NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing

Summer is almost over and AABL testing begins

Summer is almost over and AABL testing begins. So long WWPSI and hello AABL! The new test given to preschoolers vying for a spot in the most competitive private school kindergartens in New York City.  This new test, called the AABL, is just another one to add to the array of tests given to 4-year-olds in the most competitive city the world. Depending on where you live and what schools you are interested in your child attending your child can take up to 4 tests! I suppose that’s one test for every year they have been alive. Here’s the breakdown:

  1. OLSAT test – given to preschoolers for entry in the NYC gifted and talented program from the New York City Department of ed. A child get retake the test every year up through 2nd grade if they don’t qualify.
  2. NNAT-2 test – this is also given to preschoolers for entry in the NYC gifted and talented program from the New York City Department of ed.
  3. Stanford-Binet test – this is given to kids who are applying to Hunter College Elementary School gifted program
  4. AABL – the test formerly called the ERB (aka WPPSI) given to kids applying to kindergarten private schools in NYC.

I know, it’s enough to make your head spin but I suppose it’s just part of the vetting process where every parent must decide what’s best for their child and their particular situation.

You can get lots of free sample questions for the AABL test at

NYC parents distraught with gifted and talented scores
April 14, 2014, 7:49 am
Filed under: nnat test, OLSAT Test | Tags: ,

The scores are in! It seems many NYC parents are distraught with gifted and talented scores received by their talented tot. According to Testing Mom (the site with thousands of practice questions for the OLSAT test and the NNAT test).

Obviously, these comments from parents are way out of line and very concerning. Testing Mom said she doesn’t condone or approve of these comments but wanted to give people an idea of how intense some New York City parents get when the G&T test scores get released. I feel bad for the poor kids of these parents as some of these comments are just plain mean!

  • “I thought my son was well prepared for OLSAT test from the few practice questions provided by the Dept. of Ed. How did he get score  of 48? I am so disappointed in him and as a mother.  I started practicing with him today but now have to wait another year.”
  • “I think my son has ADHD, if only I put him on meds prior to this test he would have been able to sit, focus and As the verbal section.  He did so awesome on the nonverbal score. Trying to figure out what wrong. “
  • “He scored 88th percentile which is ok but still disappointing! I’m trying not to look at him differently but it’s hard not to right now. I thought he was so smart but now I realize he’s just average like his father (my ex).”
  • “I’m shocked at how our child could have scored so low on the OLSAT and so high on the NNAT-2 test but since signing up on Friday I can see how. We thought she’d breeze through the verbal OLSAT test but now I know better.”

My jaw dropped (literally!) after reading these comments from parents but I suppose they were being honest about their feelings. I hope they get over the initial shock quickly and start supporting their child emotionally.

What is the CogAT test?
October 11, 2013, 2:11 pm
Filed under: cogat test, OLSAT Test | Tags: ,

Many New York City parents want to know “What is the CogAT test?”  Although the OLSAT test and NNAT-2 test are the two tests for gifted and talented admissions the CogAT is actually much more popular and widely used across the US. The CogAT, standing for Cognitive Abilities Test, is absolutely not an IQ test. Instead, it’s a test designed to assess a student’s cognitive capabilities like the OLSAT and NNAT exams. These capabilities are not traditional learned knowledge like reading and math. Rather, they’re natural skills which can be shaped and sharpened, but not taught in school.

The purpose of the CogAT test is to assess how cognitively developed a student is at different points during their academic career. While the CogAT does not test intelligence, experts believe that there is a strong link between highly developed cognitive abilities, high academic performance and high intelligence.

Here’s an sample question that a child can expect on the CogAT test. As you can tell, it’s very difficult!

cogat test practice questions

The CogAT test has three main portions:

  1. verbal
  2. quantitative
  3. non-verbal reasoning

These are believed to be the areas of cognitive thinking which relate most closely to academic performance. The above example of CogAT practice questions are from Testing Mom (the site with 100 free practice questions).

Since cognitive abilities are a natural gift, the CogAT has been designed in several versions. This makes it applicable to students of every age, from kindergarten and 1st grade all the way through senior year of high school. Read more about CogAT

Time to register for NYC gifted and talented testing

Well folks, it’s time to register for NYC gifted and talented testing for this coming January and February! The deadline to register is November 8, 2013 so make sure you sign-up soon. Is your talented tot ready for the upcoming OLSAT test and NNAT test? If not, make sure you visit Testing Mom for 100 free practice questions to get started. Let’s see….the major changes (or not changes) for this year:

  • The OLSAT test (Otis-Lennon School Abilities test) now accounts for 50% of the test score and the NNAT-2 test accounts for the other 50%. Last year, the OLSAT was 35% while the Naglieri Non-verbal Test was 65%.
  • It looks like the Dept. of Ed. will continue to use the NNAT and the OLSAT test for admissions even with the huge debacle last year from Pearson (the publisher of the test) and the scoring errors of the thousands of tests. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget about the DOE “losing” over 400 tests that caused these children to retake the test. Makes you wonder what drama will unfold this year!
  • The sibling policy remains the same as previous years so no change there. Great news for parents with more than one child and not-so-great news for those parents with only one child.  It’s all based upon your personal circumstances on which side you fall on this argument of sibling policy.
  • The gifted and talented information sessions for parents are in new locations and also Manhattan and Brooklyn have their information sessions on the same night and same time. I appreciate the DOE efforts on these G&T information sessions but it’s basically a regurgitation of the handbook so there’s really no need attend if you think you’re going to get additional questions answered beyond the handbook. Here’s a breakdown of the information session for parents hosted by the NYC Dept of Ed.:

nyc gifted and talented information sessions

Will NYC Gifted and Talented Test go to 50 50 split?
September 28, 2013, 8:47 pm
Filed under: nnat test, OLSAT Test | Tags: ,

Well, rumors are flying around about possible changes to the OLSAT and NNAT-2 test coming up this January and Feburary. Will the NYC gifted and talented test go to 50 50 split? (instead of the 65 35 split like last year). Well, according to a recent article from WNYC about the screw-ups on the scoring of the regents test this quote is nicely tucked at the bottom of the article:

Department of Education spokeswoman Erin Hughes told WNYC that the change was made because the city would be able to get more data on how its students performed.

“Last year, the D.O.E. did not have data on the performance of New York City students” on the Naglieri test, she said.  “For this reason, the D.O.E. used data from the national samples for these tests in the 2012-13 scoring methodology.”

This year, Hughes explained, the city is returning to its old methodology, the Normal Curve Equivalency, and will weight each exam equally.

I suppose we’ll find out when the gifted and talented handbooks are published in the next couple of weeks but after last year’s screw-ups who knows what the Dept. of Ed. will do this year!

Back to school time for NYC gifted and talented
August 6, 2013, 11:44 am
Filed under: nnat test, NYC Gifted and Talented Program, OLSAT Test | Tags: ,

Well, it’s back to school time for NYC gifted and talented students across the city. Only 4 more weeks until the first official day of school on September 9, 2013.  Now’s the time for parents to make sure their talented tot is ready for the upcoming school year with mental exercises to get them in tip-top shape.  I noticed that Testing Mom (the site with 100 free practice questions) now has online school enrichment activities along with over 25,000 practice questions for gifted and talented. Including practice the Stanford-binet, WPPSI – ERB test, OLSAT test and NNAT-2 test. It’s a great time to make sure your child starts at the head of the class with the new enrichment activities from the makers for Brain Pop, Smart Math, Encyclopedia Britannica and Miss Humblebee’s Academy and more!

Parents mad about number of gifted and talented rejection letters

Well, it looks like there are many parents mad about the number of gifted and talented rejection letters sent out this year, even those who received scores in the 99th percentile.  According to the article in DNA Info:

  • Siblings received 72 out of the 304 spots available for the city-wide gifted and talented Kindergarten programs. With the sibling preference, the sibling only has to score in the 97th percentile to get into the city-wide and is placed ahead of the non-siblings test takers who got a 98th or even 99th percentile ranking.  This means the siblings took approximately 23% of the available seat in the city-wide G&T Kindergarten program.
  • This also means that 2,755 non-siblings now fight over the remaining 232 available spots which is approximately 8% acceptance rate.
  • The department of ed. added even more gifted and talented seats wih 10 more kindergarten sections across the city but the number of offers made to families dramatically decreased from 82.7 percent last year to 68.5 percent. This is for both city-wide and district-wide programs combined. This is also due to the fact the DOE stopped guaranteeing seats this year for any qualifying child going into Kindergarten and first grade.

To put  all of this into perspective here are the acceptance rates at the Ivy League Colleges:

Well, if these numbers aren’t scary for parents I’m not sure what is.  The good news is  sites like Testing Mom can help prepare children for the NNAT-2 test and OLSAT test for the NYC gifted and talented program.

Gifted and talented placement letters sent

Well, it looks like the DOE sent out the gifted and talented placement letters to all the anxious parents waiting for the results! From what I’m hearing there were many disappointed parents who didn’t get any placement at all – even if their talented tot made in the 99th percentile on the OLSAT and NNAT test. So, we’ll see what happens this week as more parents contact the G&T office on Monday at  (212) 374-6646.

I do find it interesting they always release information on Friday afternoon which I suppose is a good strategy to give parents a couple of days to cool down from the big disappointment if their child didn’t get a placement into the much coveted gifted and talented program here in New York City.

District gifted and talented test scores

Well, if you were wondering how the district gifted and talented test scores stacked up for this past testing (in January – Feb. 2013) the results are in!  As you can see below, the number of 99th percentiles for the NNAT-2 and OLSAT test increased dramatically compared to the previous year.  Overall, the biggest increase seems from District 2 and 3 in Manhattan and  District 20, 24, 25 and 26 in Brooklyn.  I’m still puzzled how so many more children qualified for the NYC G&T program compared to the previous years since the NNAT test seems like it would be much more difficult, at least from the practice questions that are on

Gifted and talented test results for New York City by district. Includes district scores for Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens and the Bronx.

Gifted and talented test results for New York City by district. Includes district scores for Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens and the Bronx.


Lawsuit claims New York City’s gifted and talented testing process is flawed

According to the Wall Street Journal, a lawsuit claims New York City’s gifted and talented testing process is flawed. A group of parents filed the lawsuit against the Dept. of Ed. late in the afternoon Thursday, May 16, 2013. The group of parents claim the sibling preference in scoring isn’t fair due to the number of limited seats available for the must sought after gifted and talented program here in NYC.  The DOE did change the sibling policy for scoring preference in October 2012 but soon retracted it due to parents complaining about the change – all of whom have more than one child so it was somewhat of a self-serving complaint against the DOE. The DOE did originally stated in their G&T handbook in October 2012 that there will be a drastic change to the sibling policy for G&T placement which was basically making it a fair playing level field.  This was then removed from the gifted and talented testing handbook in January 2013.

I do feel for these parents who had to go to the extreme of filing a lawsuit against the department of education but when there’s little to no communication from this establishment there’s no other recourse except working through the legal system. We’ll see what happens next. Just when I thought the ongoing snafus from the department of ed. would end…well, I was totally wrong on that one. We’ll see how this impacts the future scoring of the NNAT-2 test and OLSAT test for this coming school year. That is, if the DOE will even use these tests any longer due to Pearson’s (the test publisher) screw ups.


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