About three years ago I had the privilege of testing a very bright little boy. He was almost six years old. We know that a Standardised Score of 100 is around average. A Standardised Score over 110 suggests good average ability. A Standardised Score of 140 is exceptional. Quite a few Eleven Plus examinations are set to look for children over a score of around 118.
His non verbal reasoning was 130. His oral vocabulary was 138 and his mathematics 140. As mentioned earlier he was around six years old. We thought then what lucky parents to have such a bright, alive and able boy. Naturally there was no need for our services.
A year ago his scores were around 115 on mathematics, English and verbal reasoning. Again we suggested there was no need for immediate concern.
We retested him recently. His mathematics was now 110. He reached 103 on a literacy paper. These papers, like the earlier ones, are not available to parents – and only qualified teachers can administer and interpret them. He achieved 104 on a non verbal reasoning test.
Somehow over the past three years this very bright and able boy has been reducing himself to an average level.
He attends a successful and well thought of school.
There have not been any undue upsets in his life.
He is still charming and remarkably mature in his manner and speech.
Recently at school he has been eased into the bottom English group. We looked at his story from a year ago. His writing was neat and well formed. He made no punctuation errors and used paragraphs correctly – but there were quite a few spelling mistakes. His spelling when he was six was around eighteen months ahead of his age. In this latest story his writing was remarkably untidy. He did not use paragraphs. He did misspell words – but mainly because he was using a proud range of words.
Bright children sometimes do tend hide their talents from their contemporaries.
As a teacher do we suggest to the parents that he needs extra help or is the problem that he does not want to shine at school?
We work with around six hundred Eleven Plus children a year in our lessons and on courses – so we see some of the most able children in Kent and South London. We are used to seeing bright children – and used to trying to extend and develop the academically able.
If anyone has any suggestions for these poor parents please let me know.
Even more important, what advice can we offer to the poor boy?