2013-2014 G&T Results in New York City

Here’s what we know so far about the scores on the G&T test in NYC for 2013-2104. Scores did go down in general because the NYC DOE added more weight to the OLSAT verbal test, which puts kids who speak multiple languages at a disadvantage. We are currently surveying www.Testingmom.com members and results so far tell us that our members did significantly better than students who didn’t use our preparation materials. After more responses come in, details will follow. Note: click on the images and they’ll get bigger.

TestingMom.com is holding a tele seminar tomorrow night, Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 9 p.m. EST to talk about NYC results and next steps for parents whose kids qualified for G&T and parents whose kids did not qualify for G&T. Feel free to enroll by CLICKING HERE.

Gifted results 1

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New Gifted and Talented Test Leaves Parents Stumped, by Julie Shapiro

I wanted to share this story from DNAInfo.com. CLICK HERE to read read the article on their site and to read other related stories.

NEW YORK — The new gifted and talented test isn’t just tough for 4-year-olds — it’s also stumping their parents.
The Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test — which preschoolers have to ace to win one of the city’s coveted public gifted and talented kindergarten seats for fall 2013 — quizzes kids on their spatial reasoning skills, asking them to analyze complex geometrical patterns.

Parents across the city are helping their kids prepare — and must decide if they will request a test by early November — but many said they first had to teach the material to themselves. “I don’t know if I would have been able to figure it out on my own,” said Monica, a Lower East Side mother who is using a test prep guide from TestingMom.com. “If you’ve never done it before, you can find it very difficult.”

The NNAT is an abstract test that asks kids to look at a series of complicated shapes and figure out their pattern, so that they can fill in the missing piece. To solve the visual riddle, the young test-takers have to pay attention to the size and color of the shapes, how they are oriented and how they relate to each other. “There are some questions that many adults might not even be able to answer,” said Janet Roberts, director of education and product development at Aristotle Circle, a test prep and admissions company. “It requires a lot of patience and a certain level of endurance as well. ”

When parents first see a sample Naglieri test, with its rotating triangles and checkered squares, “They typically panic,” Roberts said. “[There’s] a little bit of hysteria.” Aristotle Circle’s NNAT preparation book sold out four times faster than any of the company’s other books this fall, Roberts said.

The Department of Education decided to start using the NNAT this year to replace the Bracken School Readiness Assessment, which covered basics like shapes, numbers and colors. The goal is to test children’s true intellectual ability, rather than their learned knowledge — and to make the test harder to prepare for after more than 1,600 preschoolers earned the top score on the entrance exam for this fall, the DOE said earlier this year.

The glut of top-ranking preschoolers left those and an additional 1,000 high-scoring children vying for just 300 kindergarten seats this fall. The NNAT will comprise two-thirds of each child’s score, while the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test, which examines students’ logic skills, will make up the rest.

Radmila Gordon, a Coney Island resident, has been researching the NNAT for months so that she can prepare her 4-year-old daughter Alisa for the test. “It’s very difficult,” Gordon said. “I don’t know how 4-year-old kids are going to do it.” Alisa is good at puzzles and breezes through the easier questions in the NNAT practice guides, but as soon as the problems get harder, she loses focus, Gordon said.

Ella Sidorenko is having the same challenge in working with her son Max, who is just 3-years-old and will be among the youngest children in his class when he starts kindergarten next year. “The more difficult the questions become, he gets frustrated and starts crying and says, ‘I can’t do it,'” Sidorenko said. “I don’t know if it’s fair for the children.”

Test preparation experts recommend that parents start by teaching basic pattern recognition concepts with hands-on exercises, using puzzles and building blocks. Then kids can gradually move onto more complicated questions in workbooks.

Practice is very important, especially to ensure that kids understand the format of the test and what they are being asked to do, said Karen Quinn, founder of TestingMom.com. “If a child walks in absolutely cold and sees one [of the complicated pattern questions] for the first time, I would say it’s probably too hard for most 4-year-olds,” Quinn said. “Some would [be able to do it], but others would look at it and it would make absolutely no sense.”

Before even explaining the content that will be on the test, parents should make sure their children understand the idea that for every question there is just one right answer, and the kids should try to find that answer, Quinn said.
Bige Doruk, founder of test preparation company Bright Kids NYC, teaches children strategies like breaking down each question into parts and eliminating wrong answers among the multiple-choice options.

“They’re hard because they’re very visually confusing,” Doruk said of the NNAT questions. “There’s a lot going on.”
While Doruk said she has spoken to many parents who are upset about the harder test, she thinks it’s a good way to identify the children who are truly gifted. “We expect a lot from 4-year-olds in New York,” Doruk said. “The idea is that this is not for all kids. Not every child is going to do well.”

Parents who want to apply for a gifted and talented program for the fall of 2013 must submit a Request for Testing form by Nov. 9. The tests will take place in January and early February, and parents will learn their child’s score in April.

Read more: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20121024/new-york-city/new-gifted-talented-test-so-hard-it-even-leaves-parents-stumped#ixzz2AwS2DJKy

NNAT2 Test to be announced by NYC DOE

As you may have heard, the NYC Department of Education (DOE) is announcing changes to gifted and talented tests this week. The Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test® (NNAT®2) is expected to replace the Bracken School Readiness Test® as one of two tests given for G&T qualification. Now, the NNAT®2 is expected to count for 2/3 of a child’s overall score, while the Otis-Lennon School Ability test® (OLSAT) will count for 1/3 of a child’s score.

The NNAT has 4 types of subtests. The child uses visual cues to figure out what is being asked. The question asked of the child employs very little verbal explanation. The question will go something like this: “Look at this picture. There is something missing here.” [point to the empty space where there is a question mark.] “Which of these answers” [point to all the answer choices] goes here? [point to the question mark.]

1. Pattern Completion – here, the child the child must perceive a pattern within a large rectangle in which a piece has been taken out and is missing. It is like a puzzle with a missing piece as you can see with the blue and yellow example (below and to the left). On the test, the child chooses between 5 possible pieces to complete the pattern. At the younger levels, this is the most common type of question a child sees on the test. Practicing with real puzzles will helpful for children who will have to answer these types of questions. Answer: D

2. Reasoning By Analogy – here, the child has to use visual-spatial reasoning about the logical relationships between different geometric shapes which change across one or more dimensions (size, color, number, shading, etc.) across rows and down columns. These are most often delivered in 4- or 6-box matrices (our example below and to the left is a 4-box matrix). The youngest children get these types of questions. Doing these types of practice questions will be helpful to children because it will allow them to see the many ways shapes and figures can change in analogous ways (i.e. going from large to small, black to white, right-side up to upside down, facing left to facing right, etc.). Answer: 4th figure above the bubble.

3. Serial Reasoning – here, children must recognize sequences of shapes (circles, squares, triangles, and other more complex figures) that change across rows and columns in a 9-box matrix. Working with patterns will be helpful to children here. I’d suggest working with coins, beads or Fruit Loops and creating patterns that your child can recognize and help extend. Answer: B

4. Spatial Visualization – here, children must determine how two or more designs would look if combined and in some cases rotated. These are the hardest types of questions and are more prevalent in the higher grades. Practice questions will help tremendously here – so will working with Origami in the real world! Two examples of these types of questions follow. The first question asks what figures would look like when combined. Answer: C

The second Spatial Visualization question asks what a figure will look like after the extra piece is folded over. These questions can get very complex in the later grades where there are folds and rotations that occur in the problems. Answer: D

There is one thing that I am a bit unclear about. The NNAT2 is a test that officially starts at age 5 (it’s designed for 5- to 17-year-olds, Kindedergarten to 12th grade). We will have 4-year-olds taking the test in NYC. So perhaps they are giving a test designed for 5-year-olds to 4-year-olds. Let’s see if this is clarified in the announcement the DOE makes (hopefully) this week. We shall see.

For over 1,700 practice questions for NNAT®2, visit www.TestingMom.com.

The NNAT2 or Naglieri Test is REALLY hard!

We held an event last night in NYC where I took parents through the different types of questions children might see on the NNAT®2 (or Naglieri) test and OLSAT (or Otis-Lennon School Abilities) Test. The OLSAT has been the test given in NYC for several years, along with the Bracken Test. However, we believe that the NYC DOE is replacing the Bracken with the NNAT2 for gifted and talented qualification to its District and City-wide G&T programs. It has been announced in the NY Times, but the DOE hasn’t officially confirmed it. We expect the announcement to come in October. We do feel this will be the test, but I can’t say 100% for sure until I see it in writing on the DOE’s website.

I put together a handout with several practice questions for the NNAT2 and the OLSAT (the other test given to kids in NYC) so parents could see how challenging these tests can be. To do do well on the NNAT®2 and on certain aspects of the OLSAT, a child has to have strong visual-spatial reasoning skills (the ability to think using shapes and figures rather than words). I have always struggled with these abilities and so, even as an adult, these questions can really confuse me. Although I helped to write our practice questions for this test, I can still got confused when trying to solve them. I even made a mistake on one of the answers I selected for our handout. I wanted to share with you some of the points of my own confusion so that you will see how easily the same thing can happen to a child who is trying to figure these out.

This is called a “pattern matrix” question on the OLSAT (or “serial reasoning” on the NNAT). You’ll find questions like this on the OLSAT for children as young as kindergarteners. They begin for children in first grade on the NNAT. The child is asked, “What belongs in the empty box?” He or she must find a pattern that is occurring in both the rows and columns and determine what figure goes in the empty box to complete the pattern. I noticed that I had said that the second figure was the answer, but when I reviewed the question before my talk, I couldn’t see why the fourth answer might not be right. Finally, my partner reminded me that the center black line doesn’t change in the pattern so the second figure must be correct. Once you “get” that, it seems obvious. But until you see what the rule is, a person can really feel stumped.

This is a Reasoning By Analogy practice question for the NNAT. You find this type of question on so many tests given to young children. The child must determine the relationship that is taking place between the first and second boxes so they can determine which answer belongs in the bottom empty box. As you can see, I got this one wrong when I put the handout together. Looking at it now, knowing the answer, it seems so obvious that B is correct. The relationship happening is – # rectangles on the left, 1 more circle on the right. Since there are 3 rectangles on the left there should be 4 circles on the right. I suppose that when I was writing this handout, I lost track of what the relationship was and saw the rectangles on the left, realized there needed to be 4 on the right, but chose rectangles instead of circles. I knew I was supposed to choose circles, but I guess that I just forgot that in the moment when I selected the answer. I wanted to share this with you in to show you how easy it is for even a grown-up to get tripped up on these questions!

For 100 free practice questions, visit www.TestingMom.com.

Game That Prepares for the WISC™-IV and Stanford-Binet IV or V

If you have an older child who will be taking the WISC-IV or the Stanford-Binet IV or even the Stanford-Binet V, Q-Bitz™ is an excellent game to work with beforehand. Both the WISC-IV and the Stanford-Binet IV have a block design subtest where the child must replicate a set of modeled or two-dimensional geometric patterns using cubes that have solid white sides, solid colored sides, and sides that are divided diagonally and painted two colors. This is a timed test, similar to the Block Design test given to younger students on the WPPSI-III. The child is shown a pattern and given 60 to 120 seconds to replicate that pattern using the 3-D blocks.

Here is how Q-Bitz works. Each player gets a tray of cubes. A player turns over a Q-Bitz card. Players race to recreate the pattern on the card. The first one to complete the pattern shouts, “Q-Bitz!” If everyone agrees that the player correctly recreated the pattern, then that player is awarded the card. In the early rounds of this game, players can look at the pattern card while replicating it. In later rounds, they are given 10 seconds to memorize the card and they must recreate it from memory. At the end of the game, whoever has been awarded the most cards for correctly recreating patterns is the winner.

If you’ve read my blogs and my book, you know that I am against having children work with materials that are almost exactly the same real test materials. I do support working with different materials that help children build the underlying skills needed to do well on a test. That is why we sell blue and yellow pattern tiles at TestingMom.com. They are different from materials used in the actual test, but they do teach the visual spatial reasoning skills that are needed to do well on the WPPSI or the WISC.

The materials in Q-Bitz are also quite different from those used in a real test. The cubes in the game are much smaller, they are different colors, and they include a side with a circle, which is different from the cubes used in the test. Frankly, copying patterns during a Q-Bitz game is much harder than copying patterns using the larger blocks on an actual test. That is why I would recommend that you play Q-Bitz with your OLDER child if he is going to take the WISC or Stanford-Binet IV. I do have a few caveats. Q-Bitz is for children age 8 and over. Do not use this with younger children who are going to take the WPPSI. The blocks are way too small for their little fingers and the patterns are too complicated.

My husband, kids and I played a few rounds of Q-Bitz just to test it out. The competitive aspect of the game made it lots of fun. The blocks are very small and the patterns are quite complicated, which made the game a struggle for me (my visual-spatial reasoning abilities are not the greatest). I didn’t win one round! But I had a lot of fun and my skills improved with each pattern I tried to copy. Based on our experience, I’d say this game will be difficult for 8-year-olds (even though it is for kids age 8 and up). You will want to start a younger child out with the simplest patterns to replicate. But it is a fun game and a game where a child’s skills will improve with practice, which is why I recommend it for older children who will be tested in the coming months.

If you want to learn more about Q-Bitz, it is on page 3 of my top 20 recommended products at at Testing For Kindergarten. Even though I have it at this kindergarten site, remember – it is for older children. If you have a younger child who will be taking a test involving block design, please work with the pattern tiles at TestingMom.com, or have your child replicate patterns that you make with parquetry blocks, which are on page 1 of my top 20 recommended products. Both will go a long way in helping a young child build the visual spatial reasoning skills needed for early childhood testing.

While I do believe Q-Bitz and our pattern tiles are great to help children preparing for the WPPSI-III or WPPSI-IV, the WISC-IV, the Stanford-Binet IV or V, the game and the tiles are also excellent in helping your child build his or her visual spatial reasoning skills in general. If you have a child who will be taking the Naglieri or NNAT®2 test, working with these materials will strengthen their ability to work with geometric figures and shapes – a skill that is needed to handle every subtest on the NNAT2.

Also, as a reminder, if you do have a child who will be taking the WISC or WPPSI in the coming months, TestingMom.com has thousands of practice questions to help your child prepare for the these tests. Questions to help your child prepare for the WPPSI-IV will be added in the summer of 2012.