NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing


Common OLSAT test mistakes
August 30, 2017, 11:13 am
Filed under: OLSAT Test, OLSAT test prep | Tags: ,

Here are 5 other common mistakes young children make when taking the OLSAT test

These mistakes cost children dearly in terms of points deducted from their score:

  1. They choose the most obvious answer just to get the question over with.
  2. They rush through the test like it’s a race.
  3. They lose their focus.
  4. They don’t listen to the instructions.
  5. They don’t point clearly to answers, or they make bubbling errors.
  • You can fix it.

    • The bad news is that all children make these mistakes when they take tests for the first time, and they continue to make these mistakes for years if they aren’t taught how to avoid them.  The good news is that when you are practicing with your child, you will see your own child making these mistakes and you can gently correct them, and show them how not to make that mistake moving forward. This will help increase their test score dramatically.
  • Common Mistake Guide and Training.

    • When you sign-up as a member of Testing Mom, you will have access to a proprietary guide they prepared for you that illustrates the most common mistakes kids make on the OLSAT, along with instructions to you on how to correct each type of mistake that your child will make during practice for the test.

Here’s a fun video with an OLSAT question to ask your little one:

Once you’re alert to these common mistakes and you see your child make one during practice (and you will), just gently correct them (Training available on Testing Mom guides you in what to do).  Doing this will greatly improve your child’s OLSAT score, and it will take no extra study time!



OLSAT test scores

Why does a child take a test like the OLSAT and score poorly?

When a child doesn’t score well on the OLSAT test a mom or dad often thinks, “Well, I guess he just didn’t know the material or prep enough,” or “I suppose she lacks in the skills they were testing!”

They couldn’t be more wrong. 

On tests like these, only half of your child’s score depends on her knowing the material or having the skills that are being tested.  The other half of the score depends on your child having good test-taking skills. 

Let me show you what I mean using a practice OLSAT Aural Reasoning question at about the kindergarten grade level.  [Read the question just once and see if you can answer it before you continue reading about it.]

Ask your child: Look at the shapes below. Circle means “strawberry.” Square means “chocolate.” Triangle means “butterscotch.” Choose the box that says “chocolate, chocolate, butterscotch.” *

To answer this OLSAT practice question, you first need to:

  1. Understand what you’re being asked to do.

    First your child has to understand what’s she’s even being asked here.  You’re being asked a question.  Each box represents a possible answer choice – 3 are wrong and only 1 is right.  You’re looking for the one that is right (not the one with the shapes she likes best).  When practicing with your child, teach her to understand the concept of a test question.

  2. Listen to the question.

    1. With OLSAT Verbal questions, your child has to listen to what is being asked.  The question can only be read once.  If he zones out and misses even one or two words in the question, he will have to guess at an answer.
  3. Consider all answer choices. 

    Your child has to take the time and have the focusing skills to analyze the answer choices.  Which one was chocolate? Was that the square or the circle? Your child might remember chocolate was the square and jump at the first square she sees – in the first box (wrong!).  When preparing your child, make sure they look at and consider every answer choice.

  4. How to make a smart guess.

    When a child can’t figure out a question, they often skip it (getting 0 points – bad idea!).  Or they’ll guess between all 4 choices (and likely guess wrong!).  In this case, two shapes have to be the same (“chocolate, chocolate”) and one has to be different (“butterscotch”).  We can immediately eliminate the 3rd and 4th choices because neither has two shapes the same and one different.  So if your child has to choose, choose between the 1st and 2nd   He’ll have a better chance of guessing right.  Teach him how to do this.

*By the way, the answer to the OLSAT sample question above is 2 – chocolate (square), chocolate (square), butterscotch (triangle).

If you think preparing your child is too hard to do it yourself then I always recommend finding a good tutor to help you out. I like the folks over at FasTracKids. They have locations in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island. They can do a G&T assessment to let you know your child’s strengths and weaknesses as it pertains to both the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests. Tell them I sent you!



Things at PS 33 aren’t hunky-dory any longer
August 16, 2017, 2:28 pm
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program | Tags: ,

The school that once coined the term “NEST of the West” has fallen from grace with parents

Well, I’ve heard from 3 different parents over the past couple of months of their concerns on the direction at PS 33. The new principal, Cindy Wang, has now been there for 2 full years and things seem to be slowly crumbling piece by piece, at least that’s what I’m being told by these parents. These are the same parents who were so excited a few years ago when their talented tot started PS 33 kindergarten under the leadership of Principal Lindy. It seems now the tight ship that Mrs. Lindy ran is now entirely off course. I was told countless parents have pulled their child of these G&T program at PS 33 because they don’t feel it’s as academically rigorous as it once was. The gifted and talented teachers are being told to teach the same exact curriculum at the same pace as the gen ed program. Parents are left scratching their heads as to why they should schlep their kids across town to attend PS 33 when they could get an equal experience at their local gen ed school. Is the program at PS 33 really worth it? Some parents are now re-thinking their decision.

One mom that I saw outside of  Barnes and Nobel in Tribeca shared with me:

“The only reason I keep my daughter at PS 33 is because of the chess program. She loves it! If it wasn’t for that I’d pull her out immediately and go into our local school across the street.”

Another mom I spoke to at Shake Shack in Battery Park City (while slurping up a coffee milkshake) voiced:

“It’s really gone down hill since your daughter left and especially since Mrs. Lindy left two years ago. Not the same school it once was, that’s for sure!”

All the complaints I’m hearing are sad and I hope they aren’t true! But the parents I spoke to aren’t ones to complain unless there’s an issue and by no means would make up stories like this. It looks like with regime change comes with dumbing down the curriculum for all the gifted and talented students at PS 33. I suppose the bigger question is why have the G&T program at this school if there’s basically nothing different from the gen ed program? Seems like the principal is really out of touch with what the NYC Gifted and Talented Program is all about and why parents decided on PS 33 for their child.

Oh how Chelsea Prep parents wish the days of tough-as-nails Principal Lindy would return to the helm of PS 33 Chelsea Prep! Don’t know what you have until it’s gone.



Signs of a gifted child
August 13, 2017, 11:06 am
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program, OLSAT Test | Tags: ,

Do you think your child might be gifted? If so, keep reading!

We all think our child is the brightest kid on the planet (and we’re all convinced that we’re right!). Especially if you’re a parent in New York City! And we tend to have thousands of anecdotes to prove our child’s academic fortitude. You’ve probably known since the day he or she was born that your child was smart. But how can you know whether your child is “gifted” in the sense that NYC gifted and talented schools and teachers use the word?

Educational psychologists perform questionnaires and interviews of children and parents in an effort to determine whether a child is gifted. During this process, psychologists look for a number of attributes or markers that tend to point to an advanced child. In addition to taking tests like the Stanford-Binet and OLSAT they ask parents fill out a survey to self-assess their child’s giftedness.

Over 80% of parents who think their child is gifted are correct!

Here are some of the attributes that gifted children tend to have. (Don’t worry, gifted children don’t necessarily possess all of these traits, although they tend to have many of them.)

  •  Creative talent:

    If your child displays above-average aptitude for art or music, it could be a sign that he’s gifted.

  • Attention to detail:

    If your child is able to remember and understand the intricacies of academic concepts – or even things she encounters in her everyday life – it points to the possibility that she’s gifted.

  • Good with complexity:

    Gifted children often show a keen understanding of intricate concepts and are able to work through multi-step problems.

  • High verbal ability:

    Gifted children tend to have an advanced vocabulary and the ability to use it at a high level.

  • Emotional sensitivity:

    If your child is able to understand and perceive others’ emotions or feelings, it could be a sign that he’s gifted.

  • Good sense of humor:  

    Gifted children tend to be wittier than their general education counterparts.

  • Works independently:

    Many gifted children don’t mind working independently of others to solve problems; many even teach themselves to read before their counterparts learn it in school!

  • Reaches milestones earlier than other children:

    Among other things, gifted children tend to walk, talk, and read earlier than their general education counterparts.

  • Good memory:

    If your child seems like an encyclopedia, constantly retaining and reciting information that she’s learned, it could suggest that she’s gifted.

  • Likes collections:

    Many gifted children like to collect certain things that have something in common (baseball cards, model cars, etc.).

  • Has older friends:

    Sometimes, gifted children prefer the company of older children or even adults, as they find them easier to talk with and relate to.

  • Has good attention span:

    A long attention span and determination to finish the job is a marker of a gifted child.

Does this sound like your child?

Whether the answer is yes or no, don’t worry. The best way to increase your child’s academic performance and creative processes is to engage his brain on a regular basis with doing practice questions from the OLSAT ande NNAT-2 tests. Don’t rely on school and homework to keep his brain limber and his creative juices flowing; work with him after school and on weekends to expand his mind beyond the “four R’s” of traditional school. Brain teasers, online interactive test prep, and even conversations about complex topics or phenomena (for example, pointing out all the geometric shapes that occur in everyday life) can be tremendously helpful in advancing your child’s mental acuity.

 



OLSAT test verbal and non-verbal skills
August 8, 2017, 9:54 am
Filed under: OLSAT Test, testing mom | Tags: , ,

The OLSAT test assesses both verbal and nonverbal skills.

Here is how it breaks down. Keep in mind, for the NYC G&T test they only test for the verbal portion of the test not the nonverbal piece. The nonverbal portion of the G&T test is calculated via the NNAT-2 test.

  • Verbal Comprehension

    • Following directions,
    • Antonyms,
    • Sentence arrangement,
    • Sentence completion
  • Verbal Reasoning

    • Logical selection,
    • Verbal analogies, V
    • Verbal classification,
    • Inference
  • Pictorial Reasoning

    • Picture classification
    • Picture analogies
    • Picture series
  • Figural Reasoning

    • Figural classification,
    • Figural analogies,
    • Figure series
  • Quantitative Reasoning (for Levels E, F and G) –

    • Number series,
    • Numeric inference,
    • Number matrix

The OLSAT test is for students in Grades K-12

Even though in NYC it’s only administered for pre-K to 2nd grade students for the gifted and talented test the exam is given across the country through high school.

Pre-K and kindergarten students are tested with Level A, first graders are tested with Level B, second graders are tested with Level C, third graders get Level D, fourth and fifth graders get level E, and students from sixth to eighth grade take level F.  High school students will take level G.   Levels A and B are read aloud to students, as is part of Level C.  Between testing and administration, it takes 50 minutes to an hour for a student to take the OLSAT test.  At the 3rd grade level and above, students get 40 minutes to take the test.  It may take a little longer when the teacher reads questions to students at the lower levels.  The chart on the right shows the different skills assessed at different grade levels.

Be sure to watch the short video for more information on the OLSAT test:

 



Help your child with OLSAT practice questions

Let your child work through tough problems on their own

While it can be difficult to see our children struggle with practice questions for the OLSAT test for the NYC gifted and talented program, it’s important to let them work through it on their own. Many times, when our child doesn’t know what the answer, we just go ahead and tell him the answer. While our intentions are good – we’re trying to relieve our child’s frustration (and, often, save ourselves some time) – we are actually doing our child a great disservice. By simply giving him or her the answer, we’ve taken away an opportunity for him to use his or her problem-solving skills to figure it out on his own.

Make sure your child practices problem solving skills so he or she will do well on the OLSAT test. It’s a tough test, especially for a 4-year-old!

Luckily, it’s easy to reverse the pattern we just described.

Here’s a problem-solving model you can use whenever your child gets stuck on an OLSAT practice test:

  1. Instead of directing your child to do something, sit her down and ask her to come up with different solutions. This encourages her to be creative and flexible in her thinking.
  2. Talk over all the possibilities, and choose two the best answers hat seem fair to all parties.
  3. Put each idea on its own piece of paper and evaluate the pros and cons of each.
  4. After looking at all the possible answers for the verbal or non-verbal question, ask each child his/her opinion on which is best – and why. If your children don’t agree – it’s bound to happen! – don’t panic. Instead, ask questions to get them thinking. This will help them make a decision that everyone can be satisfied with.

Ask your child this tough OLSAT test question: Annie looked up at the sky and could not believe what she saw! There were exactly as many hot air balloons flying as she had fingers on her hand. Point to the box that shows what she saw.

It’s also helpful to tell your child about instances where you’ve had to solve a perplexing problem, and show her that it’s okay to make a mistake. For example, you might tell your child, “Oh dear, I left the popcorn in the microwave too long, and now it’s all burned. That’s OK – I’ll make another bag, and this time I’ll keep a closer eye on it!” This shows her both that everyone makes mistakes, and that using creative thinking can help you rectify those mistakes.

Using this model when your child confronts a novel problem or situation will help build his problem-solving skills for the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests – so that by the time he’s finished with school, he’s well-versed in assessing complex problems and coming up with the best solution. This independence will fuel your child’s success, and ensure that he will never be at a total loss when confronted with a new challenge!