The deadline to sign up your child to be tested for the “Gifted and Talented” program is Friday, Oct. 28. It’s not hard, you just sign up (online, or grab a form at school to fill out and turn in), and when the time comes in January or February, your child will be tested at his or her school. Here’s the online form.
You can get your child tested if he or she is in pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st or 2nd grade, as some schools accept kids through the third grade.
For testing, the kids are placed in a room with a test administrator, and given two tests, the OLSAT and the BSRA, which, for pre-K kids, test stuff like figuring out what picture belongs in a group, what design would come next in a row of patterns, and mainly, a child’s memory and ability to follow directions over the course of answering 200-plus questions.
The final score is a combined from the two tests.
Kids who score above 90 percent are guaranteed seats in district G&T programs, which around here are located at PS 32 in Carroll Gardens, and PS 38 in Boerum Hill.
Kids who score above 97 percent are eligible for citywide G&T programs, though the most popular of those citywide programs, such as NEST+M math and science school on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, only take kids who score above a 99 percent, because so many kids do of late.
The Brooklyn School of Inquiry in Bensonhurst is another citywide G&T school, and it offers K-8 instruction (so you don’t have to worry about applying to middle school!) Getting in depends on whom else applies.
The city’s high test scores and competition when it comes to G&T programs is mainly because so many parents prepare their kids for the test. This past Spring, 1,000 NYC preschoolers tested 99 percent or higher on the test. Indeed, some nursery schools in Manhattan spend most of the pre-K year preparing children to take the test, and some kids take weekend courses to prep. Each year, the test scores go up.
If you are interested, you can get some free test questions online, or you can purchase books with practice tests—but they’ll cost you from $70 to more than $100 for the OLSAT and BSRA test books. (Talk about weighing the tests in favor of people with money to spend!)
To find books, info and test questions, Google OLSAT and BSRA.
Most kids get placed in G&T programs in kindergarten. But there are also openings and placements in Grades 1 to 3. Call the school if you are interested, or the city DOE, to see if there are seats available for the grade you are interested in.
Children will take the test in January and February, with scores sent to families in April and placement offers going out in late May. The city has posted G and T handbooks for each age group that include the Request for Testing form (and a link for submitting it online), as well as some information about the program and a practice test.
Gifted & Talented “Citywide” Programs
The following schools accept applications from students in all 5 boroughs:
New Explorations Into Science, Technology and Math M539 (Gr. K-12)
111 Columbia Street
New York, NY 10002
PS 12 (TAG Young Scholars) (Gr. K-8)
240 East 109th Street
New York, NY 10029
The Anderson School (Gr. K-8)
100 West 84th Street
New York, NY 10024
And the Brooklyn School of Inquiry, mentioned up higher in the story.