NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing

Gifted and Talented Acceptance Letters Received by Anxious Parents
May 25, 2012, 8:12 pm
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In the wee-hours of the morning in New York City, anxious parents awoke to the much awaited email from the NYC Department of Education that determined their child’s educational fate for next school year.

According to DNA, over 5,500 received acceptance letters for the gifted and talented program out of the 7,562 that applied. That’s over 2,000 students who were eligible for the program but didn’t receive an offer for a school. The primary reason for this is because the DOE only guarantees a seat to any student going into Kindergarten or first grade. If the child is going into second or third grade for the following year the Dept of Ed. doesn’t guarantee a seat in the much sought after NYC Gifted and Talented program.

Now for the hard part. Parents much now decide if they plan on taking the G&T school placement or not by the June 5 deadline.

A Mother’s Saga of New York City Gifted and Talented Testing
May 23, 2012, 9:17 pm
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I read the most interesting article about a New York City mother’s story about the tedious process of the school selection after her daughter took the OLSAT test for the gifted and talented program for this year.

Here’s her story:

If you applied for a Kindergarten spot to the New York City’s Gifted and Talented Program for your child, then welcome to the finish line. The G & T placement offers are being released this week, marking the end of the brutal trifecta that some New York parents went through this year with the goal of securing the best educational option for their children.

If you don’t know what I’m referring to, first of all, you are lucky. If you have heard rumors or unreasonable tales, I tell you now: it’s all true. Every word. I was born and raised in the Washington Square area of New York City, and being a cool native, I swore I wouldn’t sweat it out. But, a cucumber I was not. We did it all, and though we started on the right foot and with all good, controlled intentions, curves came up on our road that were so sharp, our wheels lifted.

Changes to NYC Gifted and Talented Program Testing for 2012-2013

The bar has been raised for kindergarteners vying for admission to New York City’s gifted and talented program. In the past, the Otis-Lennon School Abilities Test (OLSAT) was used in conjunction with the Bracken School Readiness Assessment (BSRA). However, this year marks a switch from the BSRA to the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT).

While the BSRA tests a child’s knowledge of basic shapes, colors and numbers, the NNAT tests abstract logic and visual reasoning skills. A Dept. of Education spokesperson said the switch aims to make the gifted and talented admissions exam more difficult to study for, so a child’s actual cognitive ability is assessed (compared to just simple facts they have learned). Parents should start preparing now if their child is taking the G&T test next year since adequate preparation for the NNAT may require as much as twice (or even more!) the time needed for BSRA prep.

Next year I have no doubt we will see less 99th percentiles with the NYC gifted and talented test results are released due to the complexity of the Naglieri when compared to the BSRA . The children are going to struggle with this test and although the NYC Department of Education has yet to announce the specifics, in most cases the NNAT-2 is a timed test so there will be extra added pressure for the child to complete within the allotted amount of time given by the DOE. It has yet to be disclosed how the NNAT will be weighted along with the OLSAT for next year’s talented tots taking the test, though parents can begin preparing at home with puzzles and other simple visual pattern identification exercises. For those parents seeking practice questions for their children, they can utilize the vast practice question library at Testing Mom, which offers hundreds of NNAT and OLSAT practice questions.

Gifted and Talented Testing Interview with Huffington Post Last Week
May 10, 2012, 2:14 pm
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I did an interview last week with Huffington Post blogger C.M. Rubin, who grilled me for details on the test preparation process for very young children. After explaining how I first became interested in testing and why admission to gifted programs is so competitive (hint: it’s because it places children on a successful track through college), I explained that parents, not tutors, should be involved in preparing their children for the OLSAT (Otis-Lennon School Abilities Test) and Naglieri tests (NNAT-2) by incorporating some easy real-life examples into their daily routine. I also broke down the seven abilities measured by testing: language, knowledge and comprehension, memory, mathematics, visual-spatial reasoning, cognitive skills, and fine-motor skills. It’s worth noting that these tests don’t measure a child’s creativity, artistic or athletic ability, as well as social and emotional intelligence; I also discuss with C.M. the accuracy of these tests, as well as the pros and cons of hiring tutors for children as young as four.

I talked about, the site where you can get 100 free practice questions and how Testing Mom offers resources and expertise to a growing worldwide customer base by offering customers a tremendous library of practice questions and online prep games. I also hashed out the difference between Testing Mom and costly intensive “cram session camps,” which don’t allow children the time needed to properly absorb the concepts measured by these tests.  My personal belief is that children should learn the concepts of the test over a period of weeks or months.

With the recent announcement of the test change next year for the NYC Gifted and Talented program it will be interesting to see how the OLSAT scores compare to the scores from this year and the impact on the total number of students eligible for this high-demand program in New York.

Naglieri (NNAT) Questions for NYC Gifted and Talented Test Starting Next Year
May 5, 2012, 7:44 pm
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In case you didn’t hear, the New York City Department of Education has decided to no longer user the BSRA (Bracken School Readiness Assessment) for entry into the NYC gifted and talented program. This only impacts students taking the G&T test this coming school year (2012-13).  All the students in the program will not have to retake the test. The OLSAT test will remain in place and be used in conjunction with the Naglieri Nonverbal Abilities Test (NNAT). Keep in the mind, the NNAT-2 is much more difficult than the BSRA and is no walk in the park, that’s for sure. I’m sure this will have a direct impact of the number of students qualifying for the G&T program since the difficulty level on the NNAT is much higher when compared to the Bracken.

We still don’t know if the NYC dept. of ed. will make the NNAT test score only 25% of the admission requirement (the OLSAT test is currently 75% of the admission requirement) into the gifted program (like its predecessor) or it will become a higher percentage of the overall score required when the G&T test results come out next spring. You can read more on this policy change for the Naglieri.

If you’re looking for free Naglieri test prep questions you can go to Testing Mom and review the concepts your child will be expected to know. As you will be able to tell, these questions on the NNAT test are much more difficult than those found on the BSRA.