NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing


Guidance for parents preparing kids for the OLSAT test

How preparing for the OLSAT scored this child a seat at citywide G&T program!

A story from one NYC mom

I just have to get this off of my chest:  if my sister-in-law shares one more story about every “lady” (and I use that term loosely) and their weekly escapades on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” I might go bonkers.  Doesn’t she have more important things do to with her valuable time than to watch these chicks cat fight and pull out each other’s weaves?  Seriously, I’ve seen enough Jerry Springer to last me a lifetime (and I’ve made my penance for that)…please, forgive me, for I have sinned!

I mean, can’t we talk about something more intellectually stimulating than who wore the faux leopard-print dress? I simply could care less. On the other hand, if you want to tell me about the new philanthropic idea you’ve come up with to help the children in India, I’m all ears – start talking! That’s why today I’m here to talk about things that make a difference (and I promise you, there will be no talk about Kenya’s new eyelash extensions – spare me the agony!)

My goal of this blog has always been to offer guidance to New York City parents who find themselves alone and confused on the heretofore unfamiliar road known as OLSAT and NNAT-2 test prep – and to prepare and expose children to the concepts necessary for their entry into the NYC gifted and talented program. All of the other extras that come along with your membership are just my gift to children everywhere to make sure they have the knowledge and power that they all rightfully deserve.

Try this OLSAT practice question: Point to the picture that shows this: Cindy has dived off the board but she has not yet hit the water.

But, don’t take it from me, here’s what this Park Slope – Brooklyn mom recently emailed me:

“We began preparing our daughter for the OLSAT test 8 months ago. The task to prepare for the test seemed overwhelming and confusing. We were even more discouraged when the schools we wanted to apply to told us there is no preparation possible for the test. Then we came across TestingMom.com and it offered us a clear and focused path to building the underlying skills our child needed for the test. The resources and various material on TestingMom.com, were instrumental in our daughter scoring in the 99th percentile and getting a citywide seat at BSI – Brooklyn School of Inquiry.”

When I read such inspiring emails from dedicated parents I get thrilled to know there are so many engaged parents in NYC who want the best education for their kids!

Think about it: would you put your four-year-old on a 10-speed bicycle without first teaching them how to pedal a small bike with training wheels? Would you throw your five-year-old into the pool and tell them to swim without first teaching them the basics of water safety? I certainly hope not!  So why on earth would any halfway-conscientious parent send their child into a life-changing test like the OLSAT and NNAT-2 with no exposure to the topics involved or the questions asked – it’s like putting your child on a mountain bike without a helmet, or in the pool without a lifeguard: they’re going to get banged up during the process, and quite possibly mentally scarred as well. No parent should want their young child to embark on such a brutal – and ultimately doomed – endeavor.

Classification is a big component of the OLSAT test.

Here’s a good video on how to teach your child about classificationl



NYC gifted and talented seminars in October
October 20, 2016, 3:50 pm
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program | Tags: ,

Our friends at Testing Mom (home of the free practice questions for gifted and talented) are hosting two live seminars for parents in October. One will be on the Upper East Side and the other midtown west near Penn Station. Both seminars cover the same material so you only need to attend one.

If you’re a parent to a preschooler or early elementary school-aged child and feel overwhelmed or confused by the NYC gifted and talented program eligibility testing and admissions process, you can hear from a team of NYC experts. They do ask that due to the topic children should not attend these sessions. You can register below:

 



NYC Gifted and Talented Testing Overview

NYC Gifted and Talented Testing Overview

Here’s a great overview from our friends at TestingMom.com (home of the 100 free practice questions for gifted and talented and private school admissions to help your child prep for these tests with tons of sample questions.)

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!

In NYC, you have 3 possibilities when it comes to a free gifted & talented education for your young child. Children take different tests to qualify for these programs:

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 NNAT®2 test.

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 Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test® (NNAT®2 test), all of the questions are “puzzles” involving shapes and figures that require visual-spatial reasoning to solve.

 



Gifted and talented program headed to district 16
March 28, 2016, 4:55 pm
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program | Tags:

New Gifted and Talented Program coming to Brooklyn

Well, the parents in Bed-Stuy are breathing a sigh of relief after it was recently announced a new G&T program will be heading their way in fall of 2016 school year for elementary schools. In the fall of 2017 school year their will be a new gifted and talented program for middle school students. This area has already been underrepresented when it comes to gifted and talented programs. This chancellor suggested the program for the elementary school start under a new model for 3rd grade students instead of kindergarten level. Although, most parents want their talented tots to start the program as early as possible with some even demanding their be a new pre-K G&T program introduced in all five boroughs.  It looks like the vote will take place in April as to whether or not the plan moves forward with the initiation of this new G&T program for the students in this district.



Countdown has started for NYC parents!
December 14, 2015, 2:56 pm
Filed under: nnat test, NYC Gifted and Talented Program, OLSAT Test | Tags:

Well, the countdown has started for NYC parents who are anxiously awaiting testing day for the gifted and talented entrance exam starting in a few short weeks. The talented tots start making their annual pilgrimage starting Jan. 9, 2016 to line up one-by-one to take the OLSAT test and NNAT2 test at designated schools across all five boroughs. Last year alone over 30,000 pre-K to 2nd grade students took the test and almost half were the 4-year-olds vying for a coveted seated in one the top kindergarten gifted and talented programs sparingly sprinkled throughout the city. During the holiday-winter- Christmas break from school parents will begin the final push to make sure their child gets enough sleep and drinks plenty of jumpy juice on test day to make it into the 99th percentile. Although, even at the highest percentile ranking of 99 does not guarantee a seat in the program (why that would make it too darn easy!). At 99th percentile the child is then placed in a pool with over 1,500 kids who are attempting to get a citywide seat that has approximately 250-300 available each year. The children are radmonly selected from the pool of 99s so hope your child gets in top 100. Welcome to the city of hard knocks if your kid doesn’t make the cut!



Top tips for NYC gifted and talented schools

It’s that time of year again for children to make the annual pilgrimage to the take the OLSAT and NNAT2 tests for vie for a coveted spot in the NYC gifted and talented program for next school year. Here are a couple of tips for NYC parents to remember after their talented tot takes the test in January.

Top tips for NYC gifted and talented schools:

  • Make sure you visit every G&T school your child is eligible to attend after scores are released in April 2016. Some schools have very good reputations but keep in mind there are quite a few hidden gems in the city. Make sure you discover for yourself if a school would be a good fit for your child or not after visiting the school in person. Don’t rely on second hand information to base your final decision on what’s the best fit for YOUR child.
  • There is a misconception that citywide G&T programs like NEST and Anderson are better than their district wide counterparts. This isn’t necessarily true since all G&T programs and curriculum vary dramatically so make sure you do your homework to find out the ins-and-outs of the schools your child is eligible for either district wide or citywide.  The major plus about citywide programs is those schools go through 8th grade or all the way through 12th grade, depending on the school. That means no middle school or high school admissions process (believe me, that’s a big plus!). Once your child is in a program they are there to stay unless you decide to remove your child for whatever reason like moving or you’re tired of trying to keep up with the mountains of homework your child brings home every day.

There’s also a great article on DNA Info with even more tips for parents deciding about G&T programs for their children.



Parents beware! Mistake in NYC G&T handbooks
November 18, 2015, 6:00 pm
Filed under: nnat test, NYC Gifted and Talented Program, OLSAT Test | Tags: ,

It seems like the NYC G&T department made some serious errors in the 115,000 G&T handbooks given out that were translated into nine languages according to the article in AM New York. You’re lucky if you received the handbook in English since there were no errors in the questions and answers for the guides that were handed out. It seems the DOE didn’t bother to have someone take a few minutes of their time to proofread the copies that were in the non-English written materials. It seems that the DOE officials were scrambling to fix the error of their ways by scrambling around to try to correct the screw-up. This caused them to extend the deadline to register for the OLSAT test and NNAT-2 test (free practice questions on Testing Mom) that are the entrance exams required for a 4-year-old to get a seat in a top-notch kindergarten for free.  It seems these types of errors are completely preventable but I suppose no one at the DOE was thoughtful enough to think of the ramifications of not having these important materials proofread by a professional before printing. I will give the DOE credit for the cover of the NYC G&T handbook this year. I think the artwork is very well done. Too bad they didn’t put the same time and energy in making sure the practice questions they provided were up to par.

 

 

doe handbook