Here are some excerpts:
"Academic talents can wax and wane, the latest thinking goes, meaning that a child who clearly outpaces his or her peers academically at age 8 can end up solidly in the middle of the pack by the end of high school."
That's confusing intellectual potential with academic results. IQ is remarkably stable over time after the age of about 6. But certainly there are plenty of gifted children who underachieve in school. An estimated 20% of high school dropouts are intellectually gifted. Many more manage to graduate from high school but without stellar academic records. As I've mentioned before on this blog, one of my brothers was like this.
The EdWeek article also quotes Randy Collins, the director of one of the best-known schools for the gifted in the U.S., Hunter College Elementary School in New York City. Hunter receives along the lines of 1800+ applications each year for a mere 48 kindergarten slots. Collins told EdWeek:
"Third grade is probably a better place to admit someone because assessments are more reliable at that age."This is the same kind of nonsense I heard from the superintendent of our district when I questioned her why the district's GATE program did not start until 4th grade. Research has shown that while the highest IQ stability was found among those tested at age 6+, testing at age 4 (Hunter's current practice) results in only somewhat lower stability (median correlation of 0.72). That means nearly 3/4 of those tested as preschoolers will not see a significant change in IQ if they are retested later!
Yes, children who are "late bloomers" ought to have the chance to participate in GATE programs if they qualify at an older age. Schools like Hunter ought to take a certain number of additional children who did not initially qualify at about the 3rd or 4th grade. But that doesn't mean that educators should deny those who show signs of giftedness at an earlier age the chance for a properly challenging environment.
Most educators who will read this EdWeek article will presumably not be all that familiar with the literature on giftedness. It's really a shame, therefore, that the article perpetuates the "evening out" myth :-(