NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing


Looking beyond the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests

Getting into a NYC gifted and talented program

It’s hard enough to juggle the everyday responsibilities that you have as a parent. But NYC parents are being faced with an added item on their to-do list: preparing for the Gifted and Talented test that could get their child into an advanced academic program available to NYC residents.

Many parents – probably too many – put this responsibility on the back-burner, distracted and consumed by what they perceive as more pressing concerns. There are a number of reasons for this. Some parents don’t understand the value of a gifted and talented program. This is especially true for parents who may have a good gen ed program next door, who believe that their children will receive an “adequate” education: what’s the point of stressing myself out for a program that might not make much of a difference, these parents wonder. I can tell you that this is a terrible mistake: even in the best public schools, the test scores and academic performance of kids in gifted and talented programs are dramatically better than those enrolled in the general program. Not to mention the opportunities that open up to children in gifted programs that simply aren’t available to other children.

Here’s a OLSAT Level A question they ask pre-K students: Point to the picture that shows this: David and Mark got very tired after they played ball.

Other parents are afraid that their child won’t make the cut, and are hesitant to dive in without a guarantee of success. This is an understandable impulse, and one that people make in all areas of life, including their career, personal goals, and even romantic relationships. But the old adage that “you can’t win if you don’t play” applies particularly well to gifted and talented programs, where only kids who take the test are even in the running to get a seat.

Finally, there are the parents who have every intention of preparing for the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests, but put it off until it’s too late. This happens even to the most dedicated parents, who often get caught up in their many other responsibilities and then panic as the test day nears. I have heard from countless parents in this boat – once a mother emailed me in a frenzy literally hours before the test, asking me what she could do to prepare her son. Unfortunately, at that point I told her the only thing she could do is to give him a solid breakfast and then do plenty of praying.

I know all of this sounds pretty bleak, but here’s the good news: it isn’t too late for your little one. Now’s the time to start gearing up for the NYC Gifted and Talented test in January.

Here’s the steps you need to take to ensure that your child is ready for test day – before it’s too late:

  • Sign up for a Testing Mom Fast Track membership today. You’ll get access to thousands of OLSAT and NNAT-2 practice questions instantly!  These practice questions will help your child get familiar not only with the material they’ll encounter on the exam, but with the process of sitting down for an extended period of time and working through challenging problems without getting frustrated.
  • Come up with some light, fun ways to get your child ready – so that they don’t get burned out or anxious using traditional practice questions all the time. Fortunately, your Testing Mom membership also gives you access to interactive online games that prepare your child for the test while they think they’re just having fun!
  • Don’t lose sight of your child’s academic performance. It’s important to prep for the test, but it’s equally important to make sure your child stays a step ahead in school.
  • Parents have given Testing Mom rave reviews!


Importance of preparing for the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests

Importance of entrance exams for the NYC Gifted and Talented program

I don’t have to tell you how important the exam for entrance in the NYC Gifted and Talented program is and how more important it is to prepare for the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests. These exams are no joke!  At this very moment, parents around New York City are frantically preparing their child for these tests, since every extra point on the OLSAT test score can make a difference between getting a citywide seat vs. a district wide The process of researching, registering for, preparing for, and then finally taking the Gifted and Talented test is one of the most stressful experiences a parent will ever have.  Especially when the child is a mere 4 years old! But, of course, the opportunities that come along with admission into a highly-competitive Gifted program make all the sleepless nights and gnashing of teeth well worth it.

Here’s another OLSAT practice test question: Do you see the children in the first box? Each child needs 2 pencils for school. Point to the box that shows how many pencils the children need altogether.

For many NYC moms and dads, the process of preparing for the G&T test is so intense, and so all-consuming, that when the exam is finally over, they’re left with a strange sense of emptiness. I’ve had more than one parent ask me, half-joking but still sounding concerned, “How will I spend all my time now?” Mind you, these were parents of young children, many of whom had full-time jobs or other commitments outside of their home.

Well, I know firsthand that as unpleasant as the process of preparing for the test can seem, it’s a bit of a letdown once the process is finally over. I went through it with my own daughter several years ago and that was the catalyst to start this blog to help parents (like you!) ease the stress of going through this treacherous process.

That’s why I want to give you some suggestions for what to do after the OLSAT test is over. If you’re in the thick of preparing for the exam now, it’s important to maintain your focus and put all your energy into ensuring that your child receives a top score. (I trust that you’re already doing that and have been for some time!). But rest assured that, once the test is over, plenty of work remains to be done. Here are just a few things you’d be wise to focus on when your child walks out of the testing room:

  • Improve your child’s math skills

    • Even for children who are naturally good at math, it’s crucial that you work with materials outside your child’s normal homework assignments to give them an edge over their classmates.
  • Encourage your child to read more

    • What parent doesn’t melt at the sight of their son or daughter sitting quietly with a book (or, these days, a Kindle)? But many kids don’t like to read – or have learning delays that make the process frustrating and demoralizing. Make sure you use programs help your child develop the basic reading skills they need, and make reading so fun your child will never want to stop!
  • Explore the world

  • Get ready for the Common Core State Standards:

    • Yes, the OLSAT test may be over but that means the NY State Test (aka the Common Core tests) are around the corner starting in third grade. Now is not the time to rest upon your laurels.
  • Teach your child about the value of a dollar

    • Given how few schools teach children how to budget and handle money, is it any wonder that so many people are so bad at money management? Get your child started down the right path early counting money. TD Bank used to have a fun change machine called Penny Arcade but unfortunately, they removed these machines last year. Check with your local bank to see what fun activities they have to engage your child with financial literacy.

Make sure your child will maintain an edge once the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests is over – and that once they make it into that coveted NYC gifted and talented program, they start out ahead of their peers.



Avoid the summer slide
June 23, 2017, 12:25 pm
Filed under: nnat test, OLSAT Test | Tags: ,

Summer slide is no joke

As I’m sure you’ve heard the “summer slide” is no joke. This is where your child can lose up to 3 to 4 months of learning during the summer months unless learning activities take place. Along with preparing your child for the upcoming NYC G&T with practice questions for OLSAT and NNAT2 tests here are a few activities you and your child can do to keep the activities fresh, fun and educational during the long break from school to avoid the summer slide!

  • Outdoor play date:

    If the weather is cooperating, take your child and her friends outside for a game of hide-and-seek or tag. Or plan a scavenger hunt for plants and animals that can be found in your backyard or a nearby park. This is a great way to get your kids some physical activity and sunshine, while also letting them run around and just be kids!

  • Trip to the zoo:

    Take your child and his friend to the local zoo. The wide array of animals — many of which your child probably hasn’t seen before — will be sure to start a conversation. And of course, a trip to the zoo is a great educational opportunity, since it teaches your child about a broad variety of animals living in different habitats. If you don’t have a zoo within reach, look for aquariums or petting zoos — these can be just as fun and educational!

  • Baking or cooking:

    If your child likes to eat (and whose doesn’t?), what better way to spend an afternoon than baking or cooking together? Have your child and his friend help you read a recipe, measure out ingredients, or mix a batter. By helping you in the kitchen, your child will learn about measurements — how many tablespoons are in a cup, for example — and focusing on the task at hand will improve his attention span. This also presents a great opportunity to remind your child and his friend that they should never be in the kitchen by themselves, especially when sharp objects are around or the oven is on.

  • Reading marathon:

    Reading to children is a time-honored activity. And while many parents choose to read to their child at bedtime, why not mix it up and read a book to your child when she has a friend over? Let each child pick a book, then sit down and read each one aloud. Take time to show the pictures to each child, and make sure to enunciate the words to help expand your child’s vocabulary. If the children are old enough, have them sound out the words and then repeat them back. This will be invaluable in building their reading comprehension.

  • Homemade band:

    Round up all the instruments (or quasi-instruments) that you have in your house — xylophones, keyboards, recorders, whatever! — and put them all in the same room. Then have your child and her friend hunt for items that could be used as instruments — for example, a pot and a metal spoon to be used as a drum. Have the children bring those “instruments” into the same room, and jam out together! You can join the kids, or just sit back and watch as they perform for you.

A child can lose up to 4 months of learning during the summer break and thus that’s where the name “summer slide” comes from!

Summer programs in New York City

If you’re looking for a program this summer to avoid the summer slide, my friends over at FasTracKids still have space available for their summer programs. Their locations:

  • Brooklyn
  • Manhattan
  • Staten Island
  • Queens

You can sign-up for the all summer long program or do week by week. It’s up to you!



Parents frazzled by gifted and talented testing

Many parents don’t know how to handle OLSAT test and NNAT-2 test prep

Many parents, already frazzled when their child begins school in the fall, receive a shock when they learn that their child is eligible to test for the NYC Gifted and Talented program. These G&T programs are invaluable to your child’s education and available in all 5 boroughs across the city. As parents have realized over the years, once their child was is admitted into a G&T program it determined their entire educational trajectory.

However, these initial notes usually do not contain much information on the program or the testing process. The test for NYC gifted and talented admission administered to students does not varies from district to district.

Many times, a citywide or district wide school will simply give a test date (for kids already attending the public school) and leave the rest up to the parents. Thankfully, in NYC the names of the tests (OLSAT test and NNAT-2 test)are given to parents and are able to start preparing months (and in some cases years!) in advance. It is extremely important to get a jump on test prep as soon as you receive word that your child will be tested. These programs are highly competitive and your child may miss out on the program by not testing into the top 99th percentile on the combined OLSAT and NNAT-2. That does not leave much room for error.

How do you discover which test your child will be given to apply to the G&T program?

As soon as you receive the note or email that your child can apply to the G&T program , start by looking on NYC Dept. of Ed website.

Gifted and Talented programs are becoming more and more competitive in New York City. Last year, there were over 2,000 more pre-K students who took the test (16,500) compared to 14,500 the previous year.  Some parents have gone through the process with one child already and have a head start on you if this is your first time through the system. The best way to help your child is to find out immediately which test they will be taking, and start preparing them for that test immediately.

If you do not prepare your child, they will be blindsided by the format of the test, especially if your child is testing to get into gifted kindergarten. This kind of stressful testing situation is what can create test anxiety in your children. Think about if you were 4 years old and asked question after question for an hour, not having been exposed to the format before or even understanding why you were there in the first place. That is a very confusing situation and greatly increases the chances that your child will receive a low score.

Good luck with your Gifted and Talented adventure!



NYC gifted and talented test results released

The NYC gifted and talented test results released!

It looks like overall the scores were consistent with previous years although 35% of the students who took the test and qualified did not receive placement. This is due to the shear volume of kids who take the test and make a qualifying score and the limited amount of seats for the gifted and talented program for district wide and city wide programs.

Here’s a quick rundown of how it panned out:

  • Over 2,000 pre-K students this year took the G&T test compared to last year for a total of 16,580 4-year-olds. Last year, 14,500 took the test.
  • District 2 has the smartest kids (if you go by the scores). This is the district in Manhattan that spans from downtown through Battery Park City, Tribeca, mid-town up through the Upper East Side. Must be something in the water that these kids always seem to score above and beyond the rest of the districts in the city. Over 45% of the kids taking the test in district two qualified for the gifted program. Once word is out the property values will skyrocket even higher!
  • This year, 7,442 students applied for a seat, compared to 8,220 students last year
  • 65.0 percent of applying kindergartners (2,366 students) received an offer for a seat, a decrease from 69.5 percent (2,507 students) last year
  • In total, 54.0 percent of applicants (4,018 students) received an offer, up from 53.4 percent of applicants (4,392 students) last year. The total amount of seats available is around 2,400 between all the district wide and citywide programs in Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Bronx.
  • Many parents have questions how the test is scored. Learn more about how they score the OLSAT and NNAT-2 test for the NYC gifted and talented program.

 

 



NYC Gifted and Talented Testing Overview

NYC Gifted and Talented Testing Overview

Here’s a great overview from our friends at TestingMom.com (home of the 100 free practice questions for gifted and talented and private school admissions to help your child prep for these tests with tons of sample questions.)

If you are reading this, then you are a parent or a grandparent in NYC who is trying to find the best possible school for your little one. There are so many options in New York – private schools, gifted and talented programs, general education – it can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially if your child is just 4-years-old!

In NYC, you have 3 possibilities when it comes to a free gifted & talented education for your young child. Children take different tests to qualify for these programs:

Citywide Gifted and Talented Programs

Children will take the Verbal Portion only of the Otis Lennon School Ability Test® (OLSAT® test), which counts for 50% of the child’s composite score (Following Directions, Aural Reasoning, Arithmetic Reasoning for Levels A, B, C or K – 2nd grade), and the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test® (NNAT®2 test), a non-verbal test, which counts for 50% of the child’s composite score. The question to your right is a practice question for the Pattern Completion subtest for the NNAT®2 test.

Your child will be given a nationally normed percentile rank for the OLSAT test and a percentile rank for the NNAT2 test. Then, these two scores will be combined into a single percentile score that will be normed against other NYC students. A child must score at the 97th percentile or above to be eligible for these programs. In the last few years (due to space limitations), only children who score in the 99th percentile have gotten into these programs. The only exception to this is siblings of current students who are admitted with 97th percentile or above.

District Gifted and Talented Programs

Children will take the Verbal Portion only of the Otis Lennon School Ability Test® (OLSAT® test), which counts for 50% of the child’s composite score (Following Directions, Aural Reasoning, Arithmetic Reasoning for Levels A, B, C or K – 2nd grade), and the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test® (NNAT®2 test), a non-verbal test, which counts for 50% of the child’s composite score – a child must score at the 90th percentile or above to be eligible for these programs.

Your child will be given a nationally normed percentile rank for the OLSAT test and a percentile rank score for the NNAT2 test. Then, these two scores will be combined into a single percentile score that will be normed against other NYC students. A child must score at the 90th percentile or above to be eligible for these programs.

For the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test® (NNAT®2 test), all of the questions are “puzzles” involving shapes and figures that require visual-spatial reasoning to solve.

 



NYC Gifted and Talented Seminars for Parents

It’s that time of year again and the folks from TestingMom.com (the home of free practice questions) are offering NYC parents the opportunity to learn more about the crazy G&T process in New York City. Starting next week, Testing Mom reviews the process at NYC Gifted and Talented Seminars for Parents in mid-town and on the upper east side.

Here are all the topics to be presented at this must-attend seminar for any parent going through the NYC Gifted and Talented testing with their talented tot this year or next year.

  • Citywide vs. district wide gifted and talented programs
  • What’s the difference between a G&T school vs. my local general education school?
  • How to prepare you child for the big test without the stress (for both of you!).
  • Tools and techniques to properly prep your child for the NNAT-2 and OLSAT with practice tests.
  • Have a shy child? Or  separation anxiety on test day? Discover proven techniques that actually work!
  • There’s also going to be live Q&A from the experts from Testing Mom experts reviews all the “ins and outs” of what you can expect on test day as your child is whisked off with a complete stranger for an hour to be given the gifted exam.

Want to attend? Here are the details: