John Liakos, 9, reads a book after school. (Emily Russo Miller Photo)
Usually students donâ€™t have to worry about taking collegiate-level tests until they are in the high school. But one fifth-grader has already taken a standardized test similar to the SAT three times, making him the youngest examinee at the ENMU-Roswell Testing Center.
The 9-year-old boy, John Liakos, took the School and College Ability Test (SCAT), an above-grade level exam, which measures math and verbal skills, as part of the talent search for John Hopkins Universityâ€™s Center for Talented Youth.
â€œWe just thought it was cool because heâ€™s so young,â€ Elaine Espinosa-Sims, director of Testing Services ENMU-R, said. â€œHeâ€™s our youngest tester ever.â€
If participants in the talent search score above the 95 percentile on the SCAT and pass the state test with honors, they become eligible for the summer learning program at John Hopkins and online academic classes.
â€œHe likes learning, and he is above grade level in the work that heâ€™s doing in school,â€ Cymantha Liakos, Johnâ€™s mother, said. She added that not only is she proud of his test scores, but â€œIâ€™m more proud that he works hard and is interested and excited about learning.â€
Liakos already took the test twice before in 2008 and 2009, scoring above the 95 percentile, but because of his age he was not eligible to take a JHU class. This year, however, he will be old enough to attend classes for three weeks on the Baltimore campus, should he again receive high scores on the test.
The JHU Center for Talented Youth, founded in 1979, gives highly able students an opportunity to nurture their intellectual abilities by providing greater academic challenges. About 63,000 students enrolled in the talent search last year, which identifies and assesses academic ability.