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LAUSD Gifted and Talented Test

One way that children can qualify for the LAUSD Gifted Program is by scoring highly on a standardized test. The LAUSD approves the use of the  OLSAT-8® (Otis Lennon School Abilities Test) for this use. When it comes to admissions into an SAS program, high OLSAT scores could allow the child to be placed in the high achievement category. Additionally, the Highly Gifted Magnet Schools require a percentile score of 99.9%.

In the LAUSD, every second grader is tested using the OLSAT (The Otis-Lennon School Ability Test). As a result of this early testing, each child who is enrolled in the second grade has the opportunity to quality as gifted and talented. It is important to note that the LAUSD has a broad range of gifted and talented designations:

  • Specific academic ability category
  • High achievement category
  • Creative ability category
  • Visual arts ability category
  • Performing arts ability category
  • Leadership ability category

What is the OLSAT?

In the case of the SAS, students must earn a high score on the OLSAT in order to qualify for the high achievement category. When it comes to the other six categories, this standardized test is likely to be unnecessary for placement.

The OLSAT is an exam that is administered in the classroom by a teacher. The objective of the exam is to gauge a student’s strengths and weaknesses through a variety of tasks. Ultimately, it strives to achieve a measure of the student’s ability level.  Tasks such as identifying differences and similarities, remembering words and numbers, definitions, and number sequences will be tested. The OLSAT is comprised of 60 questions in total and offers a verbal as well as a non-verbal section. For the verbal section, the teacher reads the directions once out loud to the class. This means that the child must pay close attention to the oral instructions offered.

There are two “categories” of verbal questions:

  • Verbal comprehension assesses the student’s ability to process information through listening language.
  • Verbal reasoning measures the student’s ability to discover and use patterns/relationships to solve problems using language.

The non-verbal section of the OLSAT consists of:

  • Pictorial reasoning which measures picture classification and picture analogies, and assesses the student’s ability to draw inferences from a series of and/ or single images
  • Figural reasoning measures figural classification, figure series, as well as figural analogies
  • Quantitative reasoning draws on the student’s ability to deduct inferences and conclusions from number series and matrices.

How the Test is Administered

The LAUSD gifted and talented test is typically administered in a small group starting in first grade. A bubble sheet is offered to students as a means of recording their answers.  In contrast, kindergartners will most typically take the exam by themselves rather than in a group setting. Rather than using a bubble sheet, these children will point to the correct answers while the educator records their responses. When taking this exam there is no time limit, as students are allowed to complete the test at their own speed.  Still, it is recommended that the student paces themselves on each section. Because the exam typically takes 1 to 2 hours to fully complete, students should try and maintain stamina and focus throughout the course of the exam.

Here are the languages that the LAUSD gifted and talented test is administered in:

  • Arabic
  • Bengali
  • Chinese Cantonese
  • Chinese Mandarin
  • French
  • Haitian Creole
  • Korean
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Urdu

How the LAUSD Gifted and Talented Test is scored

Admissions to the G&T program in the LAUSD requires that the child score 95 or above on the OLSAT (90 or above if receiving free or reduced lunch), to be officially designated gifted. If the student scores 99.9% on the psychologist administered IQ test, then they are identified as being highly gifted.

There are three steps that go into calculating a child’s OLSAT score:

Raw Score: The raw score is calculated by adding up the sum total of correctly answered questions. For example, a raw score of 50 translates into 50 out of 60 questions answered correctly. A raw score for the verbal and nonverbal sections (each out of 30) of the OLSAT, as well as the overall raw score (out of 60) are produced.

School Ability Index (SAI): The school ability index (SAI) score is produced by comparing raw scores of children within the same age group. The highest SAI score is 150, while an average score falls around 100.

Percentile Rank: The student’s SAI score is used to produce an overall percentile rank. The students SAI score is compared against other students within that same age group. For example, if your child places in the 95th percentile, he or she scored as well as or higher than 95% of students within the same age bracket.

Please note that it takes around two months to receive your child’s OLSAT scores in the mail. These scores will notify both you and your child as to whether they have qualified for the gifted and talented program.

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