I am so tired of the tests and percentiles and where my child falls on the chart. How about measuring his wonderfulness? Or maybe his flatulence? That'd be a high number.
Education Humor Parenting Special Needs

70th Percentile in Bad Joke Telling (And Other Test Scores I’d Actually Enjoy Seeing)

I am so tired of the tests and percentiles and where my child falls on the chart. How about measuring his wonderfulness? Or maybe his flatulence? That'd be a high number.

By Jennifer Brunton of Full Spectrum Mama

Dear Persons,

This spring, I received the voluminous results of a huge barrage of testing for my son G’s three-year evaluation for his IEP (Individualized Education Plan). Among many, many, many other outcomes, I was informed that G had scored under the first percentile in “Irony.”

Although we have had him on a strict Monty Python/Austin Powers program for some time, and the kid has a fantastic sense of humor, we realize that perhaps he may well be lacking in “Irony.” Like many individuals who don’t fit the typical “norms” or test “average” in many areas, G excels (sometimes extraordinarily) in some areas and is less skilled (sometimes remarkably so) in others.

In my experience, these sorts of test results – lower than expected, very uneven — are actually “normal” for many people on the autism spectrum, people with ADHD, people with sensory processing differences, people who are neurodivergent and/or disabled and/or differently-abled and/or quirky and/or don’t care about testing…

Just once, though, I’d like to receive some test results along the following lines:

Dear Dr. Full Spectrum Mama,

Here are our test results for your accepted-just-as-he-is child.

G scored in the 70th percentile for “Telling Bad Jokes.” Although we found that his jokes were generally pretty lame, and noted, significantly, that he was almost always the only one laughing at said jokes, his score was slightly lower because he at times did, in fact, stop telling jokes, especially when asked to “stop repeating that joke which we have already heard seven times.” Still, this is a respectable “Telling Bad Jokes” score, and something he should feel good about.

We noted several areas of growth. G’s “Confidence in the Face of a Lot of Really Daunting Obstacles” outcome has improved by 50 percentage points – to the 88th percentile — since he was last evaluated in his former school where he was getting bullied. Also improved were his ratings in “Zipping Pants” (up by 20 to 61st percentile), “Blowing Nose Rather Than Just Letting Snot Drip Down” (up by 15 to 56th), and  “Overall Executive Function” (up by 3 to 4th).

His “Amazing Metaphorical/Metaphysical Insights Not Necessarily Appreciated by Peers but Mind-Blowing for Adults” score remains very high (92nd percentile), as corroborated by many of his teachers in the narrative portion of the evaluation; while the closely- related “Willingness to Write It Down According to Assignment, Dang-it” score remains alarmingly low (5th percentile).  

We would also like to raise some concerns around the fact that G’s “Remembering School Stuff” score of 8th percentile does not seem to match his remarkable achievements in the areas of “Remembering How Many Days I Have Been Dating ___“ (98th percentile), or “Remembering the Tiniest Details About Every Pokemon, Ever” (99th percentile).

His IEP should reflect the need for accommodation in the former area, yet also take into account the possibility that G may have an asymmetrical range of priorities specific to his own…priorities.

Some of his strongest scores were in “Wonderfulness” (85th percentile; this score was mitigated by “Teenage Rote Sullenness” [45th]); “Interest in Girls” (98th percentile; this test is administered according to self-reported sexual preference and controls for Trying-to-act-like-you-are-not-thinking-about-____-All.The.Time); and “Thinking About Pokemon” (90th percentile; down nine points from previous score – possibly offset by “Interest in Girls”). “Knowing the Names of Pixies, David Bowie, Nirvana, and Red Hot Chili Peppers Songs,” at 65th percentile, was also solidly above average. 

He should continue to build on these strengths.

Although he scored just above average in “Teenage Boy Flatulence” (58th percentile), when measured against the general population, G’s gassiness was easily in the top 10%.

Most importantly, for being unfailingly kind and polite (even thankful!) to our extensive testing staff, and for countless other reasons, G scored off the charts (above the 99th percentile!) in “Being Himself.”


The Testing People


Full Spectrum Mama

This post was originally published on Full Spectrum Mama.


About the Author

Full Spectrum Mama continues to navigate a FULL spectrum of family triumphs and disastrophes, some of which she shares on her blog at fullspectrummama.blogspot.com.