An in-depth look at New York City’s Gifted & Talented Program and testing process.
Each year, kindergarten through fifth grade students in New York City are given the opportunity to apply for the Gifted & Talented Program. This program provides specialized support to students who demonstrate outstanding academic skills. If a child exhibits advanced performance in school and you feel they would thrive in an accelerated environment, parents should consider applying to this program. Read on for more information about NYC’s G&T program and what the testing process entails.
What is the Gifted & Talented Program?
The Gifted & Talented Program is specific to New York City students and is provided for exceptional students who need support working at an accelerated and more intensive pace than their peers. Through the G&T program, students have the opportunity to work through material more quickly and in greater depth. When enrolled, students are frequently surrounded by peers who learn at a similarly advanced level and work with specialized educators, aiding in academic advancement.
It is not a uniform program across all districts and school systems within the city. Not all schools offer G&T programs, and the ones that do may have it set up differently than others. Some offer students the higher grade level’s curriculum, some provide a fast-paced version of their same grade’s curriculum, and others go off-curriculum altogether. Students are able to attend other schools within their district to participate because the programs aren’t offered at all schools, meaning transportation can be a factor to consider. Furthermore, there are two types of G&T programs offered across the city:
District Programs: offered according to the student’s district of residence, these programs require students to score at or above the 90th percentile on the test. The district-based G&T program is usually limited to a few classes per district and takes place in schools that also work with non-gifted students.
Citywide Programs: offered according to the student’s test results, admissions are granted to those who score in the 97th percentile or above, and acceptance is not based on the district in which a student resides. Students eligible for this program are able to attend strictly gifted schools, where all students are similar in terms of academic achievement and all classes are accelerated. Only five schools in NYC currently are involved in this program.
What is the Gifted & Talented Test?
Students between kindergarten and third grade may take the Gifted & Talented Test to apply for the program. Students in fourth and fifth grade ma still apply to G&T programs, although their admissions are based on state scores rather than the G&T test itself.
Test Components. The G&T Test is split into two components. The OLSAT measures verbal skills and is divided into reasoning and comprehension, with topics such as reading memory, pattern recognition, and vocabulary. The NNAT is the second portion of the test and focuses on reasoning. In this section students are tested on spatial visualization, pattern completion, and analogy and serial reasoning. It’s important to note that this test isn’t simply split into verbal and math components, but instead measures both skills concurrently.
Test Day. The test is administered either individually or in a small group setting. Depending on the student’s age, answers will either be pointed to (kindergarteners) or filled out by the student (older than kindergarten). There is no allotted time frame and students are able to take as much time as they need to complete the test. Accommodations are available for students with visual, motor, or hearing impairment, and is available in different languages. The entire test is estimated to take a student between one and two hours to complete.
Grading. Raw scores are graded for both parts of the test and then placed in a percentile based on age and nationwide results. They are then curved and later combined, resulting in a single score. You can find more specific information on the scoring process here.
Admissions. Test results are released in April, and parents must also submit applications to their desired program by the end of the same month. Offers will be distributed to accepted students in June. Priority admissions are not available, even for those students applying to a program provided at their school. Admissions are based on a lottery process for those who are accepted to give everyone an equal chance. Therefore, regardless of your child’s score on the test, they are not guaranteed a spot within a program.
How do I sign my child up for the test?
Parents of 3-K students can apply the year their child turns 3, Pre-K parents can apply the year that their child turns four, and those of kindergarten students can apply the year their child turns five. Parents interested in having their children apply for the Gifted & Talented program are first encouraged to attend an admissions event, which provides information about the program and relevant details about the test. These events are generally held at Family Welcome Centers and Elementary Admissions Events have been scheduled for the year (find the calendar here).
Parents must submit a Request for Testing form by November 13th, specifying location and desired date. This can be submitted online, at a local Enrollment center, or at your child’s school. Your appointment will be confirmed in December, which is also when your child should begin to prepare for the exam. Testing takes place in January, with scores released in March.
New York City’s Gifted & Talented Program is a valuable resource for students who demonstrate exceptional academic performance. The accelerated curricula, specialized instructors, and group setting of similarly advanced students can greatly support a student’s academic endeavors throughout their middle school years, and can contribute to educational excellence later in life as well. The application deadline is approaching fast so if you believe your child may be eligible, be sure to apply as soon as possible.
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