Meg51577 asks:

What Is Wrong With My Third Grader?

We just got my 3rd grader's report card and coGAT testing scores; my husband and I are very upset by the results.  Our son is doing very poorly in math, although we work with him every evening.  He just doesn't seem to "get it". The thing is, he thinks he is the smartest kid in his class.  He thinks he understands what he is doing when in fact he is getting almost everything wrong.   He is in complete denial that he doesn't grasp these math concepts.

As far as the  CoGAT, he got a 40-50% on everything except the nonverbal section - he only got a 20% on that section!  He said he didn't understand the directions.

This is not a dumb child.  He can rattle off facts about outer space and reads biographies for fun on Mother Teresa and Leonardo di Vinci.  He reads all day long,  which is why I am so confused about these results.

I feel like we have done everything the way we should:  he does not play video games, watch T.V. excessively, he eats well, gets enough sleep, plays outside, he has two educated parents that care deeply about his education.  

Any suggestions as to what could be going on with him?
In Topics: School and Academics, Learning issues and special needs, Helping my child with school work and home work
> 60 days ago



Nov 8, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

I hear the frustration in your question.  Children are not always easy to figure out.  So it will probably take some detective work to see what kind of clues you can find in order to determine how to help your son.

The first place I would start is with your son's teacher.  Ask to have a parent/teacher conference.  If your husband can make it even better.  This way you hear the same information and discuss the various points the teacher brings up.  Two heads are better than one.

Before you attend the conference, make a list of your concerns.  Be specific.  Bring in graded papers, test scores, and any observations that you can remember.  Then make a list of questions you want answers to such as:
What do you see as the problem in math?
What are my son's strengths and weaknesses when it comes to math?
Does he understand the math concepts when in class?
How do you suggest we help my child?
Do you think there is some kind of a learning problem when it comes to math?
What kinds of screening have you done to determine or rule out that there isn't a problem?
What can we do at home to help him?
What are we going to do if there is little progress in his math performance?

During the conference you can bring up your list of concerns and your questions.  The hardest part during this time is to stay calm.  Try not to get emotional.  You may even want to ask if you can record the conference so you can review later on or share with your husband if he is unable to make it.

In defense of your son, he may not have understood the directions during the test.  If that is the case, you should be able to get a copy of the sample test to go over how to do each section.  This is a quick fix and shouldn't take long.

The next time your son has math homework, watch him.  Don't help him - at least not right away.  Observe to see how he solves the problems and what he does when he becomes frustrated.  Dose he guess, give up, or really believe he has the right solution?

If the problem consists, I suggest setting up a meeting the the school's math coach or other academic support person.  See if there is some type of screening that can happen to rule out a learning problem.  Just remember a concerned pushy parent gets things done.

Once you have more information, we might be able to give you some strategies that can help your son improve his math skills.

Hope that helps.

Barb K

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Additional Answers (2)

Meg51577 writes:
Thank you.  We have a conference scheduled for this afternoon.  You brought up some good questions I have written down for us to ask his teacher.
> 60 days ago

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BananaJustine writes:
Has this been happening his whole life? .................... If not it's probably not him. It's probably the way the teacher explains things or just the way the teacher is. I would suggest making sure he speaks up and asks questions if he needs to. If this doesn't get you far than try to talk to the guidance counciler to see if there is anything else. I have a son that is in 3rd grade and has to take medicine for his short attention span and has trouble remembering assignments unless they are written on the white board. See if any of these answers help you out a bit.

                                                       Good Luck,
> 60 days ago

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