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).


Gifted and talented test results 2018 vs. 2017
April 25, 2018, 1:52 pm
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program | Tags: ,

The results are in for the NYC gifted and talented testing for children taking the test in January 2018!

The test scores seem to be consistent year over year when comparing 2018 vs. 2017 data.

Here are the results from this testing from January 2018

  2018 Test Results for OLSAT and NNAT2 Tests
Entering Grade Tested Ineligible District
Eligible Only
% District Eligible
Only
Citywide Eligible %
Citywide Eligible
Total 32,516 23,482 5,912 18% 3,122 10%
Kindergarten 14,450 10,791 2,100 15% 1,559 11%
First grade 7,866 5,544 1,572 20% 750 10%
Second Grade 5,587 4,019 1,183 21% 385 7%
Third Grade 4,613 3,128 1,057 23% 428 9%

 

 

Here are results from last year’s testing in January 2017

 

2017 Test Results for OLSAT and NNAT2 Tests
Entering Grade Tested Ineligible District Eligible
Only
% District
Eligible Only
Citywide Eligible %
Citywide Eligible
Total 34,902 24,905 7,014 20% 2,983 9%
Kindergarten 16,582 12,115 2,858 17% 1,609 10%
First Grade 7,714 5,505 1,618 21% 591 8%
Second Grade 5,714 3,870 1,469 26% 375 7%
Third Grade 4,892 3,415 1,069 22% 408 8%

Source: NYC Dept of Ed.



Preparing for the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests
February 15, 2018, 3:26 pm
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Taking any test can be tough, especially if you’re 4 years old

First, the bad news. Preparing a young child for the NYC Gifted and Talented Test takes works, lots of work! And if you want your child to get admitted to a citywide or district gifted program, your child must receive a qualifying score. There are many pitfalls and obstacles that can stand in the way of your child getting a top score on the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests:

  • Being unfamiliar with the types of questions on the test
  • Test anxiety and not being able sit still for an hour with a stranger
  • Leaving preparing your child for the test to the last minute
  • Not preparing at all
  • Not knowing basic test taking skills like process of elimination and guessing

One of things most parents experience is test anxiety even though they aren’t the ones taking the test! You want to make sure you don’t transfer your anxiety onto your child. You want to make sure your child is prepared and that will help eliminate the anxiety for both you and your child.

Here are a few tips to help eliminate test anxiety:

  • Teach your child to breathe slowly during test and stretch if they need to.
  • Tell your child it’s ok to ask the test proctor (teacher) to take a break to use the restroom during the test.
  • Make sure you visit the testing facility PRIOR to test day so your child is familiar with the school and you can tell your child you’ll be returning to speak to a teacher “who wants to know everything a 4 year old knows!”

Once you’re in the final stretch with test day is within 30 days make sure you make a 30-day plan to really get your child prepared for the test.

  • Do a mock exam from sites like TestingMom.com where you can get a good gauge of where your child is at in knowing the concepts on the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests
  • Do not change your child’s schedule and make sure you keep a solid routine with diet, bedtime and anything to keep the schedule normal. Now is not the time to go on vacation, change your child’s diet (unless it’s unhealthy) or change bedtime or wake time in the morning.


Huge mistake parents make
February 2, 2018, 3:19 pm
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program | Tags: ,

Not planning to prep for the OLSAT or NNAT? Huge mistake.

Everyone makes mistakes, right? It’s a big part of what makes us human and being parents. If we were all perfect, life would be a lot more boring (but also a lot easier!).

Unfortunately, as parents, the mistakes we make in raising our children can affect our kids’ quality of life for years to come.  So many parents have told me about the devastating effects of technology.  These are typically parents who let their kids fritter away watching Disney TV non-stop, and playing mindless video games, without so much as glancing at skill-building materials that help keep them fresh on the subjects they learn in school.

Another common story I hear is from parents who failed to adequately prepare their children for the NYC Gifted and Talented or private school entrance exam. Many parents assume that these tests will be super easy and includes simple questions, especially if their children are only 4 or 5 years old. Boy, are these parents wrong; dead wrong. I can’t tell you how many parents have told me after the fact to tell me something along the lines of, “I just assumed the test would cover basic colors and shapes. That’s why it didn’t even occur to me to prepare for the test ahead of time.” Unfortunately, these parents didn’t find programs like Testing Mom before the big test. Many other parents, knowing that their child is extremely bright or possibly even gifted, are confident that they’ll do fine on the test no matter how hard it is. This is yet another big mistake I see time and time again. What these parents don’t realize is that there are a limited amount of seats in NYC for the gifted program and even missing a few questions on the test can cause their child to not qualify for a program when all the other kids score higher. For parents who don’t take preparation seriously, it can be a devastating blow when they get the OLSAT and NNAT-2 test scores back and find out that their child scored well below the level they would need to make it into an advanced program.

Perhaps the most common mistake I see from parents – and one that can actually be the most devastating – isn’t so much a mistake as it is an attitude toward testing and education in general. Many parents have a negative connotation of preparation and of the process that lets their children get into gifted and talented programs. The vast majority of the time, these parents’ attitudes are understandable and many times even commendable. Basically, these parents want to leave their child’s education to “chance” and hope for the best. Typically, these parents are worried that by preparing their kids for a test, they’ll be “taking away their childhood” or even considered “cheating,” since these parents think the test is designed to measure children on an even playing field. What I tell these parents is that, regardless of their personal view on testing and education, testing is here to stay – and so is test prep. Countless other parents across the city are making sure that their children are ready for test day and beyond, by working with their child on a daily basis to make sure they have the skills they need to not only keep up, but soar ahead of their classmates.

Let’s face it, it’s up to YOU to make sure these scenarios don’t play out for your son or daughter. I’m telling you this because I don’t want you to make the same mistakes other parents before you have made. Only you have the power to make sure your child is afforded every opportunity for a stellar education – but you have to put in the effort, and you have to start now. Learn from the mistakes of those parents who have gone before you who didn’t prepare their child for the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests.  If not you, then who? If not now, then when?



Debunking myths of the NYC Gifted and Talented Program

Well folks, the DOE is debunking all the rumors and innuendos floating around the city about the NYC Gifted and Talented Program. We’re here to set the record straight by debunking myths of the NYC Gifted and Talented Program.

  • There are two type of G&T programs in NYC. TRUE!
    • District G&T programs give an admissions priority to applicants who live in their district. These programs are located within district elementary schools. Citywide G&T programs give no admissions priority based on district of residence and all students in these schools attend the G&T program.
  • Students must take both the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests to participate in the NYC gifted program. TRUE!
    • If your child attends public kindergarten through second grade, they will take the G&T Test at school during the school day. If your child attends pre-K or non-public school, they can take the G&T Test on one of several weekend dates. Submit the RFT online and early for the best chance to get your preferred test date and location.
  • Students must score a 90th percentile combined score on the NNAT-2 test and OLSAT test to get a G&T application. TRUE!
    • A student who scores 90 or higher can apply for District G&T programs. A student who scores 97 or higher can apply for District and Citywide G&T programs. Make sure you check out free practice questions from programs like Testing Mom! 
  • There is NO guarantee that a student will get a G&T offer letter, regardless of their score. TRUE!
    • G&T programs are so high in demand and usually there are more eligible students than there are seats available. Even at a 99th percentile there are no guarantees.
  • G&T programs give an admissions priority to students with siblings currently enrolled in their programs. TRUE!
    • If your child applies to a G&T program at a school that their sibling attends, they have greater priority to attend that program than applicants without siblings at the school.
  • Only current pre-K through second grade students can participate in the admissions process for the Gifted and Talented Program TRUE!

 



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!


Common OLSAT test mistakes
August 30, 2017, 11:13 am
Filed under: tests | Tags: ,

Here are 5 other common mistakes young children make when taking the OLSAT test

These mistakes cost children dearly in terms of points deducted from their score:

  1. They choose the most obvious answer just to get the question over with.
  2. They rush through the test like it’s a race.
  3. They lose their focus.
  4. They don’t listen to the instructions.
  5. They don’t point clearly to answers, or they make bubbling errors.
  • You can fix it.

    • The bad news is that all children make these mistakes when they take tests for the first time, and they continue to make these mistakes for years if they aren’t taught how to avoid them.  The good news is that when you are practicing with your child, you will see your own child making these mistakes and you can gently correct them, and show them how not to make that mistake moving forward. This will help increase their test score dramatically.
  • Common Mistake Guide and Training.

    • When you sign-up as a member of Testing Mom, you will have access to a proprietary guide they prepared for you that illustrates the most common mistakes kids make on the OLSAT, along with instructions to you on how to correct each type of mistake that your child will make during practice for the test.

Here’s a fun video with an OLSAT question to ask your little one:

Once you’re alert to these common mistakes and you see your child make one during practice (and you will), just gently correct them (Training available on Testing Mom guides you in what to do).  Doing this will greatly improve your child’s OLSAT score, and it will take no extra study time!