Why above-level testing?
Some gifted students may "bump their heads" against the ceilings of tests and assessment devices used to evaluate the abilities of students in their grade level. Score results for these students may suggest that they are bright, without providing more specific and substantial information.
Students who score at the highest levels on grade-level testing devices may need higher degrees of difficulty to differentiate these students' level and depth of knowledge. For example, two students may appear identical on a grade-level assessment, scoring at the 99th percentile. However, when given an above-level test, these students could be quite different (i.e., one scoring at the 75th percentile and another at the 25th percentile).
When approached carefully, above-level testing can offer valuable feedback. Such testing may be appropriate when a student:
- scores at the top of the range on grade-level assessment devices;
- consistently makes excellent grades without studying or apparent effort;
- indicates high ability through regular testing but makes surprisingly low grades in the classroom; and
- wants to know more about the degree and nature of his or her academic strengths.
Reprinted with the permission of Duke University. © 2008 Duke University Talent Identification Program.
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