As it stands now, your child’s performance on standardized tests and IQ tests will be the primary factors affecting his or her future education. Although it may be convenient for the education system to separate children into gifted programs and intermediate classes, it fails to address the distinct learning styles and talents that vary from child to child. Unfortunately, this means that many children with talents in areas not included in this limited academic realm may not be able to discover and foster the development of their unique talents until later in life. On the bright side, recent shifts in opinion may change these rules forever.

Beginning with the most salient example, the use of the SAT score for college admissions has recently been challenged by author Joseph Soares in his new book SAT Wars. In the book, Soares points out that children from higher socio-economic backgrounds have a significant advantage on the test because they have better opportunities to prepare with private tutors and other costly studying tools. Furthermore, he found that high school G.P.A. was significantly more reflective of student success in college than an SAT score.

As a result of studies like these, almost 900 colleges now allow SAT-optional submission. Many online degree programs are also granting more leniency in their application process, focusing more on student essays instead of G.P.A. and standardized test scores. Some colleges have even gone as far as to abolish the grading system all together and are working toward that goal by de-emphasizing the value of grades and percentages that currently dominate academe.

Despite these recent reforms, elementary school students enrolled in public schools are still subject to standardized testing as early as second grade. Under the No Child Left Behind Act, students are expected to continue facing standardized tests throughout the rest of their public school careers. The scores on these tests will predict the future placement of each child and may even prevent a few of them from excelling to the next grade level. The way the system stands now, it’s easy to see how some talented students actually can get left behind.

However, the increase in challenges to standardized testing could potentially lead to more positive changes within the academic system. The primary goal of the leaders of this movement is to create an educational system that analyzes the potential of the child instead of qualifying each unique individual with a set of numbers. It exemplifies the idea that children are more complex and talented than a standardized test score might indicate. Because every child is unique and has unique strengths and weaknesses, these should be addressed by examining the child’s learning patterns and approaching these in the most effective way possible.

If a child’s talent and development were not limited by a narrow standardized test, then it’s possible that more children would be able to uncover their talents earlier and recognize what gives them a greater value than any standardized test score could ever reflect.