NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing

DOE incompetence according to some

New York Post Slams de Blasio and DOE

Well, the NY Post is at it again with slamming the DOE and de Blasio’s grand plan of making the public schools the utopia of education. Unfortunately, it seems to be getting worse instead of better, especially in the lower income communities around the city.

Let’s face it, sure race plays a roll in disparity of education and whether or not the family has a good income. Unfortunately, this usually falls into distinct racial lines with lower performing schools around the city. The one way the DOE in the past has made efforts to give the best education to all NYC kids is the implementation of the NYC Gifted and Talented program. This newest version of the program was launched under the Bloomberg regime in the early 2000’s and has made a few changes since it’s implementation, although basically the same concept. You sign-up your child ages 4 to 8 to take the NYC G&T test and see what happens. Admissions is solely based on the test results of the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests. They used to give the BSRA (Bracken School Readiness Assessment) along with the OLSAT but due to so many kids acing the Bracken test they changed it to the NNAT-2 test a few years ago.

This article goes on to slam how the DOE makes it practically impossible to know if you actually signed up for your kid to take the G&T test after you register online. The woman who wrote the article I assume is internet savvy (she’s a reporter for the NY Post after all) and she was perplexed by the inefficiencies of the registering tool to get her kid signed-up. News flash: it’s the DOE!  She even contacted a so-called kindergarten admissions expert to make sure she did it correctly. Imagine all the of the other parents who aren’t upper-middle-class and have private consultants at their disposal. The unfortunate parents who don’t have privilege might have given up and didn’t bother to come back web site. Or they thought the registration process worked and actually it didn’t. Who knows! No matter what the reason or cause the process to sign your child up for the test should be clear, concise and easy to understand. Most the parents are new the entire NYC Dept of Ed system and this is their first experience and it sounds like it’s a lousy one (at best).

Solution: do it the old fashion way: 1. mail in the form or 2. call in to an operator and give your information. I think at that point there’s less mystery involved in the process to get your child registered for the G&T test in New York City and actually receive some sort of notification or confirmation number from the Dept. of Ed.

We are hoping all communities in the city have participation rates at the highest level possible. Many parents in the some of these communities have no idea this program even exists. What if they did know? I have no doubt they’d jump at the chance to give their child the best education possible (like all parents regardless of socio-economic status).

Is the admissions process perfect from the NYC G&T program? No. But at least it’s an opportunity for all kids in the city to shine. Let’s give them all the opportunity to shine no matter what their zip code, borough or neighborhood. Let’s have the highest expectations for ALL students and expect them to soar to heights their parents could only dream of before the launch of this program.

I’ve heard rumors and mumbling about the DOE planning to make drastic changes to this program in the coming years. Some things should be left untouched and this is one of those programs. As they say, the road to hell is paved with the best intentions.

If you’re child’s in the NYC G&T program you’re privileged (according to some)
October 29, 2018, 10:09 am
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program

According to a recent interview of the NYC Chancellor of schools here’s his attitude toward the NYC G&T program. I find it interesting since many of the kids who enter the G&T program are from lower income areas in the Asian communities in NYC. These people I’m sure don’t feel any type of “privilege” as stated below.

“Are they really measuring giftedness and talentedness, or are they really measuring, when you’re measuring kids at 4 years old, the privilege of the parent?”

And if that’s not bad enough, here’s what he said about the specialized high schools in NYC like Bronx Science and Stuyvesant. Even though 31% of students qualify for free lunch at Stuyvesant and 32 % at Bronx Science. I doubt the 1/3 of the students at these schools who qualify for free lunch don’t feel like they are at the epicenter of privilege. My guess is, quite the contrary.

They are “the epicenter of privilege” for people like Supreme Court justices — “the ones who don’t like beer.”

More and more gifted programs join diversity effort
September 21, 2018, 5:24 pm
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program | Tags: ,

New York City Gifted and Talented Programs embrace diversity efforts

Over the past two years gifted programs in NYC have adopted changes into their admissions processes to promote a more diverse student population. Some schools, like P.S. 11 in Chelsea, now open 30% of its gifted and talented seats for the coveted program for lower-income, homeless, or reduced lunch students for their program. TAG citywide program reserves 40% of its seats for lower-income students. This makes citywide programs even more competitive now that so many seats are going to be reserved for these students thus cutting out a large percentage of students who would otherwise get a seat and now will not.

The reason behind the diversity push is due to the current demographic makeup of the gifted and talented programs. Hispanics and black students only make up 27% of students in the gifted and talented programs while the entire student popultion comprises over 70% of students across all five boroughs.


The gifted programs that start in kindergarten are considered the gateway for children get into a top middle school and eventually into a specialized high school like Stuyvesant or Bronx Science. That’s one of the reasons pay hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars for their child to get prepared for these tests.

One of the major concerns is that many children in the lower income areas of the city don’t participate in the gifted and talented testing while students in the more affluent areas do participate at an exponentially higher rate. It’s not that parents in the lower income don’t want their kids in these programs, most of these parents have no idea these programs even exist. The NYC dept. of ed. has tried outreach programs although there seems to be little impact on increasing the participation rate for these kids to take the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests. This could be attributed to many of these parents may not speak and/or read English which is a hindrance in learning about the program the DOE has to offere. Hopefully this school year we’ll see higher participation rate of students taking the G&T test in the lower-income areas of the city.

New NYC Dept of Ed Chancellor is anti gifted testing

Well, we knew this one was coming. The new Chancellor for NYC schools says that only the privileged are in the gifted and talented program across the city. Let’s tell that to the first generation American-Chinese parent who is living on a measly salary she gets while working at the fish market in China town. No, it’s not about privileged, it’s about priorities for parenting! Time and time again studies have shown that regardless of race or socio-economic status if the parent is involved in their child’s education that child will be successful in school.  The top high schools in the city, Stuyvesant and Bronx Science, both have 30% of their student populations qualify for free lunch (translation: they are poor). The sad fact is that the vast majority of those students are Asian descent. This doesn’t fit the narrative for the new Chancellor so therefore he conveniently leaves that fact out of anything he says that doesn’t support his political agenda. The easiest solution to this issue is to have all universal pre-K students take the G&T test unless the parent opts-out of the test. This way parents who don’t know about the program don’t have to worry about not being included in the testing. It’s about educating the parents about the program and sometimes the best thing is to just do the testing.  There should also be the ranking within each district for entry into the program. For example, if the highest score in a district is 94 percentile than use that score as the ceiling for the qualification point for the program and work your way down from there. This type of attribution could entice parents to move to certain districts that in the past they would have never considered.

And what if the G&T test went away? What about the tens of thousands of kids already in the program? How is the DOE going to cope with that madness? And also the sibling preference when parents would then send their child to their local school, which is most likely already overcrowded. There are too many foreseen and unforeseen consequences of yanking this program and the Chancellor should really think through these scenarios before mouthing off saying that it has to do with privilege when in actuality it has to do with parent involvement.

The Chancellor also never speaks a word about the contract the DOE has with Pearson, the publisher of the NYC G&T test for the OLSAT and NNAT-2.  That’s a multi-year and multi-million dollar contract the test-prep empire has with the DOE and not one I’d suspect they’d want to give up so easily.

Who should take the NYC G&T test and why
May 25, 2018, 5:02 pm
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program

Who can take the test!

New York City serves the needs of exceptional students by way of the gifted and talented program. Though each program varies in terms of curriculum and materials used by the teachers, they all are aligned with the New York State ELA and math standards (aka Common Core).  The test is absolutely free so what do you have to lose? The G&T test results are confidential and your child’s teacher won’t even know if he/she took the G&T test nor the score. There’s no indication in the school file as to scoring the child makes on the test. The results are the sole determining factor when it comes to placement in the gifted and talented program. So many kids score in the 99th percentile there are no guarantees a child will get a seat due to the shear volume of applicants. Your child needs to be a current resident in one of the five boroughs in New York City who currently attends pre-K through 2nd grade. Even if your child attends a charter school or private school they are eligible to take the G&T test as long as they are a resident.  The G&T program is open to any student with a disability and welcomes all students in accordance with their IEP (individualized education program).


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

Myths about gifted education
May 12, 2018, 12:36 pm
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program | Tags:

Let’s separate fact from fiction for NYC gifted and talented programs

There are many myths floating around New York City about the gifted and talented program so let’s set the record straight!

  1. Gifted children cannot teach themselves. TRUE!
    • Even though many gifted and talented students are ahead of their peers the role of a certified gifted teachers is crucial for the child’s success in school. Just like a professional athlete needs a good coach to reach his/her full potential a gifted student needs the same kind of coaching for a teacher.
  2. Gifted students not only learn more quickly than other students, they learn differently. TRUE
    •  The vast majority of classroom teachers for general education have no training in teaching highly advanced students. In many cases, teachers are often unable to recognize and support gifted learning without specialized training. Many advanced learners are so far ahead of their same-age peers that they know much of the curriculum for their grade as soon as school begins in the fall. They also learn new concepts quickly and unfortunately, must wait for their classmates to catch up.
  3.  Average or below-average students do not look to gifted students as role models. TRUE
    • Most students model their behavior on those who have similar capabilities and are coping well in school. Watching those who are expected to succeed does little to increase an average student’s self-confidence. Gifted students respond to and benefit from classroom interactions with their academic peers so that’s why it’s so important for a child to be surrounded by peers who learn at the same pace and level as each other. This is what the NYC gifted and talented program provides the students.
  4. All children have strengths and positive attributes but are not all gifted in the academic sense of the word. TRUE
    • The label “gifted” is a loaded term and if you ask 100 parents you’ll get 100 different definitions! Let’s face it, ALL children are gifted BUT not all children are academically gifted and have the advanced  learning capabilities for specific subject areas, or in the performing or fine arts compared to others his or her age or grade.

Find out more about the signs of a gifted child. 

Breakdown of Gifted and Talented test scores by district

Results by each district for NYC Gifted and Talented Program

Looks like water in district two produces the smartest kids in the city with districts 30, 30 and 31 not too far behind! Boy, these kids in NYC are so smart or maybe prepped to the max for the OLSAT and NNAT2 tests.

Here is the breakdown of scores for kids entering kindergarten in fall 2018.

s = less than 6

Applying for Kindergarten Fall 2018
District Citywide and District Qualifier (Scored
District Qualifier Only (Scored 90‐96) Ineligible
Totals 1,559 2,100 10,791
1 18 32 128
2 346 347 1,022
3 131 171 538
4 7 10 102
5 15 12 152
6 25 44 233
7 s s 71
8 s 9 166
9 s 8 127
10 18 33 400
11 10 28 369
12 s 9 108
13 58 93 325
14 24 41 136
15 100 138 542
16 s 7 70
17 15 25 207
18 s 14 174
19 s 11 140
20 95 134 719
21 88 77 362
22 150 97 580
23 s 7 78
24 58 107 523
25 69 149 528
26 60 114 451
27 24 24 329
28 85 112 551
29 13 33 343
30 78 119 634
31 45 86 618
32 s s 65



Totals For ALL Grades entering K to 3rd Grade in fall 2018
District Citywide and District Qualifier (Scored
District Qualifier (Scored 90
Ineligible Testers
Totals 3,122 5,912 23,482 32,516
1 49 102 291 442
2 699 852 1,875 3,426
3 246 347 803 1,396
4 13 25 195 233
5 26 40 290 356
6 45 80 422 547
7 s 13 160 175
8 12 43 421 476
9 9 49 379 437
10 43 122 877 1,042
11 35 148 929 1,112
12 7 19 273 299
13 109 167 525 801
14 47 110 298 455
15 210 357 1,039 1,606
16 8 21 134 163
17 30 59 471 560
18 9 30 347 386
19 7 31 301 339
20 212 439 1,652 2,303
21 141 206 790 1,137
22 216 297 1,442 1,955
23 s 15 130 148
24 112 359 1,392 1,863
25 136 416 1,243 1,795
26 158 370 972 1,500
27 41 104 721 866
28 178 344 1,261 1,783
29 38 103 896 1,037
30 179 357 1,451 1,987
31 94 272 1,366 1,732
32 8 15 136 159