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NYC 2014 Gifted & Talented testing results and upcoming open houses

It's all just a chess game.
It's all just a chess game.
Author's personal photos

This past Saturday, NYC parents who applied their children for admission to elementary school Gifted & Talented programs began receiving their children's scores. (If you have not received yours by today, April 7, contact the DOE directly at 718-935-2009.)

As usual, many, many more children qualified for Gifted & Talented programs than there are available seats.

As usual, the majority of the high-scorers came from the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side, and downtown with areas in the Bronx scoring less than ten qualified children in the entire district.

As usual, in some neighborhoods, over a quarter of the children tested scored in the top three percent nationwide.

Perennially looking for some good news to spin, the DOE is touting the fact that more children scored highly in Manhattan's Harlem, Inwood and Washington Heights areas than ever before. Without acknowledging the fact that those areas have become more and more gentrified through the years, rather than the Pre-K education being offered up there improving in any significant way.

Another interesting point to note is that, in 2013, a new, non-verbal test was instituted in order to level the playing field and allegedly make it easier for children from non-English speaking homes to qualify for G&T, while, at the same time, making it harder to prep for. Instead, the test resulted in the highest scores yet.

This year, the weight of the non-verbal section of the test was reduced to fifty percent, with a verbal test making up the other fifty percent. There were less top scorers this year, true. But, it hardly gave a leg up to non-English speakers.

Even more interesting is the fact that, with all the changes to the test done year after year, it is rather difficult to take the "gifted" designation seriously, when being classified as such depends on a different metric each time it is administered.

Overall, about 950 children qualified for roughly 300 citywide seats - with siblings of current students getting top priority. As a result, even scoring in the 99th percentile doesn't guarantee placement. And, even though, in theory, scoring above the 90th percentile should qualify you for a district G&T, the truth is, those slots are usually filled with children who didn't get into a citywide program.

Once again, the NY Gifted Education Examiner would like to know how, if the DOE believes that children who score about a certain percentile need a differentiated education, they can justify not having a seat available for everyone? And, if they think those who score high will do just as well in a non-gifted program, then how do they justify having a gifted option in the first place (and all the money spent on testing)?

Parents must rank and return their G&T choices by April 21. (See a list of school open houses, here.)

Notifications of acceptance to General Ed schools are scheduled to be sent out over public school Spring Break, which begins on Monday, April 14.

The most important thing to remember no matter where your child ends up going to school next year? Research has shown there is no added value to attending a Gifted program.

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