NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing


Summer slide and preparing for the NYC Gifted Test

Summer is in full swing!

I’ve spoken before about the need to keep your child’s academic skills and test prep for the NYC gifted and talented test up to speed over the summer, but today I want to talk about how to keep your child’s practical skills sharp so that, when it is time to return to school, she won’t feel nervous or overwhelmed. Here are a few ways to help keep your child from falling into a rut and fall victim to the summer slide!

  • Keep a summer routine:

    Even though your child may not be getting up as early as he would during the school year, make sure he gets plenty of rest and wakes up at the same time each day. Further, keep a schedule that is fairly consistent from day to day — meals, sports, and any other regular activity should take place around the same time each day. If your child is going to a day or sleepaway camp, the routine of that experience will also help him mentally prepare for school.

  • Make time for social interaction:

    It can be easy for kids to isolate during the summer months. Family vacations, solitary games and activities, and lazy days by the pool lack the constant social interaction that kids get in school. So make sure to sign your child up for a summer camp or organized sport where she’ll have the opportunity to interact with other children her age, or at least make regular play-dates with her closest friends. This will help your child enter school confident and eager to spend time with the other children in her class.

  • Enjoy leisure reading:

    As you remember from your time in college, grad school, or even high school, an intense academic schedule leaves little time for so-called “pleasure reading.” Today’s NYC students face a similar problem, especially if they are enrolled in the gifted and talented program. So take advantage of the summer months by reading together at the beach on Coney Island — or, if your child is old enough to read to himself, by giving him time every day to do so. Go to the main NYC Library on 34th street to join their summer reading challenge. Or a bookstore and let your child pick out a few books that he wants to read. Giving your child his choice of books will reinforce that reading is fun – and will leave him excited to tackle all the “non-pleasure” reading he’ll have to face in the fall.

  • Don’t stress “back-to-school” too early:

    While it’s a good idea for you, as a parent, to always have the coming school year in the back of your mind, it’s not necessary for you to harp on the OLSAT test prep too early in the summer. Asking an occasional question like, “What are you most looking forward to next year?” is fine, and will help your child approach the year with an open mind and positive attitude. But try to avoid too many school references until two weeks before the new year starts, so that your child feels she’s had a real vacation over the summer.

Use the above tips to give your child a fulfilling and productive time off from school while avoiding the ‘summer slide’ — and get her ready to the fall when the time comes!

Now’s the time to start thinking about developing the core test skills for your child.

Watch this video to learn how:



Start preparing for the NYC gifted and talented test

Well, it’s time to start preparing for the NYC gifted and talented test even though school starts in September. So far, there have been no changes announced by the Dept. of Ed to the testing process and procedures for this upcoming testing season in January-February 2016.   Here are some quick and dirty stats as of the time of this writing:

  • 70,000 seats in standard-track gen-ed kindergarten classrooms; 2,700 seats in G&T programs* (appx. 250 seats are available for Citywide programs – this is for non-siblings).
  • Admission based solely on the test score (for NNAT-2 test and OLSAT test). The NNAT test has 48 questions and the OLSAT has 30 non-verbal questions. Each test accounts for 50% of the child’s overall score. The two tests are administered at the same time with the NNAT non-verbal first then the OLSAT verbal section.
  • In Jan.-Feb. 2015 almost 38,000 students from pre-K to 2nd grade took the NYC gifted and talented test.
  • Pre-K students do not need to fill in bubble sheet – only point to the correct answer.
  • Kindergarten to 2nd grade take test at school if in public school. No testing in 3rd to 5th grade.
  • Once in gifted program, no re-testing necessary each year through 5th grade. Middle school is entirely different story.
  • If your pre-K child is testing for the G&T continue with your registration for general ed. kindergarten at your local public school. Do the two processes concurrently.
  • Important note: G&T curriculum varies from program to program – even at the district level. There is no standard G&T curriculum in NYC so make sure you check with other parents who have kids in the program to get as much information as you can about their curriculum and how it varies (if at all) compared to the general ed classrooms. Some vary,  some don’t so do your homework!

If you’re looking for more in-depth guide on the New York City Gifted and Talented Program there’s a well written guide from the folks at Testing Mom for only five dollars. The best deal around.

NYC Survival Guide cover



Changes to the NYC Gifted and Talented Program

Earlier this week the New York City Department of Education announced changes to the NYC Gifted and Talented Program to take effect for this upcoming testing season and for students entering the NYC G&T program for next school year. Here’s the quick and dirty based upon a quick run through of the handbook:

  • The NNAT2 (Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test) will now account for 2/3 of the total score while the OLSAT (Otis-Lennon School Abilities Test) will account for the other 1/3 of the score. In prior years, the OLSAT test accounted for 75% of the score while the BSRA-Bracken (no longer used) accounted for 25% of the score. This is a major shift in the testing criteria since the NNAT-2 test is much more difficult than both the BSRA and the OLSAT test. Just see for yourself with free sample questions on the TestingMom.com web site.
  • You’ll need to register by November 9, 2012 online.
  • There are DOE information sessions for parents, the first one in Brooklyn on October 22 and in Manhattan on October 24. Details below in my previous post from the other day.
  • The scoring will be much more precise and done by composite score from 200 to 900 points. Even if two children are in the 99th percentile the composite score would differentiate the two children. One could get an 860 and other 864 (both in the 99th percentile) but the 864 would have higher priority than the 860. Sorry to sound like our kids are numbers but I suppose that’s the only way to do this more precisely. Now the NYC snob parents can accurately compare their 99th percentile child to other 99th percentiles and make a judgement call from there.
  • The biggest change is there is no guarantee placement for kids going into Kindergarten and first grade if they make the 90th percentile cut-off.  In the past, if a parent ranked all schools available then they would get placement but this year that has changed.
  • Not sure if the NNAT2 test is going to be timed or not. The handbook didn’t indicate that it would be so who knows!