Be patient, this is just the begining

March 22, 2009 at 5:02 pm 33 comments

OK, so despite what I had hoped would be my reassurance, it’s hard not to go into a panic when you get the letter saying your child didn’t get in anywhere or didn’t get in your top choice.  This is just the very very first set of letters to go out and there will be a ton of re-shuffling over the next 2 months (and even at the begining of the school year.)

To recap, there are some weird things going on this year.  The gifted scores which used to send out a score and percentile have inexplicably switched to just the score this year.  To date, my best guess of the type of test given for the gifted program is the Stanford Binet test which is basically and IQ test (and thus that score you’re given may be an IQ score.) Check out this post (scroll down) to see how they break out kids by IQ.  It matches up with the CPS claim that scores of 130+ are “good.”

So the weird thing this year is that kid who scored in the high 130’s don’t seem to be getting into the programs they necessarily wanted.   I know that there are kids at Edison (the north side school that has traditionally take the uber-smarties) with scores in the lower-mid 130’s and kids at Coonley in the mid-upper 120’s.  I believe I’ve heard of kids with 97% getting into Decatur.

But there are a couple things that may have ruffled things up this year:

1. Could they have changed the test or scoring?  Seems odd about them removing the percentile and at the same time the high-scoring kids are getting spots.

2. More private school kids were tested this year in case their parents want to save money on tuition or lose their jobs.

3. Throwing Coonley into the mix with Edison has sort of shaken things up a bit. 

A friend of mine who is good with getting info out of CPS is going to call the GEAP office tomorrow to see if she can find out anything.

But in the meantime, sit tight.  There are many spots that’ll open up next month and again after that.  Many parents apply to gifted/classical programs without even realizing where they’re located.  Once they figure it out or find out there isn’t bussing availabile, they’ll bail.  Others will get spots in private schools or magnet programs.  Others will move to the suburbs.  Some will pick different schools to keep their kids together or because the schedules don’t work.  Spots will open for sure.  The hard part is waiting, especially if you fall on the cusp – I’d say for Classical in the 97%+ or for Gifted in the 130+ (or maybe even lower based on last year.)

I’ll report any news from GEAP when I hear it.  In the meantime, keep sharing the information… it’s so helpful to everyone to know what’s going on.

UPDATE: Not a lot to report from GEAP, but they do say that there were many more kids who tested this year (probably due to the economy is my guess) and that they *may* be seeing higher scores this year (no logical explanation other than some years kids score higher, others lower.) For whatever reason, the kids born in 2004 were smarties.

I’ve also heard the number of kids testing for Kindergarten was around 2000, which is double what I’d been told by GEAP.  Gotta love the CPS system… it’s nearly impossible to get an answer about anything.  Could they please hire me as their director of communication?!


Entry filed under: Regional Gifted Program. Tags: , , .

Waiting for the test scores Info from GEAP

33 Comments Add your own

  • 1. KB  |  March 22, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Why do you think they’re using Stanford Binet instead of the Wechsler WPPSI-III

  • 2. H's Mom  |  March 23, 2009 at 3:47 am

    Not sure if this helps any, but I *think* my son (who just took the test for 1st grade) had the Cogat test. I say this because I got the sample Cogat test from the source you suggested back in the fall and one of the ones from the sample (turtle picture) was allegedly on the actual test he took. Now this is according to my kindergartener, so take it with a grain of salt!

    Incidentally, he got a 126 and got into Beaubien’s Options program. While I wish they had more extracurriculars, we do live across the street from the school, so we think it’s a good match all around.

    BTW, love your blog!

  • 3. Ys Mom  |  March 23, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Thanks for all the info that CPS won’t provide.

    FYI – 125 score didn’t get in anywhere. White.

  • 4. SW Mom  |  March 23, 2009 at 8:10 am

    Yes, thank you for your fun and informative blog! I am so glad I found it when I Googled CPS GEAP and was trying to make sense of my Pre-K aged son’s Gifted tested score that we received on Saturday. Though we only applied to one of the seven GEAP schools that have K, my son (non-minority) got a 135 and did not get in, at least not yet. Talking to friends from our neighborhood who had their children tested last year, it seemed they got a lot more information, as you said, like percentile and what the scores mean.

    It was so helpful to read all you and your commenters have shared here. Looking forward to finding out what your friend might be able to find out from the CPS GEAP office today. I was thinking of calling too and if I find out anything worth sharing I will do so. Thanks again! 🙂

  • 5. H's Mom  |  March 23, 2009 at 8:14 am

    Sheesh! Sounds like my kid made it into a program by the skin of his teeth, then. We’re white, also, BTW.

  • 6. Chicago Girl  |  March 23, 2009 at 8:16 am

    I am wondering if the test given this year for GEAP was the Otis-Wilson group test? I think the SB test has to be given individually. Not sure though. My kids have been tested by a independent psych about 2 years ago using both the Wechsler and SB Subtest VII, they scored ridiculously high. The took the CPS GEAP test and tanked. Not sure what to make of it.

  • 7. Chicago Girl  |  March 23, 2009 at 9:10 am

    I just found out from a former Board of Ed person who worked in the gifted program that 6 years ago, CPS used the Cognitive Abilities Group Test. I am sure it has changed.

  • 8. KB  |  March 23, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Wow, from what I’ve heard, here are the candidates for which test CPS is using:

    SB: Stanford -Binet
    WISC: Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children—Revised (WISC-R), Stanford-Binet, and the
    WPPSI: Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence
    K-ABC : Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children
    Cogat: Cognative Abilities Test
    OLAT: Otis-Lennon School Ability Test
    BSRA: Bracken School Readiness Assessment

    I’ve never seen the output format. Does someone mind sharing the score & subscores (or at least the titles)? If you include the percentiles from last year, we can estimate the Standard Deviation and estimate the percentiles for this year (using Z scores).

  • 9. another local  |  March 24, 2009 at 6:36 am

    144 and we didn’t get into a gifted program??? We did get into Skinner but I think we’ll turn it down and hold our breath.

  • 10. Ys Mom  |  March 24, 2009 at 8:27 am

    What is the highest score possible?

  • 11. cpsobsessed  |  March 24, 2009 at 8:31 am

    People have said that 150 is the highest score, but GEAP told my friend yesterday that there really is no high end. The highest I’ve heard of is 160. I would say that anything over 132 is definitely gifted (meaning top 1% of kids or so.) Probably anything over 140 is profoundly gifted. So it seems crazy that a kid with 144 wouldn’t get in somewhere!

  • 12. SW Mom  |  March 24, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Hi! Did you get my longer message/comment yesterday? I wasn’t sure, since you didn’t seem to approve it through your moderation process. If you didn’t and want me to repost, please let me know. I understand if did see it and you decided it was too long or TMI to post here. I just wanted to share with everyone what I was able to find out. I did think the woman I talked with gave me some helpful info. Especially about when the second and third rounds of admissions begin the week of April 20. People will need to be prepared to make their decisions quickly. Anyway, thank you for providing all this info. I appreciate it! 🙂

  • 13. another local  |  March 24, 2009 at 10:45 am

    More information on gifted…. I spent about 30 min on the phone with CPS this morning.

    Each gifted school has 30 spots… 10 go to majority kids, 20 to minority. All majority kids are ranked in one pile, all minority kids are ranked in another. There are no ties… there are sub-scores that provide absolute rankings (I found out there were at least 10 kids with the same 144 score as my daughter that were ranked higher… UGH).

    Each school starts with the highest scores of students that ranked their school #1 – #6. They offered spots to the top 10 (or 20, depending on which pile you’re in). A student with a higher score would receive an offer from their #6 school before a student with a slightly lower score who ranked the same school #1.

    After April 17, they will start making phone calls to offer spots rejected by the first group to additional kids. They’ll use the same ranking process to do this.

    Fingers crossed.

  • 14. cpsobsessed  |  March 24, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    I think I’ve approved all the comments so if one hasn’t shown up, I’m not sure where it went. 😦 Sorry about that.
    I’m not used to so many commenters!

  • 15. AEvans  |  March 24, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Does anyone know if this process is the same for Classical schools?

  • 16. cpsobsessed  |  March 24, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Hmm, I never knew about the subscore thing. I always wondered how they ranked the kids who got the same score!

    Yes, the Classical schools would work the same way, but basically the Classical and Gifted programs are lumped together when it comes to school preference (your rankings.)

  • 17. Chicago Girl  |  March 24, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    My children have been tested in the past with SB subtest VII, and the WPPSI (when they were younger). I tested them two times to help me find a school, my oldest daughter taught herself to read at the age of 3). Their respective SBVII scores were 143 for my oldest and 135 for my youngest, the first time. The second time they scored 139 and 137 (my oldest was running a fever the day of the test). The testing psychologist said sibs are commonly 5 points apart from one another.

    My oldest child took the GEAP and scored a 119, my youngest scored a 116. Neither one of course got into a gifted program.

  • 18. Chicago Girl  |  March 24, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    i made a mistake – their WPPSI scores were 143 and 135, their SB VII scores were 139 and 137.

  • 19. Chicago Girl  |  March 24, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    PS: I also got my oldest into a gifted program (Kindergarten), the week before school started using the independent test results described above. She did not test or take the GEAP. I pulled her out of the program and sent her somewhere else for 1st grade. The K gifted program did not meet her needs. They sent her to 2nd grade for reading and 1st grade for math. She was never in her Gifted K classroom, and had 7 teachers at the age of 6. She did very well in the program but complained constantly that she was bored.

  • 20. SW Mom  |  March 24, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Okay, trying again to share what I tried to post yesterday. I am going to post it in multiple comments, as I think when they are too long they may not go through to cpsobsessed for moderation…

    PART I: Yesterday morning I spoke with an administrator from the CPS Office of Academic Advancement. She was very kind and spent a lot of time answering my questions the best she could. She did share that she is new to the office and wasn’t very involved with the testing/selection process in 2008.

    She did say that our children’s scores were using the School Ability Index (SAI) scale. Which can be found on their website:

    She explained that the score is less about if your child is truly gited and more about how they might do in a gifted school environment.

  • 21. SW Mom  |  March 24, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    PART II: The CPS administrator that I spome with yesterday confirmed that the scale is the same that was used last year. She did however say that the test does change from year to year and that some were definately changed this year, though not forsure for all of the grades. Regardless, she said that they are always looking for the same thing and trying to measure the same type of abilities in children to determine if they would be a good fit for the Gifted schools.

    She said that 10,000 more kids overall applied this year, than last. She said the scores were very competitive and more kids scored higher than last year (likely because there were more applicants overall). She did seem to think the economy was a factor in the increase of applicants, with parents wanting more (less expensive) options for their children.

  • 22. SW Mom  |  March 24, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    PART III: She told me that the test for Pre-K kids is looking a reasoning skills and uses a lot of puzzles and pictures to reason through for answers. She confirmed that my son’s score of 135 was very good, however being a non-minorty and that we only applied to one school, that there were only so many spots available and clearly other non-minority children scored higher.

    I did ask for clarification about what happens next in terms of the selection process. She confirmed that students who were selected have to decide and let the CPS know by Friday, April 17. She explained that the following week of April 20, they would likely begin the 2nd round of placements, most likley via phone calls. She said they would be moving more quickly and expect parents to decide within approximately 48 hours if they want their child(ren) to fill given spots. After that they would start a 3rd round by phone until the spots are all filled.

  • 23. SW Mom  |  March 24, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    PART IV: She did say that after June 30 they may still be filling spots until the school year begins for some schools as they open up. She told me that I was welcome to call her back as time went on if I had questions/concerns.

    At this time she wasn’t able to tell me where my son ranked as far as waitlist for the school we applied. She reminded me that some students apply to more than one school and if a child above my son had the school we applied to as their 2nd choice, but scored higher, that that child would be offered the spot first and thus it is complicated.

    She said later on if I touched base with her, after more movement had taken place, she might be able to give me a better idea of (narrow it down) where my son was ranked and what his chances of getting in might be, but she couldn’t promise anything.

  • 24. SW Mom  |  March 24, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    PART V: Lastly, I asked her if my son ends up going to our neighborhood school next year, as currently planned for K, what, if anything my husband and I should do to help him being that he might be “gifted.” She did encourage me to inform his teacher that he tested well for GEAP and to please challenge him and let us know which areas he seems to excel in. She said some schools will make accomodations for students who really excel in certain areas.

    Sorry so long…I hope this information is helpful to other parents out there who were as confused as I was when I got my son’s score on Saturday and found out he wasn’t selected for the school we applied for. Take care. :Thanks again CPDOBSESSED for your blog/creating a place we other CPS parents can communicate and share info. 🙂

  • 25. cpsobsessed  |  March 24, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    Thanks for reading! I am all about information-sharing to help people make decisions…

  • 26. H's Mom  |  March 24, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    For what it’s worth…more unsubstantiated info!

    My son’s current (K) and new school (1st grade), Beaubien, called us on Monday to invite us to an Options progam meeting on THIS Friday at the school. Take a tour, meet the teachers, etc. Basically, I think this is an opportunity for us to decide if we are definitely taking the spot, so they can move down the list. Unless they have students chained in the basement, we are happily taking the spot. Even then, we STILL might take the spot.

    She would NOT tell us what kind of test the kids took but did say that the three-digit score is a composite score of three numbers teased out of the test results: verbal, non-verbal and math. Don’t know if this helps anyone figure out which test was given, but from what I have found online and what my kid told me, makes me think it WAS the Cogat. The following link to some random Georgia school’s Powerpoint presentation on Cogat (see p 25) might help:,1,Interpreting Your Child’s CRCT, ITBS, & CogAT Scores: It’s About Improving Achievement!

    When we expressed concern that he got a 126 NOT a 130+ “significantly above average” score…would he really be successful in an accelerated environment, etc.?? She said not to worry, the test measures aptitude. And they only took kids in the second standard deviation (top 5%) and that the three-digit number could mean that he actually got much higher in one of the three categories and that could trigger an invite to the school, no matter the composite score.

    I dunno. All bells and whistles to me, despite me being in gifted classes all through elementary and high schools, ha, ha. Makes you wonder why we go though all this!

    Question…Our letter told us that we could call and ask info on the test on March 28. Does anyone know that if in that call can we get more detailed info on our kid’s specific scores, etc.???

    FYI, we applied to three schools for him: Bell, Beaubien and Edison. Only got into Beaubien.

    Hope this helps anyone else puzzling through this!

    Thanks to all who have shared their info.

  • 27. cpsobsessed  |  March 24, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Thanks, that is very helpful!
    I believe the Cogat is the test that the NYC school system uses.
    I am doubtful that you can get the detailed info for your child, but it can’t hurt to ask! I’d be all over that, of course.

  • 28. Mari B  |  March 24, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    If only I would have discovered this blog before… and I (for the life of me) can’t imagine why I didn’t. All the nights I spent awake googling, ANY and EVERYTHING about CPS and it’s Gifted Program… I could have been here and had a comrade and some relief that I wasn’t the only person obsessing over his Kindergarten career.

    My son who is now 5 and attending a pre-school (CPS) on the South Side will be attending a Regional Gifted Center not too far away.

    We received our letter from teh Office of Academic Enhancement this Saturday (the 21st). It is dated 3/19/2009 and was delivered FAST! My husband ran upstairs with the letter in hand, as if it was a winning Mega Millions ticket, saying “he got in!” I knew the day was coming, for weeks, when we’d be receiving this letter but I was surprised as to how quickly it actually did arrive.

    A week before, we received a letter from another school (lottery based) letting us know he wasn’t selected and we were kind of bummed but then focused on “the 20th”.

    … I hold the memory of his testing day fresh in my mind. It was over Winter Break (’08) and he had been sick for days. His test was on a Thursday in the late afternoon and it was so cold and gloomy out. This was not an ideal testing date (as far as I was concerned), because I was so worried he would be stubborn and not respond.

    He was brought back into the waiting room about 25 minutes later and I was surprised. Of course, I figured the test was a farce and held my questioning until as long as I could. As soon as we stepped outside I asked him, “soooo… was she nice to you?” “yes, she was” he answered.

    … ohhhh-kaaaay…

    “did they show you pictures and ask you questions?”
    “did you know what they were talking about?”
    — OH MY GOODNESS! what’s this silence all about?!?!?!?!?! —-
    “ok, so… were there any questions you didn’t know answers for?”
    “yes. she wanted to know what’s the game that has a ball, a board and a rope? I didn’t know that one. I still don’t know that one Mommy.”

    After that I haven’t heard anything else about the “test”.

    But whatever it was that happened in there and I BEG TO KNOW… He earned a score of 139, and was accepted to our #1 choice where we will attend an informal Open House for those parents who weren’t able to attend last year’s. At that point we will arrange a date of Registration.

    The Vice Principal called me earlier and was very nice… so far so good! I look forward to this journey with him.

    Now… back to focusing on my twin 3 year old’s pre-k career.


  • 29. sarah  |  March 28, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    My little guy got a 132-he was not accepted to Coonley or Edison. It didn’t occur to me to apply to other schools, because they don’t bus to wherre we live. It looks like we don’t even have a second round chance this year because people with scores as high as 144 and upper 130’s didn’t get in either.
    I’m sad because both my son’s pre-k teacher and sunday school teacher are convinced that he is a gifted thinker.
    I’m not sure if he is really a great test taker, however. I hope he won’t be bored in a so-so neighborhood school……….

    Thnaks for hte blog. CPS is so tightlipped about info.

  • 30. South side Dad  |  April 3, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    My daughter got a score of 122 which, after reading this blog, I am a bit surprised. She was an early speaker and has frequently received high praise from her teachers in her preschool and daycare for having a very advanced vocabulary and for asking very insightful questions. And I can’t say what the test they gave her was looking for. They asked her what a car was made and while I can appreciate using more concrete examples for children it seems like a rather arbitrary diagnostic approach. Overall, I am not entirely thrilled with the CPS process.

  • 31. klm  |  December 1, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Lots of the kids that don’t get in SE high schools end up at private (usually Catholic) ones. I know that lots of middle class City kids (i.e.,from the “wrong” socioecomic neighborhoods) that don’t get into Payton or Northside end up at Loyola (in Wilmette) according to somebody I know that works there, or at other schools (St. Ben’s, etc.). I friend of mine whose daughter didn’t get into any “good” SE high school put her house on the market and is planning on moving to Oak Park (like lots of her fellow African-American middle class parents that want her kid to get a good education). She’s mad because her own daughter was penalised by living in the “wrong” (i.e. middle-class) kind of neighborhood, while some of her daughter’s classmates with significantly lower grades and scores got in. If any working-class parent thinks that it’s a good idea to live in the cheapest place in a “good” (i.e. relatively safe and thug-and-gangbanger-free) neighborhood for the benefit of their kids, well, they’re mistaken when it come to SE admissions. Maybe people should temporarily move into the ghetto for their kid’s 8th grade year in order to get into the “right” (according to SE admissions) neighborhood. You’d be risking your safety, but your kid’s chances of getting into a good high school will increase several-fold, in many cases. Just check out which CPS neighborhood schools are the worst and rent the cheapest apartment in one of those school’s boundaries and “move” there. It can seem frustrating sometimes that people who make the “right” decisions in life (e.g. finish school, go to college and get student loan debt , work hard and save for a decent home, have kids only when they are financially able, etc. ) sometimes have to pay for not making more of the “wrong” decisons –it seems kinda’ topsy turvy.

  • 32. Firewire Adapter  |  December 1, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Strikingly well written piece!!!

  • 33. RL Julia  |  December 1, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Ultimately doing that is gaming the system. Its a personal decision.

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