NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing


NYC Gifted and Talented Admissions for 4th and 5th grades

The Dept. of Ed. just announced the new criteria for NYC Gifted and Talented admissions for 4th and 5th grades for the 2015-16 school year. Don’t worry, there’s no OLSAT test or NNAT-2 test involved but make sure your child is adored by his or her teacher, that’s for sure! According to the DOE here’s the “new and improved” criteria they will be using if you want your child to enter a G&T program going into 4th or 5th grades.

  • 2015 New York State English Language Arts (ELA) and Math scores
  • 2015 Report Card Grades
  • Descriptors of Exceptional Characteristics provided by the student’s teacher

The deadline to apply is on May 22, 2015 and here are the locations for all 5 boroughs to submit your application. Guess what? You get to leave work early since you can’t do this online or by mail. Did I just have a flashback to 1972? All requests must be made in person and the Family Welcome Center facilities are only open 8am to 3pm. So much for being so welcoming and for those parents who don’t have any flexibility at their jobs to cut-out early. Just tell your boss that you want your child to have a better life (and job!) than you and you must leave early! I’m sure the “boss man” will completely understand…yeah, right.

The Dept. of Ed. does provide specific guidance for the criteria but it does allow some opinions and biases being inserted by the teacher to determine if the child is worthy of getting a coveted seat into the NYC G&T program or not. Here are a few hypothetical situations that could occur to the detriment of the child:

  • The teacher and parent(s) don’t get along and the only recourse the teacher has to get back at the parents is to not give a child a recommendation. What if the parents are hardcore Republicans who support Ted Cruz for president and don’t believe in teacher unions. Oh yeah, those parents would be homeschooling anyway.
  • The teacher and principal collude because the child scores 4’s on both the ELA and math test and they want to keep their school test scores high, therefore don’t recommend the child attend a G&T program. Remember, schools in NYC are ranked on how children perform on the not-so-popular common core ELA and math tests.
  • The teacher and parents are good friends outside school and the parents use that friendship to manipulate the teacher in writing exaggerated claims about their child’s abilities. Highly unlikely, I know…but these are hypothetical situations! :-)

Of course, the list of hypothetical situations could go on and on. So fun to think about all the possibilities and the lengths some parents in New York City would go to for their talented tot to get into the gifted and talented program.

I do find it interesting the DOE announced the criteria included state test scores were being used a week after the state tests were completed. I’m sure if parents knew up front that this was part of the criteria process parents across all five boroughs would be heading over in droves to Testing Mom to get free practice questions for the New York ELA and math tests.



NYC gifted and talented test scores
The NYC gifted and talented test scores have been released for kids going into kindergarten this fall (2015). So many parents are estactic that their talented tot made the cut and now hopes are even higher to get a coveted spot at one of the citywide or district wide gifted programs sprinkled throughout the city. There’s always a sour apple in the bunch and here’s an email that Testing Mom online test prep received from a parent who is really upset about her son’s score (even at the 95th percentile). Here’s what she told Testing Mom:

Hi Testing Mom,

My 4-year-old son stands no chance of getting accepted into one the gifted and talented citywide kindergarten programs since he scored in the 95th percentile. I thought he’d score in the 99th (I’ve been told by numerous people how smart he is), but I suppose he just isn’t as smart as everyone thought. I’m very disappointed in him because he said the test was easy after he came out of the testing room…although I now blame myself and feel like a horrible mother because I didn’t sign-up for your program until after I received his scores so we can start practicing for next year’s test. I heard about you from several parents last fall and their kids made 98th and 99th percentiles but I thought I could do it on my own without any outside help…boy, was I wrong. He did so well on the 10 questions provided in the handbook from the Dept. of Ed. but they probably only put easy questions in their handbook so parents don’t feel they need to prepare. Even after using your program for just the past couple of days since I received his scores I have discovered the areas he needs to focus on. If I only knew then what I know now things might have turned out very different.

My stomach turns every time I look at his score on the test and I’m trying not to hold a grudge against him – after all, he is only 4-years-old. I know some parents would be so happy with a 95th percentile, but now I wish he would have bombed the whole test instead of being on the cusp.

M.L. – mom in Flushing Queens – NYC

Wow, this mom is what I’d call hardcore but I suppose it’s a typical response from some parents in New York City when the harsh reality sinks in. I hope this mom doesn’t give up on her son and it sounds like she’s wanting him to take the test again. I’m sure he’ll do better next year and hopefully score in the 99th percentile so his mother once again will be proud to have him as her offspring.



State scrubs common core test questions
March 22, 2015, 8:21 pm
Filed under: common core test | Tags: , ,

Well, according to the NY Post it looks like New York state scrubs common core test questions due to lack of answers provided on certain ELA and math questions given last year to New York students.  It looks like with the elimination of these questions actually helped increase the overall test scores last year for New York State. Not that really made a big impact since over 60% of the students still failed both the ELA and math portions of the state tests based upon the common core. Maybe the third time is a charm with this being the third round of testing since New York converted from the much easier Regents tests to the common core tests in 2013. With $33 million on the line for Pearson (the publishers of the test) there will need to be significant improvement in this year’s scores to say that the testing is showing some significant progress over time.  I suppose if they eliminate more questions from this year’s test then test scores will automatically go up…although artificially. Even though all students in the state take the annual tests for ELA and math it’s a critical score for all the fourth graders in the NYC school system since these scores can be used for admissions into some of the selective middle schools in the city. It seems like people in the city are becoming accustom to the common core curriculum and testing as there haven’t been as many parents and teachers whining this year as compared to previous years. As with anything, change is challenging for some but not as challenging as some of these questions on the common core test.

If you’re needing practice questions for ELA and math for the upcoming test go visit our friends at Testing Mom.



More and more parents are opting out of common core testing
March 2, 2015, 5:32 pm
Filed under: common core test | Tags:

Well, it looks like more and more parents are opting out of common core testing, at least to this recent article in the New York Times. Not sure how the schools will determine if a student is meeting the grade standards or not. Of course, the common core testing has no impact on the little ones who encounter the NYC gifted and talented tests which is a barrage of 88 questions from the OLSAT and NNAT2 tests respectively.  The movement to make the common core go extinct (like the way of the dinosaurs) has found interesting bedfellows from both sides of the aisle. The right claims it’s a government take over of the school (news flash folks! the government took over the schools 50+ years ago!) and on the left it’s the claim that poor test scores will be used to demonize teachers which threatens the teacher union establishment that has one heck of a stronghold on political outcomes in this country.   The article goes on to mention that there’s a TV campaign of anti-common core testing that’s hitting the airwaves this week in New Jersey. In one of the TV ads, the dad says his first grader cried and didn’t want to karate practice because he was so stressed out about common core! Oh my, his son had to miss karate practice to sit at home and study? I can’t believe a six-year-old would whine and cry to get out of doing school work to go to karate practic  What is this world coming to! I wonder if the dad paid the same amount of money to enrich his son’s education as he does spending on having his son break wood planks his son might not have common core PTSDe. Watch the drama unfold about common core testing on the TV commercial airing all over New Jersey for the next few weeks.

I think all students should have to test at least one time to see how it goes. At least the parents would then find out if their kid is even at grade level and then take matters into their own hands. So, is your kid taking the gifted and talented test? Or common core test? Or both? You can get free practice questions at Testing Mom.



HISD reports test errors on gifted and talented exam

Well, New York City is not alone when it comes to scoring errors. Thousands of talented tots along with their parents have fallen victim to scoring errors on the gifted and talented test for entry in the Vanguard Program in Houston. HISD reports test errors on the gifted and talented exam were reported by the test publishers of the ITBS test (also known as the Iowa Test) which is quite surprising since this test has been around for decades. Although the ITBS test is only one of several factors for admissions into this competitive program there are other factors that include teacher recommendations, report cards and the CogAT test.

If you happen to live live in a suburb near Houston, there are different tests given throughout the Houston metro area.  For example,

  • Katy Independent School District uses the Otis Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT test).
  • Spring Independent School District uses the Kingore Screener for Grades K – 3 and the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT test) for grades 4 – 5.
  • Pasadena Independent School district uses multiple measures of qualification during the admissions process including achievement test scores, the CogAT test, Raven’s Progressive Matrices and other IQ or ability tests that have been approved by the Gifted and Talented Instructional Specialist

IF you need practice questions for any of the tests mentioned above go to our friends at Testing Mom to start with 100 free questions.



New York ELA test coming up
February 23, 2015, 6:42 pm
Filed under: common core test | Tags: , , ,

Well, it’s that time of year with the New York ELA test coming up in April! There are many types of questions on the ELA test according to Testing Mom.  There is so much controversy surrounding these tests since it’s based upon the common core standards that are sweeping across the nation. According to a recent article from NY Mag we’re testing children on the wrong things. There’s so much information out there about the ELA and math test and much of it is not accurate. Theses tests are given to students in third grade through eighth grade. The twist on these tests compared to previous tests is they include open ended questions instead of multiple choice. In places like New York City, the results of the ELA and math tests in fourth grade impact the middle school admissions  even though middle school starts in 6th grade. The overall results from last year’s ELA and math tests only 27% of the kids actually passed the test so that means that 63% of the kids aren’t even performing at grade level…at least according to these particular tests.  There’s so much pressure on these kids starting at the age of 9 to perform well on these tests if they expect a chance to get into one of the top middle schools in the city. At this age, the kids can sense the pressure not only from their parents but also from their fellow classmates.



Is the NNAT2 test going away?

So, is the NNAT test going away? Rumors have been flying around all five boroughs asking this question about next year’s test for entry into the NYC gifted and talented program. When they introduced the NNAT2 test a few years ago the purpose was to make it harder to prep for the test although it seems that even more kids score in the 99th percentile on the NNAT2 test versus the OLSAT test. Pearson, the publisher of both the OLSAT test and NNAT test, screwed up the scoring a couple of years ago that left parents in a panic when they found out their talented tot didn’t make the cut (or so they initially thought). Luckily, thousands of parents were notified after their initial shock that there was a scoring error and their child was at least eligible for a seat into the G&T program. Although, there is no guarantee of getting a seat even with the highest score of the 99th percentile. The dept of ed has continuously tried to make it more difficult for the parent “preppers” but the parents always seem to find a way out how to prepare for these tests.  After all, there is so much riding on the results of these tests  that any parent with half a brain wouldn’t send their kids into these testing situations and leave it all up to chance. I know I wouldn’t. How about you?

Want to know the types of questions they ask these kids? Well, you can find out on Testing Mom along with tons of other questions for other tests out there.




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