NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing

Nurture or Nature? Are Gifted and Talented Children More Academically Successful
April 6, 2011, 9:23 pm
Filed under: tests | Tags: , ,

If you’d like to be added to my gifted and talented testing newsletter email me at Also, don’t forget that you can now get over 3,000 practice questions for the OLSAT, WPPSI and Stanford-Binet from

It’s the old chicken-egg dilemma!  Are G&T kids more academically successful because of their natural gifts or because they are afforded a special environment?

A recent study conducted in the North Carolina school system has raised the question of whether the learning environment in Gifted and Talented programs like the ones in New York has more to do with the success of these students than some might care to admit. 

The North Carolina DOE studied over 10,000 children in a program called Project Bright Idea to try to explain the underrepresentation of black and Latino children in advanced and gifted classes.  What they found was that teaching kindergarteners and first and second graders with methods that were usually reserved for gifted and talented students led to 20% of the students being identified as academically and intellectually gifted within three years in the program.  While the project produced positive results among each of the groups taught under Bright Idea, the results varied among the different subsets of children; while some groups produced a 5-14% increase in gifted identification after three years, one set beat the control group by as much as 36%. 

While the creators of Project Bright Idea do not dispute that some children exhibit signs of academic giftedness earlier and require an accelerated learning environment, these findings call into question the practice of segmenting kids out at such an early age based on scores from IQ tests like the Otis Lennon School Abilities Test, Bracken, WPPSI test and Stanford-Binet – and leaving the other kids behind. 

Given the right opportunities and more time to develop, can more kids benefit from learning at the accelerated level?  Just because a child does not perform well on their OLSAT test, does that mean they cannot—or rather should not—benefit from the higher expectations and well-trained teachers that NYC gifted and talented programs can provide?

For now in NYC and beyond, all a parent can do is make sure that their child has all the best tools for learning available to them.  And that means OLSAT practice test questions!

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