Wednesday, June 6, 2012

NUMATS Conferences

A surprising discovery . . . over half of the middle school students we honored last Saturday do not know if their school districts use their extraordinarily high scores on the ACT and SAT to match them to appropriately challenging academics.  Is it a lack of communication or an indication that educators are not actually using the scores - the whole point of kids taking out of level exams?

And from a self-advocacy standpoint, how can students make informed decisions if we don't give them all the information?

Several years ago I described how my district used the data.  I've excerpted a bit of it here, but the whole article, Post-NUMATS Meetings Build Partnerships, is on the WATG website.  

The needs of our brightest students can be best addressed when families and schools work together.  Thus, when the ACT, SAT and Explore results arrive in spring, it is important for students, parents/guardians, and educators to meet for individual conferences. These meetings can be initiated by anyone: parents, teachers, counselors, gifted education coordinators, or the students themselves as they seek to self-advocate.

Families come to the conference with many questions, of course. What was gained by participating? What do all the scores mean? What does the school plan to do with the data?  What can we do?  What should our child do? What’s next?  Educators can help by listening to concerns, offering suggestions, and providing resources.

During the conference, students can reflect on the testing experience, statistical summaries can be clarified, and appropriate educational options can be discussed.  These conversations help all NUMATS participants, no matter how well they scored, to understand their strengths and take charge of their own education.  

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