Testing: There are Better Ways to Identify Gifted and Talented Students

It’s testing season and here’s a timely reminder that traditional testing for ability is not the last word in thinking about what makes for success.

This is from a May edition of Education Week

Robert J. Sternberg often writes about a lecture-style psychology course he took as a college freshman in which he got a C. “There is a famous Sternberg in psychology,” the professor told him at the time, “and it looks like there won’t be another.”

To Mr. Sternberg, the vignette illustrates that conventional assessments don’t measure all the abilities students need to succeed in life.

A nationally known psychologist, he has spent much of his career designing new measures that might more accurately capture the full range of students’ intellectual potential at the university level.

Now, a team of Yale University researchers is using the same ideas to rethink the tests that schools use to identify pupils for gifted and talented programs in elementary schools.

The team’s Aurora Battery –  named for the colorful spectrums created by the northern and southern lights –  is being translated and tested with tens of thousands of 9- to 12-year-olds, not only in the United States, but also in England, India, Kuwait, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and other countries.

If the preliminary results from those tests are borne out, its developers say, the new assessment could yield a very different pool of gifted students—one that includes a higher proportion of students from traditionally underrepresented minority groups than is often the case now.

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