NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing


Tips on preparing your child for the NYC Gifted and Talented tesst
May 29, 2018, 3:40 pm
Filed under: tests | Tags: ,

Ready to prep? Here are some test prep tips for the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests!

The purpose of preparing your child for the NYC G&T test to give you a general idea of your child’s strengths and weaknesses with respect to the different types of questions that will be asked on the actual tests. Here are a few tips to take into consideration while your prepare.

  • Seat your child comfortably at a desk where he can work. The room should be well lit. Make sure he isn’t hungry, tired, or missing out on his favorite TV show.  Don’t describe what you’re doing as a test or assessment.  Just refer to these as “brain games” where you’ll get to do some fun, practice school activities.
  • BEFORE YOU BEGIN TO PRACTICE QUESTIONS: Sign-up for free practice questions from the TestingMom.com website.   Go through this entire instrument without telling your child whether his answers are correct. This instrument is for your benefit only – first, to show you where your child needs help and then to show you the progress he has made.
  • Give your child a break between different sets of questions if that is needed. Remember, with the Pre-Assessment your goal is to find out which types of activities your child does well and which present a challenge for him.  Once you understand his strengths and weaknesses, you can work on the areas that are hard for him.  The actual OLSAT test has 30 questions and the NNAT-2 has 48 questions for a total of 78 questions.  The Assessments have 45 – 60 questions each.   Don’t get frustrated if you need extra time to get through all the material, especially when doing the Pre-Assessment (before your child has built up any “test stamina”).
  • Based on how your child does, you will know which types of questions to focus your efforts on when preparing. Work with your child over a period of time using the practice questions and games on the TestingMom.com website.
  • For the Assessments, whether your child is applying to kindergarten or 1st grade, he should attempt to answer the first 15 questions in each section. If your child is applying to 2nd or 3rd grade, he should attempt to answer all 20 questions in each section.  [Questions generally go from easy to harder.]
  • between the 1st and 2nd set of scores will vary depending on how much practice you have done with your child and how well she has mastered the concepts.
  • Your goal is to see significant improvement between the two sets of scores your child earns doing the Pre-Assessment (without preparation)…and the Post-Assessment (with preparation).


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
97+)
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
97+)
District Qualifier (Scored 90
96)
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

 



Fostering high-order thinking for the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests
November 30, 2017, 6:07 pm
Filed under: tests | 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: tests | 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
August 1, 2017, 12:30 pm
Filed under: tests | Tags: , ,

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!
September 8, 2016, 3:11 pm
Filed under: tests | Tags: , ,

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
August 25, 2016, 3:17 pm
Filed under: tests | Tags: , , ,

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.