If you think your child may be gifted, a comprehensive assessment will help you to understand your child’s specific learning strengths and needs. This assessment will also help to determine whether a specialized program or Individualized Program Plan may be beneficial to supplement and enhance your child’s academic and learning development.
Some school programs that provide challenging learning environments and advanced placement options request that you to have an intellectual assessment completed on your child in order to confirm their exceptional cognitive and academic skills.
Alternatively, as a parent, you may just be interested in gathering more information about your child’s learning strengths, or seeking strategies and recommendations to foster your child’s academic growth in current and future grades.
Common assessment measures that are used to clarify a child’s learning profile are:
- Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – Fifth Edition (WISC-V)
- Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI-IV)
- Wechsler Individual Achievement Test – Third Edition (WIAT-III)
These standardized assessment tools gather comprehensive information regarding how your child is performing relative to a Canadian norm group of children the same age, and in the same grade placement.
The WISC-V and WPPSI-IV are cognitive (intellectual) measures that gather information regarding how well your child reasons and problem solves on verbal and non-verbal tasks, as well as how efficiently and accurately your child processes information. Some children have exceptional strengths across areas of cognitive functioning, while others may have one or two distinct strengths that stand out in their profile.
Children who are gifted have different strengths and needs, and they may be very different from one another. Knowing your child’s unique strengths will help to guide recommendations that ultimately aim to promote your child’s learning and growth in other areas.
The WIAT-III is a standardized academic measure that gathers comprehensive information on your child’s level of proficiency in areas of reading, mathematics, written language, and/or oral language. This helps to determine whether your child’s cognitive potential matches what they have already learned academically, which is important to determine whether they would ultimately be successful in an advanced learning environment.
During your child’s assessment, you will also complete a background questionnaire to provide information on your child’s academic history, as well as other areas of exceptionality such as creative thinking, art, music, social, and kinesthetic (physical). A review of academic records is also completed.
Your final assessment report will summarize your child’s performance and provide any recommendations to help your child meet their best learning potential. This report will be reviewed with you and you will have the opportunity to have any additional questions answered.
In an inclusive learning environment, your child’s summary of scores and report recommendations will help to inform your child’s teacher to establish appropriate expectations and any educational strategies, adaptations, or modifications that will best support your child’s engagement and growth in the classroom. If you’re interested in a specific academic challenge program, your child’s scores will be used to determine whether they meet entrance requirements for the upcoming school year.
If you are requesting an assessment in order to determine your child’s eligibility for a gifted (challenge) program, advanced placement, or academic alternative program, please contact your schools of interest in order to determine entrance requirements and registration deadlines. This will help to ensure that your child’s assessment and report is completed within appropriate timelines.
If you are interested the New Horizons Charter School program, please visit their website to learn about their application process and to determine when your child’s assessment report needs to be submitted by.
Please note that program criteria are ultimately left up to the district or individual school.