It may be that more challenge is needed and your daughter can't be bothered with the STAR test. It may be that your daughter needs to be around others who are achieving more (where she wont have to hide her abilities so much to fit in), and it may be that she needs some help addressing risk-aversion. If she's gifted and things are usually easy, the sudden appearance of 'difficult' work at school could make her risk-averse, scared of getting things wrong. There could be unidentified issues that testing might address. But please, do not simply conclude that you were wrong in your original conclusions - parents are excellent judges of whether their children are gifted and your experience of having a child not show it at school is not uncommon.
First stop is the teacher of course. I would also find some 'like-minds' outside of school, if you haven't already. If your child is hiding abilities to fit in then she needs an environment where she can feel as if she fits in without having to hide who she is. An after-school science club? NZAGC group?
STAR test is Supplementary Test of Achievement in Reading. The stainines go from 1 - 9. Stanines 4,5 and 6 are the 'middle' stanines with Stanine 5 being described as 'average'. Ask to see the test paper and how she did in each of the four tests. The four sub-tests test different things.
As a teacher, STAR tests give some 'data' for me, but it is more important for the teacher to analyse the test results to see what needs to be taught.
Thanks for your suggestions and encouragement. We couldn't tie the teacher down to ask her and she has now left. She was not particularly interested in discussing it, happy that A was at or above the national standard.
I think that a lot of what you said makes sense to us. She has become very adept at "fitting in" and is certainly risk averse - possibly partly due to her perfectionist nature and a lack of encouragement at school. The teacher this year didn't even get her at the right level for maths until we took in last years report and pointed out that she had started A at the level she had been at at the beginning of year 2 so she has not been challenged much at all and become quite lazy.
We have spoken to the One Day School and are going to get her tested officially as the school really don't want the hassle of gifted or bright children or their 'pushy parents'. They don't have after school science clubs or anything like that - don't really do science in years 1 - 6 in fact. it might help if we had it in writing - although the Head of Junior School has advised us not to bother.
Thanks again for your comments - Fortunately we now have a new teacher with much higher expectations so will ask her to look at the STAR test - thanks for the suggestion.
Thanks everyone for your suggestions. The new teacher is much better!!!! She explained the STAR test fully, gave us the reading age and maths stage and suggested that ODS may indeed be good for our girl as she is very science based. Having said that, she has already added in some topic work on the environment and living things and our girl is now really enjoying it. She has changed beyond belief in the last two weeks - amazing what a change of teacher can do aye
Thanks for posting the follow-up Kate - how fantastic! There really are some gems out there in teaching. Sometimes it seems as if they can be hard to find, but, when you do find one, you and your child will know it. :-)