So as I said, we are thinking of enrolling Violet in the Midwest Academic Talent Search, through Northwestern University of Chicago. We don’t live close enough to Chicago to make real use of their on-site programs, at least not until Violet is old enough for their on-campus summer programs for teens, so I’m trying to figure out the benefit of the program (and there are others like it around the country). As Jove asked, “Why would I subject my girl to this?” Here’s the full list of benefits cited on the MATS website.
A Student Guide, sent prior to taking the test, that offers test-taking strategies, test information, and career planning suggestions
The Educational Program Guide, a listing of schools and programs for academically talented students in the Midwest and the United States
A Planning and Resource Guide, with guidelines and suggestions in selecting coursework and extracurricular activities in math, science, social science and the humanities matched to students’ scores
Talent, a CTD newsletter that contains articles and research geared toward gifted students, their parents, and teachers
A Statistical Summary and Interpretation Report, which summarizes the scores of all students who participated in the Midwest Academic Talent Search so students can compare their scores to those of other gifted students and to those of older students who typically take the tests
An Individualized Long-Range Academic Plan based on the student’s scores and MATS percentile that will help students and their families plan their coursework through the end of high school
For qualifying students, an invitation to the CTD Summer Program at Northwestern University, as well as to other summer programs in the Midwest
A Certificate of Recognition for participation in MATS
Mailings throughout high school from summer programs and special schools
An invitation to participate in future talent searches
For highest scorers, an invitation to a prestigious award ceremony held at Northwestern University
For highest scorers, scholarships for academic programs
The College Guide, a magazine which features articles on college admissions and will help students get started on the college planning process
So much of that doesn’t apply to us/isn’t that important to us — although geez, every other kid is getting a certificate for this or that, so can’t my homeschooler get one too? — but I am very curious about the planning tools offered. That’s why I’m trying to find others who’ve done MATS at the first year of eligibility. We don’t really need any career counseling or college planning yet — though at this accelerated pace I do get nervous about suddenly being at a high school level and having no clue what to do. Likewise I want to have some recent testing for anything that requires proof of advanced ability.
“Thinking” is the stage we’re at right now. I don’t think Violet will be too stressed by the testing — she thoroughly enjoyed all the testing she was subjected to around grade acceleration. Poor thing, it was about the only time a school official seemed aware that she knew how to read and understood basic arithmatic. No wonder she loved it. (I exaggerate, her KG teacher was great.) She seemed genuinely pleased to be thinking for a change. Of course the situation is different now, so she might not view a test in the same way.
We actually did a small practice section yesterday, 10 questions on a reading passage. She got one question wrong, and I had to laugh because it was one of those “choose the best sentence” questions, which I find so subjective. Before I gave her the test I thought to myself, “The answer is A, but I bet anything she picks C.” And so she did! It gave us a good chance to talk about testing, testmaker’s expectations, etc.
If we learn anything of use to other parents I’ll let you know.