NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing

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.

New York Post chimes in on gifted and talented program
January 29, 2015, 5:32 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Well, even the New York Post chimes in on gifted talented program here in the big apple! According to the article, the testing of 4-year-olds just isn’t fair! Well, I tend to agree but there has to be some sort of mechanism in place to properly vet these kids prior to entry into the gifted and talented programs sprinkled throughout the city. Sure, they could do nursery school and pre-school reports from the directors at these schools but that opens up an even bigger issue of potential bribery from parents. Don’t think so? Well, think about NYC tiger moms (and tiger dads) that will go to any length to make sure their talented tot gets a spot into one of these coveted schools and doesn’t have to fork over $40,000 a year for kindergarten at a private school. Getting one of these seats is like getting admitted to Harvard or Yale for your freshman year of college but this case, it’s at the ripe old-age of 4! The article does hit on the main concern and problem of the NYC gifted and talented program that I believe everyone can agree on. There just aren’t enough darn seats available for these kids and that feeds into the frenzy that these most-of-the-time normal parents turn into raving lunatics! Once a parent hears about how their friend’s kid is taking the G&T test for the OLSAT and NNAT that causes stress and anxiety…”Am I doing enough for my child? Do I just want to leave it up to chance when I send my 4-year-old into taking a test with a complete stranger?”  Most parents understand this dilemma since it cuts to the core of parenting a young child, which is “Am I being a good parent?”

As long as their is a gifted and talented program available for NYC students entering kindergarten parents in the city will do just about anything (and I mean **anything**!) to get their child into one of these competitive programs. Sure, some parents spend thousands of dollars on private tutors but also there are fun sites like Testing Mom where parents can get free practice questions for both the OLSAT and NNAT2 tests!

Testing for the NYC gifted and talented program

Well, tens of thousands of tots begin the annual pilgrimage to get tested for the New York City gifted and talented program. The testing takes place on the weekends for the pre-K students at a local public school and for those kids in kindergarten to second grade take the test at their school during the day. Nervous parents across the city are vying for coveted spots in the most competitive kindergarten race in the world. Last year, over 1,900 kids qualified for the city-wide gifted and talented program for kindergarten at schools like NEST+M and Anderson for only 250 available seats between all five city-wide gifted and talented programs. It’s just like the lottery, if you don’t play you can’t win so make sure your child takes the test because your child may be one of the lucky ones to get one of the 250 available seats in the ultra competitive city-wide program. Luckily, there’s always the district wide G&T programs so that opens up more available seats to parents who kids score in the 90 to 99th percentile on the NNAT2 and OLSAT tests. So much for the simple life in New York City for these parents and their little ones who have no idea of the massive consequences if they do not score well on these tests.

Hunter Elementary cut-off scores released

Well folks, the time we’ve all been waiting for has arrived: Hunter Elementary cut-off scores released! It looks like kids in NYC just aren’t as smart at they used to be since the cut-off score this year (for 2014-15 entering K) was a mere 143 – the lowest in recent memory.  I heard from many, many parents this year that the school actually had the audacity to contact them after their talented tot took the Stanford-Binet test and interrogated parents if they prepped their child for the Hunter test. So sad that the admissions department at Hunter Elementary goes to such extremes to try and scare these parents who are already on-edge to begin with. Of course, parents in droves went to the Testing Mom web site where they helped their child prepare for the NYC gifted and talented program. I suppose they could have also brushed over some practice materials for the Stanford-Binet as well on that site.

Here’s the actual email Hunter sent to parents earlier today to notify them their child did make the cut-off! Names are removed for confidentiality purpose. Too bad they don’t spend as much time proofreading their emails sent to parents as they do interrogating the parents. I find it rather humorous there are a couple of typos in the email they sent (below)! :-)

Dear <PARENT>,

Congratulations! The results of our modified Stanford-Binet V testing have set the eligibility score for Hunter College Elementary School’s Round 2 assessment at a Sum of Scaled Scores (SSS) of 143. Children with this score or higher are invited to participate in our on-site assessment process. We will assess 300 children and will select 25 girls and 25 boys for a total of 50 children for the entering Kindergarten class of 2015.

You will receive an email by December 17th with <CHILD> assigned session time. You must confirm this appointment by email by December 19th, 2014. Please write <CHILD> name, ID number, date of birth, the assigned date, time, and session number in your email to ensure your confirmation. Please do not call or email with requests for a change in schedule; session assignments are firm and cannot be changed.

There are a great many factors that go into assigning children to R2 sessions to ensure that they have an opportunity to be seen in their best light. It is important that <CHILD> not be in a session with other children from his preschool, or others that he knows. Please do not make efforts to introduce <CHILD> to others from his assigned session.

We want to give you ample time to work on the three additional things that complete <CHILD> application. Clink on the links below to download THREE PDFs that must be submitted: The Parent Observation Form, The Proof of Residency form and documentation, and The Teacher Observation Release and Observation Form.

  1. HCES – Parent Observation Form – pdf
  2. Proof-of-Residency-2015.pdf
  3. HCES-Parent-Preschool-Release-Form.pdf

1. The Parent Observation Form

Please take time to read the instructions and thoughtfully respond to the Parent Observation form. In addition to giving us informatiom about <CHILD> development, this form is designed to give you a chance to share about <CHILD>. We are looking for candor, and details that will allow us to get to know <CHILD> better. For example, you might write about small moments or events or conversations that gave you insight into how <CHILD> is thinking, learning, or becoming curious about the world. You may handwrite in the boxes, or cut and paste a typed document. DO NOT exceed the delineated space, use a font size lower than 10 pt, or attach additional documents. Forms that do not conform to the space allotted will be returned. This is a LEGAL-sized document.

Please note that the Parent Observation Form must be completed without <CHILD> name in order to preserve anonymity in the selection process. You may use an initial in place of his name.

2. The Proof of Residency Form and accompanying documentation

This form must accompany a copy of BOTH parents’ 2013 NYS State tax return. Many people ask if they can delete income information. You may, but we ask that you leave the information as is; we are a publicly funded school and for our research it is important to us to know as much as we can about our applicant and student body. Please rest assured that NONE of the information included will be a part of <CHILD> admissions application or seen by anyone making decisions. Once we have established residency and collected information for our research, information is destroyed.

3. The Release and Teacher Observation Form

We will email a Teacher Observation Form to <CHILD> current pre-school teacher, who must return the form directly to the Admissions office. In order to give them permission to comment on your child, please fill out and give them this Release Form.

All materials must be received in the Admissions Office by 4:00 P.M. on Monday, January 5th, 2015. Materials can be mailed to the office or deposited into the Admissions lock box at the HCES Public Safety desk.

Please keep an eye out for the email to follow with <CHILD> session and instructions fo Round 2 that will come by December 17th.

We look forward to seeing you and <CHILD> at Round 2,

Kyla Kupferstein Torres ’86
Director of Admissions and Outreach


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