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The recent NY Times article about test prepping for the OLSAT and ERB test has many parents up in arms over test prepping at the ages of 3 and 4 while other parents are embracing the idea to get the “edge” they think their child needs to do well on the OLSAT and ERB tests. Competition is not only fierce among parents but among tutoring and test-prep companies popping up all over Manhattan. In the NY Times article the director from Dalton School on the UES indicates it’s “unethical” to test prep students for admissions into kindergarten. I suppose that’s easy to say if you don’t have a child going into kindergarten or if you can afford the $30K+ per year tuition. Or maybe you’re content with the status-quo at general education programs at both private and public schools that teach to the middle or low-end of the class.
I’m not so sure if I agree with the ethical issues behind prepping besides it’s becoming the “norm” as the article suggest. Over time, high school students prepping for the SAT and ACT has dramatically increased. When I took the SAT (many years ago mind you) test prepping wasn’t even available nor was it even a thought that crossed my parents mind (let alone a mind of a 17 year old). Over time, that has dramatically changed as admission standards tighten and getting into the best colleges relies heavily on these types of exams. SAT and ACT test prepping has become a huge business in and of itselt – for the US and abroad.
I think the article in the NY Times does a pretty good job of telling both sides of the story but I thought they missed the mark on the “mindset” of parents who actually prep their 4 year old child for these exams and those parents who are opposed. It’s becoming the norm in NYC to test prep for the OLSAT and ERB for kindergarten along first and second grades so does that even out the playing field? The NYC DOE did offer OLSAT test sample test questions on their site although they recently removed the link (email me if you want the OLSAT sample questions: firstname.lastname@example.org). I’ve personally reviewed the questions myself and it’s my understanding from my sources the actual test the child takes is much “harder” than these sample questions the DOE offers to parents.
I suppose the great debate will continue as test prepping 3-4 year old not only becomes acceptable but the norm of the direction we are going with the schools in NYC (both private and public). All I can say is my personal experience with the NYC gifted and talented program so far this year has been simply amazing.
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