NYC Gifted and Talented Test
New York City offers a gifted and talented program for children in kindergarten through 5th grade, although the admissions for entry into the NYC Gifted program take place going into kindergarten, first grade, second grade and third grade. The entry requirements for this competitive program are based solely on the scores the child receives on the OLSAT test and the NNAT-2 test.
There are two types of gifted and talented programs within New York City:
- Citywide gifted and talented schools – this is open for students in all boroughs who score at the 97th to 99th percentile
- District wide gifted and talented schools – these are all offered at the district level and are now available at all 40 districts within all 5 boroughs. A child needs to score at the 90th percentile or above to qualify for this program.
Even at a qualifying score, a student is not guaranteed a seat into the program due to the sheer amount of students taking the test and the limited amount of space available. This means even if a child scores at the 99th percentile that child is not guaranteed a seat into this program. Last year, almost 15,000 pre-K students took the NYC G&T test and were vying for approximately 300 citywide seats going into kindergarten.
A pre-K child or a child in a private school applying into this program can take the test in another language besides English. Here are the languages that the NYC Dept. of Ed. Administers the test in:
- Chinese Cantonese
- Chinese Mandarin
- Haitian Creole
The test is given every January and results are revealed to parents in April. After that, the parents tour the schools and prioritize their selection (if their child is eligible). It then takes the NYC DOE iron out the details and send the official letters to parents at the end of May or early June.
Here are a few tips for parents considering this program:
- The gifted and talented curriculum varies from school to school so it’s up to the parent to investigate what curriculum the school uses.
- The G&T options vary widely from district to district. Some districts have 10 programs while others may only have 1 or 2.
- If your zoned school has a G&T program your child doesn’t get priority over non-zoned kids.
- The G&T classroom is totally separate from general education classrooms.
- Depending on where you live there could be logistical difficulties in finding proper transportation for your child to and from school.
Even if your child attends a G&T program from kindergarten through 5th grade doesn’t guarantee priority placement for the middle school admissions’ process.
Current Events with the NYC Gifted and Talented Test
It’s no exaggeration to say that entry into a Gifted & Talented program is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for your child. These advanced programs open up a world of opportunities that most general education programs simply can’t offer. That’s why more and more parents across the country have been applying their children to Gifted programs– and, as a result, making these programs more competitive with each passing year.
In some places (including New York City), your child is less likely to make it into a Gifted and Talented program than they are to someday be accepted at Harvard. That’s the definition of “long shot.”
And it’s not getting any easier. In recent years, more and more parents have discovered the benefits that a Gifted and Talented education can provide to their child, and have started preparing for the entrance exam months or even years in advance.
These are the citywide programs:
- NEST+M New Explorations into Science, Technology +Math (lower East Side of Manhattan)
- The Anderson School (Upper West Side of Manhattan)
- TAG School for Young Scholars (far Upper East Side of Manhattan)
- Brooklyn School of Inquiry
- Queens 30th Ave
Here are a couple of articles about how competitive it is in NYC to get a coveted seat into one of their Gifted and Talented programs.
Another article, entitled Fewer Students Eligible for Gifted and Talented Programs, reported that, in 2013, 15 percent of test takers scored in the 97th percentile on the New York City gifted and talented test; in 2014,that number plummeted to just 9 percent. Even worse, while scoring in the 97th percentile is certainly impressive on paper, it doesn’t guarantee your children are accepted into the Gifted program by any means; in fact, generally children must score in the 99th percentile to even have a shot at making it into the advanced curriculum.
Why am I giving you all these doom and gloom statistics? Simple: I want you to know what you’re up against. No matter how smart your child is, if you think that you can start test prep for the Gifted and Talented test a few weeks before the big day, you’re deluding yourself, plain and simple.
Since starting Testing Mom, we’ve shared live information sessions across the country telling parents about the process for applying to Gifted and Talented programs in their area. I can’t tell you how many pregnant women have come to a live event and proceeded to pepper me with questions about how to best prepare their child – who won’t take the test for another 4 or 5 years! Make sure you start today.