Educators: I got some good news about my daughter... and I'm having trouble believing it.

I have a 12yo daughter, light of my life, apple of my eye, all that. Sophia is very bright, chatty, well-adjusted, well-liked, moral, and has no problem engaging anybody in conversation… all in all, a helluva person.

Her mother and I have always insisted that Sophia’s “job” is her education, and we both have worked closely with her over the years so she can get the most out of it. And Sophia is a good student, one that will actually turn off the TV to do her homework*.

And it’s working. She took a series of tests over the past month which gives grade equivalent scores and while I don’t remember all of them, she is scoring about 3 grades above her level in math, science, and grammar.


Her reading equivalency score came in and she scored a 12.4! I.e, she is reading at a 12th-grade equivalency in the 6th grade.

Now, in the 6th grade I scored about the same - 12th grade equivalency, both in comprehension and grammar (I think about that last), so I know it’s not impossible. OTOH, unlike my daughter, I read all the time starting from about the age of 2. By the time I was in the sixth grade, the number of novels that I have read was in the hundreds (Progress went like this: First word, age 2. First book, age 3. First “adult” book (A Night To Remember), age 6. First novel, age 7.)

But I have difficulty believing her score, for the simple fact that regardless of her attainments in other classes, the child doesn’t care to read, doesn’t do it of her own will, and it’s always a struggle with her to get her to just read. She has had no difficulty with reading… she doesn’t just like to. I doubt she has 1/100th of the time spent reading that I had at her age.

Some people have mentioned that maybe Sophia has a special “talent”, and hell, they might even be right, but talent has to be worked, it’s not just something that you can turn on like a switch and expect superior results. (Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest basketball player of all time. What most people don’t know is that MJ was one of the hardest working players of all time, a guy who constantly practiced at improving his craft even when he was the best in the world. He wasn’t good because he was talented, he was good because he was talented and worked his ass off.)

Regardless, while I’m happy for Sophia I’m still a bit perplexed as to how she achieved this score. (Not that I’m telling her this, of course!) I don’t even know if I have a question other than “How the hell did this happen”?

So… (and this is why I specified educators in the title)… is it likely that a child who doesn’t like to read scores that high on a reading skills test, almost double her school-years? Is it unknown? Uncommon? More common than I think?

Hell, I don’t even know why this concerns me, but it does. I should just be happy for her and bragging about my smart daughter… but there’s something not right here (Either her score, or my expectations. What am I missing here?)

*Sometimes. The child is still 12, of course. :wink:

Congratulations! It sounds like you have a perfectly wondful daughter!

I think the Grade Equivalent means that she did as well on the sixth grade test as a twelfth grader would have done on a sixth grade test, not that she would read as well on a twelfth grade test. What is the percentile? That may give you a better idea, and I would guess it’s in the high 90s.

Whatever you’re doing, keep it up. If you have all different kinds of books around, one day she may discover something she likes to read.

I asked the teacher to confirm what it meant and she said “This means Sophia is reading at a level expected of a 12th-grader.”

Sophia does like some books - she tackled Tolkien and Rowling with particular gusto (even reading The Simarillion). But, even then, we had to remind her and set goals - “no TV until 50 pages are done”, stuff like that.

I think you forget how much reading is just a part of life, compared to what it was when you were a kid. With the Internet, texting–stuff like that–she’s possibly doing more reading than you were at her age. She’s definitely doing more than the average 12-year-old would have done even 20 years ago.

I think you may be over estimating the abilities of a twelfth grader.

She doesn’t have to like reading to be good at it. In fact if she is really good at it the things that are appropriate content wise are probably boring her.

Making reading a chore to do is unlikely to get the response you want. She’s not going to love something just because you want her to.

Be grateful that she’s proficient in it, make sure that she reads what she needs to for school and make other options available but please stop making it a chore.

The tests are on comprehension after reading passages - at it’s core a logical pursuit. Reading in and of itself doesn’t necessarily lead to logical conclusions or even understanding. I don’t find it difficult to believe that a non-reader could logically figure out what a passage is trying to say. Like Moonlitherial says, you don’t have to like something to be good at it.

Besides, I distinctly remember those tests being stuff on the level of “Billy took his dog Rover with him to the store to get some milk. It was a sunny day and the sky was blue. Since dogs aren’t allowed in the store, Rover had to wait outside. Billy felt a little upset about that but went inside for the milk anyway.” with the questions being, “What was the weather like when Billy went to the store? A. Rainy, B. Overcast, C. Sunny, D. Snowing” and “Why did Billy feel sad? A. The milk was spoiled, B. It was raining, C. He didn’t have enough money, D. His dog had to wait outside”.

If I recall correctly, I was given a reading test in 8th grade and was told that I scored at the level of a university senior, i.e. nearly college grad level. If some of the stuff I’ve read about the so-called huge illiteracy problem that the English speaking world is facing is actually true, I wouldn’t be surprised if I really was that advanced. I was reading untranslated Middle English (Chaucer) by high school. Smale foweles made melodye that slept al the nyght with open iye.

No I don’t remember what test it was, but I believe it was some sort of standardized test, not some teacher’s individual test or judgment call.

If she hasn’t read it already, your daughter might like Anne of Green Gables. For supposed kidlit, it’s written at an astonishingly high reading level with complex and long passages with lots of advanced words. It’s also about a drooling fangirl who reads too much fantasy literature for her own good…

Plus a 12th grade reading level isn’t all that. Those of us that look at 12th grade as the step before heading off to college think its a level below college - but in isn’t quite - since a lot of 12th graders won’t GO to college. The ones that do have had 12th grade reading levels for a few years already.

My daughter is bright, but by no means is she headed to an Ivy - she took the ACT in 7th grade - and did well enough on it to get into a state college (not our state flagship, although if her math score had been higher…but she’d only had half a year of seventh grade Algebra). Yes, I’m bragging about my daughter - and simultaneously moaning about the quality of high school seniors.

Are you sure she doesn’t do a lot more reading? Most of the 12-year-olds I know spend all day texting, FaceBooking, etc. This may not be fine literature, but I’d be shocked if she spent less than three hours a day reading and writing.

And I’ll second the fact that a twelfth grade reading level means very little. It’s the minimum standard to graduate high school.

When I was a kid I was all up there in reading scores and I was not a “voracious reader.” Liked a few specific authors/series as a kid and was pretty much done reading outside of school assignments by 9th grade. Now as an adult I am lucky to get through 2 books a year.

But no one would accuse me of having poor reading skills. I run circles around most of the people I work with when it comes to reading and comprehending weird-ass emails from people who lack writing skills. I read shit on the Internet all day. I just don’t enjoy sitting down with a book.

If I had all the media that’s available to me now when I was a kid, I probably wouldn’t have read as much as I managed to. In fact, it was about the time that I started getting in to the Internet (well, BBSes) that I stopped reading.

I think it’s the Stanford Achievement that give results like that. I scored at a college level in 7th grade.

To me, as something of an educator, a test that tests the reading level of a 12 y/o and comes back saying her level is that of an 18 y/o is an odd test. Do they just keep going until it becomes too difficult for the student? In the education systems I know reading comprehension isn’t tested in this way at all after 12, at that age comprehension and grammar are supposed be good and you move on to other different ways of testing. Second languages are still tested that way, which is what I do.

So to say a 12 y/o has the reading comprehension of an 18 y/o makes sense to me. IOW I’m not convinced that the test is all that meaningful. But if you know more about the test, could you tell us more? I don’t know anything about US education.

From what I’ve read and seen, “grade-level” reading scales generally stop at 12th grade/high school graduation, or at the very latest at university (bachelor’s degree) graduation. There are no grad student reading levels or mad postdoc-level reading comprehension skillz.

After high school, you’re expected to have mastered enough grammar and have internalized a sufficient vocabulary size that you can go on to a university where you will concentrate on using your reading skills to improve your subject-matter knowledge and research skills. Are there scales that go far beyond that? E.g. can you be tested/assessed by exam as having the reading comprehension skills of the average PhD, even though you might lack the necessary subject matter knowledge and research skills to actually complete that PhD?

My son is an excellent reader who doesn’t care to read for pleasure. Like Scotty, his idea of relaxation is reading technical journals. The major impact, as far as I can tell, is that his writing skills are not on par with the rest of his abilities. He can write, and state facts reasonably well, but no one will ever read his writing for their own pleasure.

Yeah, that was my thought too. Granted, I graduated in a shitty school system, but I don’t recall many students in my graduating class who read more than a surfing magazine, and probably moved their lips while doing so.

And you’re wondering if it’s possible that she has the reading skills of an average 12th grader?

As an aside, does your family talk to each other a good deal? By twelve she’d have basic reading skills down and be working on gathering vocabulary and maybe adding complex sentence structures to her repertoire. Kids who don’t have access to speakers with large vocabularies and complex sentence structure have to get that kind of thing from books. You and your wife may be providing your daughter with a rich enough language environment that she doesn’t need to read as much to improve her reading skills.

The test is a standardized test given to all students at her school and around the state at certain levels, the STAAR test.

This is a relatively brand new test for Texas* students (the first was last year), so there is little familiarity with it. On the website, I don’t find a mention of “grade equivalency” scores (which caused my original question to the teacher in the first place), but the methodology seems to support the possibility of grade-equivalent scores being generated. (It’s too arcane to go into detail, but essentially you are given a test with an average 6th-grader expected to score, say, 1500 on it. If they score 1650, that’s a 7th-grade equivalency. If they scored a 1250, that’s a 5th-grade equivalency**. Apparently she scored high enough for them to compute that to a 12th-grade equivalency.)

Too many comments to go into one-by-one…

  1. Yes, she is likely reading a lot more in the “non-paper” way than I did as a child. However, there’s no way she’s reading 2 books per week on average on internet pages. She’s just not on that long. She has no phone. Her computer time is limited. She has no Facebook account, no email account, no texting account. And when she gets on the computer, she spends much of her time either making movies*** or playing games at Poptropica. Or STEMscopes (God, how I HATE Stemscopes! But that’s another rant.)

  2. “12th-grade equivalent” isn’t a big deal to most people on this Board, true, but it matters when you’re in the 6th grade. Context, people. :wink:

  3. On the other hand, I can see that it’s a minimum standard, one that many of you reading this hit at about the same age. But it was the same when I was her age, so the fact that “12th-grade equivalent” is almost meaningless in the adult world is not truly relevant, I guess. The only way it can be relevant is if the standard for what a “12th-grade reading level” is has dropped in and of itself. That is a more interesting (and harder to answer) question.

She is extremely good at English - went 18 spelling tests in a row without getting one question wrong, has not averaged less than a 96 in an English-related class over the past three years (literature and grammar), and she takes pride in being smart and identified as one of the “smart kids” in her class****.

I appreciate every one of the comments - thanks!

  • Please, no bashing of Texas or our stupid Board of Education. Save that for another thread if you may. :slight_smile:

** Numbers and examples completely made up.

*** Which reminds me, I need to do a thread about a good quality video-editing computer for her.

**** And you know what? I have to give a lot of credit (well, almost all of it) to her mother and, oddly enough, Doctor Who. Laura pushed Sophia to take ownership of her intelligence and one of the things that the two of them shared was DW*****. In the second grade, Sophie would be a very out there Doctor Who fan and would argue with the other kids (who had never heard of it) about how awesome it was. In the third grade, she withdrew a little bit because she got tired of the razzing… but then, more kids in her school started watching it. First one of the popular eight-grade girls(!)****** comes up to Sophia and in front of her entire class just exclaims over Sophia’s Tardis pin, going on about how she loved DW and who is your favorite alien, etc. Then more kids started watching it and now Sophia is seen, not as the odd smart kid, but as the first one in her grade to catch a fandom that swept the school last year.

***** The amount of stories we can tell about our DW adventures could fill another thread.

****** Having the big cool kids call you cool is a HUGE deal when you are in the fourth grade.

Sophia is an only child and not only do we talk to each other a lot, you cannot get neither her nor her mom to shut up, er, be quiet. :wink: All jokes aside, for the vast majority of her life prior to going to school, she only had two other adults to talk to.

And in regards to language, we never spoke baby talk with her. 90% of the time, we talked to her like we talked to each other, and the other 10% was simple verb-noun combinations - “Sophie, stop!” “Look at the dog, Sophia!” And when she started talking… damn, you couldn’t shut her up. She wouldn’t speak just words, rather long passages of mumbles with words in it. The kid started with sentences.

Dad reads. Mom reads. Dad has large bookcases (not as many before baby, though!) full of books, going through them one-by-one, while Mom is the sort that reads 2 or 3 (or 5) at a time.

I teach 12th graders.

I regret to inform you that your daughter is a moron.