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

Gifted Results 2

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More Than Half of Kids Tested Qualified For G&T in Two Manhattan Districts, by Jeanmarie Evelly

The results are unbelievable, as reported by DNAInfo.com. To read this article at DNAInfo.com, CLICK HERE. Two things have to happen. The city must add more G&T programs. The city must move to a composite score and away from lotteries. This just isn’t fair to the kids who do the best on the tests.

NEW YORK CITY — More than half of the children who took the city’s gifted and talented exam in two Manhattan school districts this year qualified for spots, according to revised data released by the Department of Education Wednesday.

Thousands more students across the city qualified for sought-after G&T seats this year than initially thought, thanks to a calculating error by the testing company, Pearson, which graded the exams.

But in Manhattan’s District 2 and District 3, the corrected scores revealed particularly high eligibility numbers, with more than 50 percent of test-takers there making the cut — despite this year’s new, theoretically more difficult test, which was designed to test kids’ true ability by making it harder for them to prepare in advance.

District 2, which sprawls across Manhattan to include the Upper East Side, TriBeCa, Gramercy, SoHo and the West Village, saw just over 50 percent of its students who took the test qualify for either a district or citywide gifted program, compared to 46 percent last year.

In District 3, which covers the west side of Manhattan between 59th and 122nd Streets, nearly 52 percent of children tested qualified, compared to 47 percent in 2012.

The two districts also had the highest number of students who received the top score on the test, with 531 kids in District 2 and 251 students in District 3 scoring in the 99th percentile, according to DOE numbers.

The DOE initially said about 9,000 children across the city made the cut for gifted seats this year, but after Pearson fixed the testing mistakes, that number jumped to nearly 12,000 kids, or 32 percent of those tested. In 2012, 24.5 percent of kids tested qualified for G&T.

Parents have begun to question the new numbers, surprised that there could be so many high-scoring children, even as the city supposedly toughened its entrance test this year, replacing one of its previously used tests with the more difficult Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT).

Michael McCurdy, co-founder of the test preparation website TestingMom.com, said he was “shocked” when he saw the corrected test-score numbers and the high number of children who qualified.

“I am familiar with the NNAT, and I just don’t see how this is statistically possible,” McCurdy said. “The NNAT is a much more difficult test.”
With so many high-scoring students, McCurdy predicts that even those with high scores will be hard-pressed to land a spot in one of their district’s gifted programs, which are less competitive than the five elite citywide G&T programs.

“Because of the huge increase [in scores] in the 99th percentile, the kids with the 99th percentiles are going to take up all the district seats and there won’t be any left,” he said. “You’ll be lucky to get a district-wide seat even if you’re in the 97th percentile.”

There will likely be far more applications than available seats at many gifted programs across the city, McCurdy predicted, and the DOE does not guarantee that all qualifying children receive a spot.

The DOE initially said 1,363 students scored in the 99th percentile this year, but the actual number is 2,572 students, based on the corrected test scores. That’s up from 2,144 kids who netted the highest score in 2012.

The DOE has extended its G&T application deadline because of the scoring error, and families now have until May 10 to apply.

“When parents get these results and they don’t get what they want, there is going to be a huge uproar,” McCurdy said of the G&T placement offers that will go out later this spring. “Parents should just demand a retest now, while there’s still time in the school year.”

Read more: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20130502/new-york-city/more-than-half-of-kids-tested-qualified-for-gt-two-manhattan-districts#ixzz2SC4wCo3M

Parents Demand Answers After Snafu Threatens Gifted and Talented Spots, by Amy Zimmer

DNAinfo.com is the BEST source of info on what is happening with NYC G&T. If you would like to read this article at the website, CLICK HERE. To keep up with what is happening in NYC with school news, this is a fantastic source! This article covers parents’ collective anger and frustration over the scoring snafu in with the NYC G&T tests.

NEW YORK CITY — Rares Benga’s 4-year-old son, Luca, scored in the 99th percentile on the city’s gifted and talented exam when the city announced the results earlier this month.

That put Luca in an elite group of just 1,363 New York City kids who got the best possible score on this year’s test, giving them first pick of the city’s most sought-after public gifted programs.

But a week later, the Department of Education uncovered a scoring error at testing company Pearson and announced that the number of kids scoring in the 99th percentile had swelled to more than 2,560. That vastly increased Luca’s competition for a school spot.

Now, Benga and other parents are questioning the newly released scores, saying there are so many high-scoring kids that there must be another mistake at Pearson.

“The 99 percentile bracket is absurdly large,” said Benga, an Upper West Side dad who works in marketing analytics at a financial firm. “All I want is fairness.”

He fired off letters Monday to the City Council’s Education Committee and the DOE calling for an independent commission to audit the scores and to release detailed data and information about the scoring methodology.

He said that releasing the data was the only way to ensure “credibility” in this year’s admissions process.
“Ninety-nine is meaningless the way they do it,” said Benga, who hopes his son will win a spot at the ultra-competitive Anderson School, one of five citywide gifted programs. “The entire methodology is highly suspect.”

In the wake of the Pearson errors, many parents are questioning the validity of this year’s record-high number of students qualifying for the city’s gifted and talented programs. Some are calling it Testing GATE — a clever play on the acronym for Gifted and Talented Exam.

The Department of Education changed this year’s G&T test in the hopes of making it more difficult to prepare for after too many kids qualified for the limited number of seats in previous years. Yet, the new, harder test resulted in even more children qualifying — a nearly 33 percent spike — once the DOE announced that scoring errors had been made by Pearson.

Overall, more than 11,700 children were deemed eligible out of 36,012 test takers — or 32.5 percent — versus last year’s 9,644 out of 39,353 — or 24.5 percent.

The DOE found an additional 2,700 students qualified for district seats and more than 2,000 others were in the 97th percentile and eligible for the five elite citywide schools.

Only six students would have lost their eligibility because of the scoring error, DOE officials said. The department would not change their percentile ranks because of Pearson’s mistakes, so those children were allowed to keep their initial, higher scores, officials said.
Many parents on Internet forums across the city were outraged when they learned of the errors — especially those with kids in the 99th percentile where the competition for limited seats became even more fierce.

A Park Slope lawyer whose daughter got a perfect score is even exploring legal options over the results, she said. She asked to remain anonymous.
Another parent, a mathematician, began analyzing the scores and thought the big increase in the number of qualifying kids suggested some red flags.
Alexey Kupstov, a professor at NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Science whose 4-year-old daughter Sofia received a perfect score on the gifted test, scratched his head at the low number of students — just six — who would have been ineligible because of the scoring error.
He said it would have made more sense if there were either zero students who became ineligible or thousands, just as there were thousands who became eligible because of the mistake.

Without having access to the data, Kupstov couldn’t know for sure what happened, so he wrote to Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott asking for it.
“I believe that there is still a mistake in their calculation methodology,” he wrote last week. “Is it possible to initiate a check in the calculations by Pearson?”

Kupstov, a 33-year-old Manhattan Beach resident, told DNAinfo.com New York he has not received any data despite requests.
He’s concerned that even though his daughter Sofia scored 160 out of 160 on the nonverbal part of the test and 150 out of 150 on the verbal part, she will have a slim chance of getting a gifted seat since so many other children also did well.

“With Sofia, I feel she would be bored in a general education class,” he said. “With probability, I feel we won’t have a chance [at a citywide program]. I don’t mind a lottery, but I think the DOE should be consistent [about scoring].”

Pearson officials said they made three separate errors, including the way kids’ ages were used to calculate scores, a mistake in the score-conversion tables and a mistake in the mathematical formula for combining the verbal and nonverbal portions of the test.

Kupstov believes that when Pearson fixed its mistakes in calculating the New York City scores, the company did not fix similar mistakes in the calculation of national averages, which would affect the number of local kids considered high-scoring.

“What I suspect is that they were using exactly the same methodology [nationwide] and had this error in their system forever, but noticed the problem only when New York City parents came forward and challenged the results,” Kupstov said, adding that he could not be sure without seeing the data.
Even before Pearson’s errors were made public, the local group Parents for Fair Education was pushing for the DOE to use composite scores, so someone who got no questions wrong would be ranked above a child who got one question wrong rather than placed in a lottery with others in the 99th percentile.
The group has a petition with more than 400 signatures calling for the change. The DOE had initially said it would use composite scores this year, but then reversed course.

“If the methodology is wrong,” said Benga, the Upper West Side parent, “then they should use the composite scores since it’s more likely those are correct.”

Michael McCurdy, co-founder of TestingMom.com, a test preparation website, also questioned the results and said parents were fuming.
“Basically one in three qualify,” he said. “How could more kids qualify than last year? Even adults have to do double takes on the questions [because they’re so difficult]. It doesn’t make sense.”

Neither Pearson nor the DOE responded to questions about the results.

Read more: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20130430/new-york-city/parents-demand-answers-after-snafu-threatens-gifted-talented-spots#ixzz2SC3ftHlm

Read more: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20130430/new-york-city/parents-demand-answers-after-snafu-threatens-gifted-talented-spots#ixzz2SC3Y5o9T

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 Finish Line, by Anna Li (Part 2)

Here is Part 2 of Anna Li’s story about her experience getting her daughter into a NYC Gifted and Talented school. Thank you, Anna, for sharing your personal story with us.

The Finish Line
by Anna Li

I don’t know how the rest of the New York City parents feel who applied for the public school’s Gifted & Talented program, but I am still reeling from last week when the G & T placements came in. Although we had nothing but fortunate options, I cannot shake the mental and physical exhaustion from what I have had to accomplish while navigating through what I feel is an unbalanced, certainly unjust system.

We were of those NYC parents who chose to put down a deposit at a private school in order to secure a spot, while waiting to see if our daughter scored high enough to merit a Gifted & Talented seat in the public school system (read: free). There was no way to predict how well she would do; I know of children who far exceeded the Hunter College Elementary test cut off while did not earn a G & T placement later on.

Like approximately 1,200 other New York parents of top scoring children, when we received Lili’s ranking of 99%, we elatedly assumed she could go anywhere in the city. It was one of the finest moments for my husband and me, being eligible for something of such excellence, without financial consequences.

Little did we know that in order to get a seat in the G & T program, our child not only had to score in the 99%, but then had to simply be lucky enough for the computer to pull her name early enough in its “lottery” to be assigned one of 400 seats. For entry to the citywide programs, the very best gifted schools that go to eighth grade or through high school, a child needs to score 97%-99%. This year, only one in three 99% scoring students had a chance of a citywide seat. As a glimpse: Anderson had 38 available seats, NEST a similar number. Of course we were going to gamble $7,000 on a spot at a private school.

After we received my daughter’s placement notice from the Department of Education via email last Friday, I felt that it was only fair that we make an immediate decision if we were to withdraw my daughter from the private school she was slated to attend in order to give that admissions office as much time as possible to fill the empty seat we might leave. I myself attended New York City private schools, all of which I loved. They helped me to be the well-rounded individual I believe I am today. I had always dreamed my child would attend similar institutions, but this dream was about to cost us a half a million dollars.

It seems as though, these days, a deposit at a private school serves merely as a reservation, like a restaurant seating. This part of the application process, which has gone so greatly askew, cannot be good for the private school system. Eventually private schools will find a way to stop parents from “making reservations”, and that will surely be heavy-handed. The ping pong effect is this: they charge an inordinate tuition, parents hedge bets waiting for something (anything?) more affordable, and last minute changes are forced upon the private school admissions offices as parents wait for answers that come on an entirely different timeline. It’s a process that is becoming increasingly disrespectful to both sides.

Anyway, our notes from all of the tours and interviews told us that our first choice Gifted school where our daughter was placed was right on par with the private school which had our deposit. If this hadn’t been the case, if we felt in any way that a public school education would short change our daughter, we would spend this money without blinking.

I spent the rest of that Friday composing a note of withdrawal to the Admissions Office of the West Village private school that had accepted her. If you were in my shoes, you may have felt some of what I did: regret, remorse, self-doubt, relief. It may be hard to understand why I was not simply happy at choosing an excellent school whose tab is picked up by the city. Since we put down our deposit in February, we had increasingly become more and more comfortable with the idea of sending her to this private school, befriending the black hole in our income that would be her tuition cost. The school to which I am referring had not just accepted her, but complimented her in a way no other institution had, making me feel that she was special to them as an individual. They wanted her as much as we wanted them. I surreptitiously share this with you, because one could apathetically assume a school would want any child along with her $40,000 annual tuition payments. However, a good school, one worth it’s salt, can easily fill their classroom seats. In fact, our NYC schools are so overcrowded, a failing school can fill its seats.

I know I was not the only parent who was withdrawing her child from a school right before summer. Many parents were forced to play this unfortunate game due to the misaligned schedules of our NYC scholastic options. However, I nonetheless felt I was doing a disservice to that school which opened their arms and their doors to my child. I composed that note thanking them for their most sincere appreciation of my girl, and I tried my best to convey how regretful I was. I hoped they would understand we were not in the position to treat such a hefty bill so lightly. I sent chocolates as well, not to sweeten them up but to try to relieve some of the bitterness I tasted at giving up our place in their wonderful school.

The next school day I called to confirm the Head of Admissions received my package. The receptionist was not sure, so I asked my husband to follow up with an email. I simply could not bear to read her possible words of displeasure or even retaliation. What happened was this: that Head of Admissions who had written us a heartfelt, caring, stunning note when our daughter was accepted in February responded to my husband now with words such as “heartbreaking” and “understanding”. She said it was a pleasure to know us ever so briefly, that Lili was exceptional and she would thrive anywhere, and she wished us all the best. Her note, I dare say, made me wonder if it wasn’t too late to get my spot back. Oy vey, us New Yorkers would say.

Although I did not try to get my private school spot back like a lunatic, I still have reservations: did we make the right choice? I am sad to leave her present school, with a superbly competent staff and community of remarkable parents, but somehow I suspect this is the right fit for our girl. I suppose no parents can know the answer until their child is experiencing the school and is learning and is most importantly: happy. Although I do not believe in homework, I do believe in teaching up to young children, so it’s the Gifted & Talented route for us.

I am sure not all of you had as a difficult an experience. I am positive, though, that we are all wondering why this process of getting a four-year old in to Kindergarten is so confusing and difficult? Could ISSAGNY and the DOE align their schedules to simplify the application process and perhaps alleviate the private school “reservation” trend? I am two degrees from knowing President Obama, and have briefly considered to writing him for help, but I know that even he is not powerful enough to fix the problems embedded in the Department of Education.

Today I took my daughter to her new school to register her for next fall. Each step was thrilling and frightening: sharing a bagel and cream cheese while waiting for the bus, conversing during the ride, crossing the streets, seeing what her new neighborhood would be. The little voyage was so mundane and so meaningful. Upon arrival, the security guard spoke to my little girl with empathy and warmth and pointed the way to the Main Office. Upon entering, we met the principle who introduced himself to Lili. He asked her to join him for a chat, and she bounded off, and, no, I did not cry. However, when they returned, the principle did report that Lili told him of our impending Disney trip. She informed him she would be going “nudie.” I asked him if I were still allowed to register. Thus, the beginning of our Lower School experience.

Truthfully, we are excited by this Chelsea school because it teaches not only accelerated mathematics, but global kindness. The humanity of the school is what we thought would get our daughter to someplace truly special. Although touted as the holy grails of education, we felt the citywide schools were a little too on the fast track for us. They are advancing their pupils, which is an understandable desire for some parents. I just feel that all children will all get to the finish line, their own finish line, no matter where their starting block is placed, no matter who gets a jump ahead of the whistle. Just as long as they get to play along the way, and remember to be kind.

Cheers to all of you who are done with the Kindergarten process. High school applications CANNOT be this hard.

Anna Li, born and raised in New York City, graduated Grace Church School, The Trinity School, and Vassar College. She is a writer, event producer and a mother.