NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing


Fostering high-order thinking for the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests
November 30, 2017, 6:07 pm
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program | Tags: , ,

High-order thinking needed for the NYC Gifted and Talented Test

The definition of cognition states that it is “the mental faculty or process by which knowledge is acquired.”  When a child combines aspects of cognitive skills to evaluate what he sees, hears, and reads, and then makes decisions, reaches conclusions, or solves problems based on analysis of information, he is using “higher-order thinking.”  Kids naturally use these skills, often getting it wrong, but only because they are just beginning to understand the laws and rules governing the world.  For example, they might surmise that since you grew tomatoes from seeds, why couldn’t you plant a steak bone and grow a cow?

This “higher-order thinking” was explained and is still relevant today by Russian author Korney Chukovsky in his 1928 book, From Two to Five.  He demonstrated through observations that children’s higher-order thinking process takes shape in this way:

  • Observing and asking questions – watching and listening begins their exploration.
  • Sorting, classifying, and comparing for conceptual thinking – children then sort the information that has been gathered into groups and classifications.
  • Reasoning – they now start to make sense of concepts or form opinions. (I always liked the story of the little boy who witnessed his grandma remove her dentures who said, “Wow, now take out your eyes, Granny!”.….out of the mouths [and minds] of babes!)
  • Hypothesizing – they can now use reasoning skills to predict what might happen next.
  • Problem Solving – children will eventually realize with experience that situations can be changed. And, using creative thinking, they can generate ideas, look for alternatives and try to see beyond the obvious to solve a problem (cheers to Thomas Edison!)
  • Critical Thinking – the child will now consider different sides of an issue or a possible solution, while weighing the pros and cons and forming an opinion.
  • Decision Making – after examining and evaluating all sides of an issue or the options on the table, he makes the best choice he can.

And, it’s been proven that children who grow up using higher-order thinking become more creative, flexible and persistent because they know how to generate, critique and choose from an assortment of ideas and don’t become flustered when they hit a dead end, because they know how to seek out alternatives.

As a parent, you can foster your child’s higher-order thinking skills by doing the following as you prepare for the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests for entry into the NYC Gifted and Talented Program:

  • Promote questions: Yes, I said it….keep the barrage of questions coming, no matter how painful they may be!  And, offer up answers that will encourage his desire to explore deeper, engage in conversation on the topic and expand the discussion.
  • Don’t Solve Problems for your child: If you solve your child’s problem for him, you’re taking away an opportunity for her to use her own problem-solving skills.  Plus, if a child is constantly directed on how to do things, she will look to you for the answers rather than try for herself.
  • Encourage experimentation: Teach your child that there is rarely one correct way to solve a problem and praise and applaud her even if it doesn’t work.
  • Teach adaptability: If, after using problem-solving, your child’s decision didn’t work, simply show your child that you can go back, reevaluate and try something else.  This ability to roll with change is critical to succeeding in our dynamic, ever-changing world.
  • Let go of control: This is the hard one, but it’s known that parents who constantly exert control over their children squash their creative spirits. So, next time there’s a mud pie bake off, BACK OFF and let the baking begin, because this is where your child gets to experiment, explore, think and try out her ideas.  The value of play is the play itself, not what is produced, although a Fruit Loop mud pie is enticing!


Tips and tricks for the NNAT-2 test
October 11, 2017, 4:31 pm
Filed under: nnat test, NYC Gifted and Talented Program | Tags: ,

Is your child taking the NNAT-2 test for the New York City Gifted and Talented?

If your child is going to be taking the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability test, or NNAT any time soon, you’re probably a little worried. What is this test like? How will my child do? What if my child isn’t good at spatial reasoning, or puzzles?

The NNAT is a visual spatial reasoning test that is used as one of the two tests to screen kids for the NYC Gifted and Talented Program. The test takes about half an hour. It’s multiple choice and no reading is required. For each section of the test, children start out with easier questions and they keep going until they miss four, or five in a row.

A pattern completion question that we would expect a second, or third grader to be able to answer. Here, the child has to figure out which square belongs in the empty box to complete the puzzle. The answer is D.

Can you imagine asking a young child to handle a question like this for the very first time on a test where the results are so important? Practice really helps.

For older children, the NNAT-2 questions are much harder, because kids need to figure out what a design on the bottom will look like when folded and then rotated like the design on top. The answer is C.

If your young child is taking the NNAT test and you’d like to learn more about the kinds of questions that will be asked visit TestingMom.com for free practice questions.



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!



It’s back to school for NYC schools!

Today is the day! It’s back to school for NYC schools! This includes all gifted and talented programs peppered throughout the city.  And there’s good news for District 16 in Bed-Stuy that now has the only G&T program in that district. This was determined at the end of last school year although this is for students starting in 3rd grade and not kindergarten like other gifted and talented programs in the city. Both district-wide and citywide programs offer the NYC G&T program starting into kindergarten as the talented tots are tested with the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests. You can get free practice questions from my friends at TestingMom.com.

In addition to Bed-Stuy’s new NYC program there were 3 other new G&T programs implemented in districts without these coveted programs. These were opened in S. Bronx and Ocean Hill.

 

 

 



NYC dept of ed urging renewal of Pearson contract for exams

Well, it looks like the NYC dept of ed is urging the renewal of the Pearson contract for $13.4M. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Pearson is the creator of standardized testing as we know it today and has a solid hold on the testing market across the nation within the public school system. According to the Wall Street Journal, this $13.4 would be a 6 year deal with the NYC dept of education.  This particular contract focuses on the entrance exams into the NYC specialized high schools like Stuyvesant High School, Bronx Science, Brooklyn tech and a few more. These specialized high schools are code-word for gifted and talented but I suppose it stings less to parents and students if their child isn’t admitted into one of these top high schools in the city. The admission process for these specialized high school doesn’t come without it’s critics, whom have reason to be critical since the admission process for these programs is based solely on the test with zero regarding to student performance in middle school. By the time a student reaches high school there’s a proven track record of their work from elementary through middle school. Although the test should be considered as part of the admissions process it doesn’t seem fair to the student or the high school that entry be based solely upon the test to receive a coveted seats at any of these prestegious high schools (especially Stuyvesant and Bronx Science).  Schools like Stuyvesant have a predominately Asian and white student body which isn’t a true reflection of the diversity of New York City. Even though many claim the diversity is seen through socio-economic status since many students at these top high schools do qualify for the free lunch programs.

Although this doesn’t have a direct impact on the NYC gifted and talented testing, keep in mind that Pearson (coincidentally, wink-wink!) is the publisher of the NNAT-2 test and OLSAT test that are given to pre-K to 2nd grades for entry into the very popular gifted and talented program.  We’ll see what happens with the NYC G&T test contract is up and if Pearson renews again. If you want to take a look at some of the practice questions you can get free ones at Testing Mom.



Four new gifted and talented programs won’t use OLSAT or NNAT tests
August 23, 2016, 4:25 pm
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program | Tags: , ,

No preparing for the OLSAT and NNAT tests for these schools

Kids in four districts won’t have to worry about any prepping this year. There are four new gifted and talented programs what won’t use the OLSAT or the NNAT-2 tests for admissions into the coveted program.  The four new programs will have their first entry point into the third grade (not kindergarten like the rest of the G&T programs sprinkled across the city). The four programs are launching in districts that currently have no gifted programs so the city now can boast that every school district across the city does now have a G&T program for students.

Here’s the list of the new third grade G&T classes:

  • South Bronx District 7
  • Crotona Park District 12
  • Bed-Stuy District 16
  • Ocean Hill/Brownsville’s District 23

The DOE will admit students to these four programs based upon a variety of measures like academic performance in K to 2nd grade, attendance, fast learner, highly curious and motivated. It sounds like some of these are objective while other measures are pure subjective based upon a teacher’s opinion.

If you’re not one of the lucky ones living near these schools make sure you start preparing for the upcoming NYC Gifted and Talented test with free practice questions at Testing Mom.



Is your child gifted or just bright?

There are many signs of a gifted child and some possible signs include: excellent memory, great sense of humor, morally sensitive, perfectionist, questions authority and good at jigsaw puzzles.

Well, the folks at Testing Mom (home of the 100 free practice questions) came out with a new and entertaining way to find out if your child is gifted or bright. Take the  5 question quiz to find out if you child is gifted or just bright.

Here’s a list of the most popular questions parents ask about the NYC Gifted and Talented program.

  1. What are some signs of giftedness?
  2. Should you do test prep for the OLSAT test and NNAT2 test?
  3. What does testing 4-year-olds tell us about their giftedness?
  4. What does a G&T curriculum look like in NYC schools?
  5. What are some pluses of gifted programs?
  6. What are some minuses for gifted programs?
  7. When will you find out about getting a seat?
  8. Where can you get more info on the test?

You can find the answers to all these questions (and more!) on a great article on DNA Info written by Amy Zimmer.