NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing

Change is a good thing, right?

Changes to NYC Gifted and Talented qualification process

NYC Department of Ed. announced a hybrid lottery / questionnaire/assessment system to replace the Gifted and Talented test that has been given in the past for entry into the NYC Gifted and Talented.  

What is known so far

Of course, the press articles about this change are contradictory.  Parents are anxiously awaiting for clarification from the DOE on the specifics of how this will work.  Here’s what what is known so far:

  1. March 8, 2021 – parents can express interest in the gifted and talented program for your child. Bottom line, start sucking up to your child’s pre-K teacher so they will recommend your child. I’ve had parents ask me if they should give gift cards or cash to their child’s pre-K teacher to get a recommendation. Of course, that’s highly inappropriate and I wouldn’t recommend it. Although, I’m sure some teachers would appreciate the funds.
  2. Following that, your child’s preschool will (and this is where the articles contradict, see below) a) conduct an evaluation or b) complete a questionnaire (an assessment vs. a questionnaire isn’t clear) to determine your child’s fitness for the accelerated program.  
  3. If your child is deemed eligible to apply, you will be notified in mid-May.
  4. Your family will then apply for a specific seat and will be entered into a lottery with other eligible students.

These changes will ONLY impact gifted and talented asses beginning Fall of 2021.  In the meantime, Mayor de Blasio says they will rethink the G&T program for future years over the next few months.  The new mayor (elected in 2021) will ultimately decide what happens to the gifted and talented program. Current frontrunner for NYC Mayor, Andrew Yang, is a big proponent of the gifted programs in NYC and realizes its importance for families to stay in the city due to the popularity.  

Here are some articles about what was just announced about the upcoming changes.  

Many Details Still Not Known

Will the child’s preschool assess the child based on an instrument provided to them OR will the preschool answer questions via a questionnaire/checklist about the child’s abilities?

What kindergarten readiness skills will be assessed or asked about?  Will they be cognitive (thinking), academic (reading, math, writing) or “soft” skills (listening, following directions, etc.) or some combination of these?

What about students in K – 2nd grade – can they apply for G&T?

If your child qualifies for the lottery, how many schools will you be able to apply to?  Will you be able to list your preferences in order?  Or will you only be able to apply for “a specific seat” in one school?  

Many other details have not yet been announced.  

What does my child need to know or be able to do to qualify for the G&T lottery?  This has not been announced yet.  However, most likely the assessment or the questionnaire would cover kindergarten readiness skills.  Kindergarten readiness skills include any of the following:

  • Verbal Reasoning (thinking around verbal skills – aural reasoning, verbal analogies, verbal classification)
  • Quantitative and Nonverbal Reasoning (thinking around math – shapes, patterns, figural classification, figural or mathematical analogies)
  • Early Literacy (pre-reading, letter sounds, sight words)
  • Early Math (counting, early addition and subtraction, relativity, size/comparisons/left/right)
  • Early Knowledge/Skills – colors, numbers, letters, early reading behaviors, print behaviors, math behaviors, social skills, gross and fine motor skills, school readiness behaviors such as language, listening, following directions, cooperating, focusing, staying on task, turn taking, and more)

What’s the future of NYC gifted and talented testing?
November 13, 2020, 1:48 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

With the pandemic still ravaging the city it’s difficult to determine if schools will remain open, let alone the future of the NYC Gifted and Talented program. The test publisher, Pearson, has yet to be awarded the contract for testing this school year for the OLSAT and NNAT tests. Since testing takes place in January there’s very little time to let parents know what’s going to happen to testing this year, if at all. The same thing seems to be occurring with selective high school admissions testing with the SSHAT. If there’s a year of no testing what does that mean for next school year? Where are all the students going to attend school in the fall of 2021?

The good news for parents this school year is many were able to move up FAST on the waitlist for the G&T placements since so many other families have left the city for suburbia or in many cases to other states with lower taxes than New York. Not sure how all this remote learning is working for new students who are in kindergarten. These poor parents having to put their child in front of a Zoom session for their first day of kindergarten? And now it’s come to light that some of NYC teachers are now instructing students from their cars (yes, CARS!) and some even from the comfort of a hammack. What could possibly go wrong with an entire school year of remote “learning”. The outcome of this could be much more devastating than the pandemic.

Many students are sleeping during class or playing video games. How is a teacher suppose to control and teach 20-30 students via Zoom? It’s hard enough when they are in the physical classroom. Some school are reporting attendance as low as 18%! That means if a school has 500 students only 90 students are showing up (online or in person). I suppose this is a good way to fix the overcrowding problem in NYC schools. Recent reports indicate that 36,000 students have officially left NYC schools over the past two months. This is a sign of huge mass exodus out of the city since some parents don’t take the time to even unenroll their children from school and just scram out of town.

What happens if Gifted and Talented goes away for good?

G&T goodbye? Or not?

Many parents are wondering what the heck happens if G&T goes away for good? What about those parents who have one child in the gifted program and have a 2 or 3 year old at home who will now have to go to a separate school. Talk about the ultimate in morning drama trying to schlep two young children to two different schools (and in some cases to two different boroughs)! What happens if it’s a single parent who doesn’t have the resources to hire a nanny, private driver or Uber every day to do the back and forth from school.

I’ve been reading about another cluster of an idea from the DOE which is allowing parents to choose from their local school by their home or they can choose a school by their work. How about we think about that one for 30 seconds and what a complete and utter disaster that would be. First, over 8 million people work in Manhattan on a given day and schools in Manhattan are already overcrowded. What about people who get someone to lie for them about their work address? Oh, I’m sure that would NEVER happen with New Yorkers. Don’t you agree? The possibilities are endless of how parents would attempt to game the system to benefit their child. But hey, who can blame a mom or dad who wants the best education for their child. I suppose this is possibly a make-shift charter school run by the DOE? Like all ideas from the DOE I’m sure they are done with the best intentions (wink, wink!). If implemented, this would be the biggest mistake the DOE could make with the exception of doing away with the NYC Gifted and Talented program altogether.

There is one school in Brooklyn that decided to do away with their gifted and talented program next year. We’ll see how that plays out over time. The school said they are taking matters into their own hands and moving to abolish the program to provide “enrichment” for all students. I still have yet to hear what they are defining as “enrichment”. This is such a broad term and defined by everyone differently.  If it’s up to each G&T school to determine its fate then it’s safe to say that almost all of the programs will stay in place because of three reasons:

  1. Schools that have G&T programs score significantly higher on ELA and math common core testing done in the spring. This helps the overall score for the school since the scores are combined with the general ed students. The DOE doesn’t separate the G&T students scores vs. the general ed students scores.
  2. Gifted and talented students, for the most part, have parents who have more disposable income to donate to the PTA at the school. This helps with the overall success of the school if there’s a strong PTA with money to spend.
  3. Schools with gifted and talented programs do provide popularity to parents who may be considering private school. The G&T program offers a viable alternative to paying $55,000/year for kindergarten at a NYC private school.  If the G&T program goes away then thousands of NYC parents will seriously consider private school or moving to the suburbs.

It’s been way too quiet from the NYC Dept. of Ed. on any changes to the NYC gifted and talented program which tells me they may be up to their not-so-old tricks. We shall see.  There’s a great article in the USA Today that outlines all the drama in NYC as it pertains to this popular yet controversial program.

More rumors abound about the future of the NYC Gifted and Talented Program
December 28, 2019, 2:13 pm
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program

It ain’t over until the fat lady sings!

It’s been a few months since the secret commission wrote the report to completely abolish the NYC G&T program as we know it today if not all together. Desperate and frantic parents are scrambling to find out as much information as possible about the future of the program. The DOE is exploring the option of providing “enrichment” for students in lieu of gifted and talented education. Ask 100 parents their definition of “enrichment” and guess what? You’ll get 100 very different answers. The Gifted and Talented Program consists of only 1% of the entire student population for NYC public schools and it’s by far one of the most popular program. Why abolish it instead of trying to fix issues like providing the G&T programs in underrepresented area and for any student who qualifies give them a seat instead of thrown into a random lottery.

It seems now that everyone is calling the NYC G&T program racist or those who want to keep it are calling the ones who want to abolish it racist. When everyone is racist, then no one is racist. Just because some want it and some don’t makes neither group racist. It’s about providing the best education for all children in the city and making sure the best and brightest have access to accelerated learning, no matter what their zip code or neighborhood.

The beat goes on, or so it seems, until we hear the final decision from the powers at be about the G&T program. Now that De Blasio is off the Presidential campaign trail I’m sure he’ll now put focus back on the schools.

Time for second round of Hunter!
December 16, 2019, 12:11 pm
Filed under: hunter elementary gifted talented, Stanford-Binet | Tags:

Well, the results are in for Hunter Round 2 and hundreds of parents are ecstatic that their talented tot made it to Round 2 of Hunter College Elementary School! This doesn’t mean it’s over, quite the contrary. This is the first barrier to entry as these parents rev up for Round 2 where the best of the best 4 year-olds in Manhattan head for the group sessions. This can be even more stressful and agonizing for parents since there are many more unknown variables since there will be 25-30 other kids in the same classroom.

Approximately 3,000 Manhattan children take the Stanford-Binet for Round 1 of  Hunter each year. After that, the top 250-300 then move on to Round 2 which is where we are at today. After that, there are a total of 50 students admitted into their kindergarten program (25 girls and 25 boys). During elementary school, kindergarten is the only entry point. The good news is there is a wait-list for those who don’t make a final count but don’t get too excited since there are only 24 kids on the wait list (12 girls and 12 boys). Kids from all five boroughs can apply to Hunter College High School which begins in 7th grade.

What is Hunter REALLY looking for in a student?  And yes, don’t believe the so-called claims that Hunter cannot be preppred for. Quite the contrary.  Most families do some sort of prep although there are the outliers of parents who leave their child’s educational future to chance and do absolutely nothing. If you’re reading this blog post  I’m sure you fall into the former rather than the latter.  With Hunter, you’re basically getting a private school education for free and who doesn’t want to save over $50,000 a year in private school tuition.

Some of the things they are looking for in Round 2 is anything that’s symbolic language with math, pictures, directions, pieces of puzzles, etc. The more advanced the pre-K student is at fully understanding presentation of the object, as oppose to the object itself, the better the child will do in Round 2.

Plans to abolish NYC Gifted and Talented Program
August 29, 2019, 11:21 am
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program | Tags:

Well folks, it looks like the NYC Gifted and Talented Program may be coming to an abrupt end if the current Chancellor of the NYC Dept. of Ed. has his druthers.  The jury came back with a strong and resounding GUILTY verdict as it pertains to alleged unfairness, racist and downright elitist program for the gifted and talented. Everyone, of course, has the right to their own opinion but this so called committee obviously had it in for the G&T program before they even officially met.  They took their marching orders from the Chancellor and got in line with his own personal agenda of doing away with one of the few silver linings of the NYC public school programs.  Based upon the report, the committee is now suggesting desegregation of students so every school in New York City eventually represents the same exact demographic by race. Welcome back to the 1970’s where children were bused to various schools that were in some cases an hour (or more) from their home all in the name of “fairness”. For those of us old enough to remember we know how that ended (spoiler alert: it was a complete disaster).  Many things seem so good in theory until you actually think through the consequences, and one if this ridiculous proposal made by a bunch of political hacks.  In other words, did they even think through this? Based upon what I read, that answer is NO! No big surprise there.  Here are initial thoughts of what comes to mind:

  • There are major benefits to some district wide programs that have GT classes if the gen ed program isn’t strong. The GT classes raise the overall state scores. It also looks good on the city to have some schools (Anderson, NEST) score super high on state tests.
  • School overcrowding if the G&T program goes away is another issue – downtown, UES, UWS , Park Slope – many kids in these areas go to GT programs. If the GT programs go away all of the sudden there are hundreds/thousands vying for space at an already overcrowded gen ed school.
  • There will be a mass exodus of GT teachers if the program goes away. Many GT teachers only want GT students since it makes their job easier.
  • There will be a mass exodus of families from NYC who can’t afford private school (over $50,000 a year) and their new public option of mediocrity isn’t suitable for their child.  They will all move to the suburbs.
  • The solution should be more GT programs throughout the city (especially in under represented areas), not less. When we have a bunch of political hacks running the DOE so what else should we expect.  Many parents in areas like the Bronx still have no idea this program is even available for their child.
  • How about making the G&T test required for all U pre-K students and parents can “opt out” if they want to. This would dramatically increase the number of minority students (Hispanics and African Americans) admitted into the program based upon the sheer volume of students who would end up taking the exam.

Here are a couple of good articles written by Alina Adams on the topic:

People always ask how did someone like Giuliani ever become mayor New York City. Well folks, it’s when things like this happen that even the most staunch liberals are outraged and they will for sure go to the ballot box in 2021 when the new mayor of New York City is elected.  De Blasio isn’t eligible to run for mayor again after his 2nd term in office. I know, such a shame.  Maybe he’ll end up being President?

Hunter College Elementary Unsolved Mysteries
August 19, 2019, 3:39 pm
Filed under: hunter elementary gifted talented | Tags: ,

Answers to the mystery surrounding Hunter College Elementary School.

Hunter College Elementary is a nonpublic school and is not part of the NYC Dept of Ed. Good news! It’s tuition free and if your child is one of the lucky 50 that make it they can attend school there from kindergarten through 12th grade! The program is designed for highly gifted children who are evaluated by a trained psychologist and given an abbreviated version of the Stanford-Binet.  To apply, go to the web site and it opens at the end of August every year through early November.  The test is administered in the fall and the same year your child takes the NYC gifted and talented test.

Once you register on the site, Hunter gives you a list of four or five licensed and Hunter-approved psychologists who can administer an IQ test for your child. The date that your child takes the test on matters, so please make sure you find out the optimal date to take the test. Need help determining the date? Email the folks at and they can help you out! If your child makes the cutoff after round 1, he or she will then be invited to a second round of testing.

Each year, well over 3,000 Manhattan children take the Hunter test. The top 250 to 300 then move on to second round, after which 25 boys are admitted and 25 girls are admitted. 12 boys go on the wait list, 12 girls go on the wait list, and that is it.  If your child makes it to the wait list don’t give up hope! Some years the waitlist moves very fast and it held open up until 2nd grade.

Kindergarten is the only entry point for elementary school and after that, their next entry point is high school, which is 7th grade (the admissions test is given in 6th grade and your child must score well on the state ELA and math test to get an invite to take the test). Hunter fiercely warns parents: do NOT prep your child! They even say that prepping doesn’t work. If that’s the case, why would they give a hoot if a parent prepares their talented tot. Doesn’t make any sense. Another contradiction of the complex world of kindergarten admissions in New York City!

Social Emotional Learning in the Gifted and Talented Classroom
May 7, 2019, 5:21 am
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program | Tags: ,

Incorporate social emotional learning (SEL) into your child’s first year of school

Over the past few weeks there’s been tons of chatter about the G&T test scores that were recently released by the NYC dept of ed. Now that parents are focusing on the first day of G&T kindergarten you want to make sure your child is equipped for the social emotional learning required in the gifted classroom. If you’ve never heard of social-emotional learning (aka SEL) it’s the newest trend in education across the nation. Districts across America are now developing curriculum specifically for SEL.

As parents our goal is to make sure our child is a lifelong learner and become completely independent as they grow into adulthood. We also need to make sure we focus on the emotional well being of our children as they enter the classroom, especially the first day of kindergarten.

Scheduling is very important to young children and creating the routine for school the weeks before school begins. Make sure you’re focusing on going to bed early and waking up at the same time school starts so your child’s internal body clock is fully adjusted on day one of G&T kindergarten.  It’s also important to teach your child that when they start school they will have classmates that may look different than them or believe in different things. A good tip to tell your child is “wouldn’t it be boring if everyone in the world was exactly the same?”.  Of course it would be!  The first days of school are a great way to educate your child on differences and similarities with their new classmates.


SEL – Social Emotional Learning Flash Cards available on Amazon

As parents it’s important we create early learners that want to collaborate with others and learn from other kids along with supporting others. When we present our child with hard, challenging problems, what do they do when they fail? How does your child handle failure? Now’s a good time to start discussing failure and explain that it’s part of the learning process.  Don’t be afraid of failure, rather use it as a learning tool for your child’s long term educational success.

In today’s world there are no jobs where collaboration with others isn’t happening and working on a team is required.  During the early years in school it’s about your child having a chance to learn about themselves and about other classmates. How to work well with others and being part of a team.

As the NYC G&T school placements are announced good luck to your rising G&T student!  Make sure you add social emotional learning to your home curriculum.  Also, bring it up to your child’s teacher and I’m sure the teacher will agree how important it is for a child’s success in and out of the classroom.

NYC Gifted and Talented Test Results Released!

All the parents can breath a sigh of relief as the NYC Dept of Ed. release this the Gifted and Talented Test Scores for OLSAT and NNAT.

For the pre-K students who took the test there was a slight decrease (25% to 24%) of kids who qualified for the NYC gifted and talented program (both citywide and district wide programs). There was a significant decrease for children applying to 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade with a large drop in the percentage of kids eligible for the test.

Here’s what happened this year for talented tots who took the test in January 2019 (from the NYC Dept. of Ed.):

Comparison of scores from January 2019 vs. scores from January 2018

Total number of students tested in January 2019

Applying Grade Tested Ineligible
Total 32,841 24,891
K 15,153 11,469
1 7,506 5,797
2 5,782 4,228
3 4,400 3,397


2019 Total number of students eligible for District Wide only (90th to 96th percentile combined score on OLSAT and NNAT)

Applying Grade District Eligible Only % District Eligible Only
Total 5,342 16%
K 2,272 15%
1 1,162 15%
2 1,225 21%
3 683 16%

2019 Total number of students eligible for Citywide only (97th to 99th percentile combined score on OLSAT and NNAT)

Applying Grade Citywide Eligible % Citywide Eligible
Total 2,608 8%
K 1,412 9%
1 547 7%
2 329 6%
3 320 7%


2019 Total number of students eligible for both District Wide and Citywide only (90th to 99th percentile combined score on OLSAT and NNAT)

Applying Grade All Eligible % Eligible
Total 7,950 24%
K 3,684 24%
1 1,709 23%
2 1,554 27%
3 1,003 23%

For comparison, here are the results from January 2018 test takers.

Total number of students tested in January 2018

Applying Grade Tested Ineligible
Total 32,516 23,482
K 14,450 10,791
1 7,866 5,544
2 5,587 4,019
3 4,613 3,128

2018 Total number of students eligible for District Wide only (90th to 96th percentile combined score on OLSAT and NNAT)

Applying Grade District Eligible Only % District Eligible Only
Total 5,912 18%
K 2,100 15%
1 1,572 20%
2 1,183 21%
3 1,057 23%

2018 Total number of students eligible for Citywide only (97th to 99th percentile combined score on OLSAT and NNAT)

Applying Grade Citywide Eligible % Citywide Eligible
Total 3,122 10%
K 1,559 11%
1 750 10%
2 385 7%
3 428 9%

2018 Total number of students eligible for both District Wide and Citywide only (90th to 99th percentile combined score on OLSAT and NNAT)

Applying Grade All Eligible % Eligible
Total 9,034 28%
K 3,659 25%
1 2,322 30%
2 1,568 28%
3 1,485 32%

Hunter College Elementary Test Prep Tips
April 5, 2019, 2:10 pm
Filed under: hunter elementary gifted talented, Stanford-Binet | Tags:

Hunter College Elementary School application process begins in August!

Hunter College Elementary is not a public school and not part of the NYC DOE (Dept. of Education). That’s what I call fake news. It’s actually closer to being a tuition free private school kindergarten through high school or possibly a charter school since the money comes from New York State.  The teachers at Hunter don’t have to follow common core curriculum, and in many cases the kids don’t have to take the state ELA and math tests.

Going into kindergarten, the child needs to be a Manhattan resident to apply at the kindergarten. Some people may say, “I know a child from Brooklyn or Staten Island that attends Hunter”.  In this case, the child must have gotten admitted in 7th grade since it opens to all boroughs at that point.

Here are some scary numbers. Over 3,000 4-year-olds take the Stanford-Binet test to qualify for Round 2, out of that number Hunter takes 250-300 lucky students who get into the 2nd round. In the end, only 25 girls and 25 boys make the cut (along with 12 and 12 on the wait lists). Hunter only has a wait list until second grade and there many cases of kids making into the program off the the wait list.  If your child is on the waitlist don’t give up hope, you may end up getting that call so make sure you answer your phone!

Here are the details on the test given to make it to Round 2:

  • Hunter administers a modified version of the Stanford-Binet V (IQ test).
  • There are different components to the test and the psychologist assesses many abilities for every child.
  • The test is given in a one-on-one setting in the licensed psychologist’s private office. These are pre-selected by Hunter and you’ll receive a list of 5 to select from when you sign-up your child for the Stanford-Binet.
  • This test does rely on a large verbal component and it’s not a time for your child to shut down and not talk. It seems that the kids who do well on this test are very verbal and expressive.
  • Keep in mind, this test is only administered in English so it your child is bilingual make sure you really beef up the English at home.
  • You’ll need to make sure your child knows many general knowledge concepts. An example might be items while shopping in a grocery store or classroom setting.  The test proctor will ask open ended questions, not “yes” or “no” responses. This is why you want your child to be very expressive in his or her answer. The more descriptive the better!

Hunter makes a BIG deal about prepping for the Stanford Binet this is why you want to work on the underlying skills to do well on this test. Math skills and reading skills are important and the good news is that any prep you do for Hunter translates over to your child’s kindergarten experience. It’s a double win-win!  There are many visual components to this test like visual absurdities where the child is shown a picture and they ask “what’s silly with this picture”.   It could be something easy like a flying dog or something really tricky! That’s why it’s important for your child to pay close attention to whatever the tester asks of him or her.

Many parents ask how early should I start preparing my son or daughter for Hunter? Well, you’re probably doing things right now at home and don’t even realize it! Read to your child, play “I spy”, have your child describe things to you in-depth, etc.  For official prep you’ll need start at least 6 months prior to the test to make sure your child has the underlying skills needed for this test.