NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing

New York City not the only ones taking OLSAT test
March 31, 2016, 3:29 pm
Filed under: OLSAT Test, OLSAT test prep

Well, it looks like the kids in New York City aren’t the only ones taking the OLSAT test for admissions into gifted programs. Out in California, there’s a program in Davis called AIM which also uses the OLSAT test for admissions into their gifted program. According to the article, it looks like 10% of the third grade students (56 out of 543) who took the OLSAT test scored high enough to be in the Davis School District’s AIM program.

As with the NYC Gifted and Talented test, the scores seem to be skewed in favor of children of Caucasian and Asian descent with very few Latino and African-Americans being represented as those who qualified. The Davis school board is now questioning if the OLSAT test is the right type of test to qualify kids for this particular gifted program in Davis. This has also been the ongoing debate in NYC where the NNAT-2 non-verbal test was introduced a few years ago but the outcomes of the the distribution of qualified students by ethnicity have remained virtually unchanged (mostly white and Asian and very few Latino and African American students).

1 Comment so far
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No matter what type of test is used, it should have little to no effect on increasing the proportion of Hispanic and Black children qualifying for G&T. The Caucasian and Asian children who qualify for G&T predominantly live in school districts where the proportion of children from poor families is small. For the most part, Caucasian and Asian children are not taking away G&T seats from children of underprivileged families. Rather, Caucasian and Asian children are competing amongst themselves within the districts where they reside.

The Dept of Ed is trying to solve the underrepresentation problem from the wrong angle, which is attacking the problem from the population as a whole. If the goal is to increase representation of children of underprivileged families, then DOE should segment and address this problem where these families reside, i.e.- in the districts where they are found in large numbers. These school districts typically have zero or only one G&T program because few children in these districts scored high enough on the tests to qualify. One easy fix is to lower the bar for children living in these districts and expand the G&T program in these neighborhoods. Voila, problem is solved.

Comment by Al

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