NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing


NYC Gifted and Talented Testing Overview

NYC Gifted and Talented Testing

Here’s a good overview of the NYC gifted and talented program as of early 2017. 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!

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 NNAT2 test.

 

OLSAT Levels

Grade

 Level A  Pre-K to Kindergarten
 Level B  First Grade
 Level C  Second Grade

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 Otis Lennon School Ability Test® (OLSAT® test), there are 3 types of questions:

 

 Types of Questions

Description of type of OLSAT verbal questions

Arithmetic Reasoning

The child must listen carefully to math word problems that use basic mathematical concepts such as same, different, fewer, more, etc., along with simple addition, subtraction, fractions (half, quarter), etc.

Following Directions

Here the child must listen carefully to verbal questions describing similarities and differences, positional and rank comparisons (above, below, between, next to, bigger, smaller, etc.), or descriptions and choose visual images that fit the description.

 Aural Reasoning

Again, the child must listen carefully to verbal descriptions of scenarios, similarities and differences, prepositions, and situations that use vocabulary or ideas that make the child think in order to choose the visual image that fits the description.

 



Push to expand NYC gifted and talented programs

Over the past few years it’s become evident the lack of racial diversity in the NYC gifted and talented programs across the city. The biggest gaps are most evident in lower-income, minority neighborhoods. Not only that, the two boroughs of the Bronx and Staten Island neither have a citywide program within their borough. For the students living in the Bronx of Staten Island and scoring a 99th percentile on the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests doesn’t guarantee a city-wide seat. And if these students do somehow get into a citywide gifted and talented program like NEST or Anderson it would take in some cases almost 2 hours of commute time each way with public transportation. The gifted and talented problem of supply and demand has been evident over the past several years with over 1,900 pre-K kids qualifying for a citywide seat and only 250-300 kindergarten seats being available.

The DOE promises to open more programs across the city, especially in areas that have few district wide gifted and talented programs. The DOE determines what areas get a new gifted program based upon the amount of kids who take the test in that district. Unfortunately, it’s a vicious cycle since many students don’t take the test since the parents don’t know about the test or don’t bother for whatever reason. There are plenty of students in both the Bronx and Staten Island to justify the opening of a new citywide program in each of those boroughs but it’s a tough sell since space is limited and educating local residents about this program.

The NYC G&T program does offer excellent educational opportunities but only for those who are aware of the program. Hopefully outreach to the local communities will make some sort of impact but as with anything that has to do with the DOE it will take years to see change.