NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing

NYC dept of ed miscalculated thousands of test scores

Well, it looks like the NYC dept of ed miscalculated thousands of test scores for the recent gifted and talented exam given to the talented tots in New York City.  This is the third fiasco in the past seven days over the recent test. So, not sure where to begin but here are the highlights that we know so far:

  • Pearson, the publishers of the NNAT-2 test and OLSAT test are the vendor responsible for the G&T assessments. It seems that Pearson made a serious error in calculating students’ results.
  • Here’s the contact person at Pearson, if you feel the need to voice your concerns: Susan Aspey, Public Affairs, or 347-421-2473
  • Families will receive an updated score report and application by April 29, 2013 . The previous application deadline of April 19, 2013 is extended for all families until May 10, 2013.
  • If you already submitted your application you can update your gifted and talented school selection if you’d like but you don’t need to re-submit unless you are changing your choices.
  • The DOE has set up a gifted and talented hot-line if you have questions. Hopefully they’ll actually answer the phone. Here’s the phone number: 1-888-705-9417.
  • You can read all the FAQs and other tidbits on the Dept of Ed website.


NYC Department of Education loses 400 test scores

Well, it looks like the NYC Department of Education loses 400 test scores for the NNAT test and OLSAT test that were given to thousands of children this past January and February. I realize there were changes this year but to lose test scores? Good grief!  In the era of modern technology how is this even possible without realizing it 3 days before gifted and talented applications are due by parents. Here’s what one parent said about the missing scores for their son. It’s unimaginable what these parents are going through without any help from the DEO. And the Dept of Ed wonders why people have little faith in their abilities? Well, DOE read this:

My son’s test is missing and no one told me what the issue was. Like the parent in this article I had to make so many phone calls and send way too many e-mails and DOE staff was not helpful at all …. very frustrating! But at least now I know I am not the only one fighting to get my child’s score.

Read the full article here about how 400 test scores are missing.

I also haven’t been impressed with the way the DOE is handing the process this year and at best has given misinformation to parents about the composite scoring dilemma. Oh, you haven’t heard of that fiasco either? Well, in the fall of 2012 the NYC gifted and talented handbook indicated the child’s placement into the G&T program would be based solely on the composite score. The DOE now changed that policy without telling anyone until this week – a few days before the applications are due.

Here’s an article about how getting a perfect score is now not a guarantee for a city-wide seat from the amazing resource for NYC schools on DNAInfo. Another one for the DOE to add to their laundry list of faux pas this testing season.

NNAT test score distribution
April 13, 2013, 2:07 pm
Filed under: tests | Tags: ,

If you look at the NNAT test score distribution for all the kids who took the test going into Kindergarten for 2013 it’s way off compared to what it should be with the predicted distribution. As you can tell, many more children scored in the 90th to 96th percentile than what would be expected in the distribution. What does this tell us about the NNAT-2 test results? Well, a couple of things are possible culprits:

  • 4 year olds in New York City are just plain smarter than the rest of the nation when it comes to gifted and talented testing therefore NYC needs it’s own distribution curve and raising the qualifying score needed for the gifted and talented program.


  • Parents are preparing their kids so they receive a much higher score than the same children would if those same children weren’t prepared.

Sites like Testing Mom  recently reported their members children on average scored in the 96th percentile. So, the question remains is it something in the New York City water that’s making these kids score higher than the rest of the kids in America or is it going into the test more prepared compared to other children their same age that don’t live in NYC?

NNAT distribution

Chart from: The School Boards web site

Fewer Students Qualifed for Gifted and Talented

Well, according to a recent Wall St. Journal article fewer students qualified for gifted and talented spots in New York City.  Here are the highlights from the article:

  • Only 7% of pre-K students who took the NNAT test and OLSAT test got a 99th percentile when compared to last year only 11% received the coveted perfect score.
  • There are only 350+ spots available for five citywide G&T programs going into Kindergarten next year and 1,863 students qualified with a 97th to 99th percentile ranking.
  • It looks like the change to the NYC gifted and talented test helped lower the scores since there was a 13% increase of children qualifying for a district-wide seat. The child must score in the 90th to 96th percentile to qualify for a district wide program in NYC.

The results did come in for members where the average score was 96.4th percentile based upon recent survey for their members.

Gifted and Talented Test Results Released
April 10, 2013, 10:14 am
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program | Tags: ,

Well, the wait is over for thousands of NYC parents as the gifted and talented test results were released this past Saturday. Some parents had to wait until Sunday before they received the email from the Dept of Ed. Many parents were disappointed as their darling child got in the 89th percentile as the image below indicates. I know has been slammed with questions from New York City parents about their child’s scoring. Testing Mom had an emergency tele-seminar this past Sunday where they answered all the questions from parents who just received their test score.

test results nyc gifted talented

With the new NNAT test added there was speculation that many less children would receive a 99th percentile. This actually is true but still many more children scored in the 99th percentile than are available seats for the citywide G&T programs.  This leaves all the 97th and 98th percentile children with no chance of getting a citywide seat even though the technically do qualify for one.

nyc gifted test results 2013

Here’s an email a NYC parent received from the Dept. of Ed. when asking about their child’s test score:


Dear <PARENT>:

Thank you for your inquiry about your child’s G&T score report- it was nice speaking with you on the phone yesterday. In your email, I noticed you used a combined weighted average of your child’s nonverbal and verbal percentile rank scores to calculate the overall percentile rank.  As you will see below, this was not the method used to score the G&T assessments.

The New York City Department of Education (DOE)’s Gifted & Talented (G&T) testing vendor scored the assessments using raw scores, normalized standard scores based on age, and percentile ranks for the Naglieri Nonverbal Abilities Test (NNAT-2) and the verbal Otis Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT-8).

Your child’s raw scores show the number of items your child answered correctly. There were 48 total test items on the nonverbal NNAT-2 and 30 total test items on the verbal OLSAT-8. Since the NNAT-2 and the OLSAT-8 are two different tests that were administered together, the raw scores for each test needed to be placed on a common scale in order to determine percentile ranks. This type of score is called a normalized standard score, and is shown on your child’s score report as NAI (nonverbal standard score, for the NNAT-2) and SAI (verbal standard score, for the OLSAT-8). The use of standard scores like the NAI and SAI is standard practice in testing for ability and intelligence, especially in young children.

Your child’s score report also showed two types of percentile ranks: the domain percentile ranks and the overall percentile rank. The domain percentile ranks are separate scores that correspond to the NAI and the SAI, respectively. Your child’s overall G&T percentile rank determines whether he is eligible to apply for district and citywide G&T programs. The NAI counted for 65% of the overall percentile rank and the SAI counted for 35% of the overall percentile rank. These weighted standard scores, not the domain percentile ranks, were then combined to generate your child’s overall G&T percentile rank score.

I hope this answers your questions. Please do check the G&T website regularly for the most up to date information on this year’s G&T process.

New York City Department of Education Office of Academic Policy

So, what’s next? The school tours have begun and there’s really no standard process for that either. It varies from school to school so check the gifted and talented school you are interested in touring and find out the process. Some you will have to register online while others you’ll have to call on the phone to register for a school tour. The deadline for G&T applications is next Friday, April 19, 2013 which must be submitted online by midnight.

NYC Gifted and Talented Test Results

Well, the department of education has officially announced the NYC gifted and talented test results will be released tomorrow by 9am (Saturday, April 5, 2013).  I suppose the Saturday delivery is to give parents the weekend to digest the results and to reduce the number of angry parents calling in to the DOE.

Here’s the email that was sent to parents earlier today:

Subject: Gifted and Talented Application Update
Date: April 5, 2013 3:53:22 PM EDT

Dear Parent/Guardian:

Gifted & Talented test results will be mailed to families today. If you submitted the Request for Testing form online, you will receive an email on Saturday by 9am, which will allow you to log in to the online site ( to see your child’s results, and if eligible, begin the Gifted & Talented application for placement.

If you have any questions, please contact us at 718-935-2009.


Gentian Falstrom
Director, Elementary School Admissions


It’s nice they are sending the test results before the school tours that begin this Monday.  Next week will be crazy for all the gifted and talented schools in NYC who will now have to accomadate tens of thousands of parents wanting to tour their schools. The deadline for the application is Friday, April 19, 2013 so parents only have less than 2 weeks to figure out the best fit for their child and cross their fingers for their first choice!

With the new NNAT-2 test coming into play this year it will be interesting to find out if fewer students score in the 99th percentile compared to previous years. Stay tuned on those details.