Answers to some comments/questions

March 25, 2009 at 10:20 am 18 comments

Thanks for all the comments.  It is great to find some fellow-obsessers out there.  See, you’re not alone!

In response to some of the questions posed:

Q: What score do I need to get into a gifted program?

A: Well, based on group consensus, it looks like a score on the gifted portion of 130+ is the 98th percentile.  Those of you with a high 130’s+ are probably in the 99th+ percentile.  In the past, that would have gotten you a spot somewhere.  This year it doesn’t seem as certain.  My son got into one with a 127 last year so you can see the difference between last year and this year.  (And yes, am I glad I gave birth in 2003 and not 2004.)  I have to think that if you have a score in the 140’s that something will come your way.  But I could be wrong.

Q: Why is CPS screwing our kids over with these big class sizes?

A: There isn’t enough money to hire more teachers.  Illinois has a pathetic record for education funding.  I really would like to know why some classes go up to 30+ while others max out at 28.  I get the sense it is a school by school decision but I need to investigate that more.  I do know that my son’s school has offered 28 spots for Kindergarten next year.

Q: My son scored a 144 on the ‘gifted’ portion and a 99.8 percentile ranking for the ‘classical’. He was accepted to a classical school but it’s somewhat far and was our lowest rated choice (out of 5). Do we accept by the 4/17 deadline or wait for something better?

A: That depends how badly you want him in a classical/gifted class and what your backup choices are.  Only you can decide how far is too far.  As I said above, with a score of 144 I’d have to think something will come your way if not this year then next year (Bell? Beaubien?)  I *think* it is worth the risk of turning down the classical and waiting it out.  Oh, and can you please sign a waiver saying you won’t sue me if it doesn’t work out?

Q: I was wondering if anyone has experience with siblings getting into a RGC? My son got into Edison this year and we really want our daughter to be in the same school when she is of age. If she were to get a good enough score to qualify, is there any preference for siblings?

A: The straight answer is “no.”  Siblings get no preference at all.  It is just straight test scores.  However rumor has it that if you work the GEAP office and the principal, some of them might be willing to help work it out.  Edison has always been the hardest to get into and therefore I suspect the least willing to negotiate.

Q:

Who has the authority to jack the gifted class sizes up? Is it the principal? GEAP? Or are they offering slots according to an internal rubric? With the 8000 number you are quoting, that would come out to about 160 kids testing in the top 2 percent. Divided by the available class spots, that leaves room for either smaller classes or a lower cutoff, even with the larger number of applicants…

But at what point do they say this child did not test high enough for us to increase the class size beyond our (completely ignored) limit of 28.

A: Again, no idea who decides the class size.  Very good question indeed.  In regards to the 2%, I know 2 things (or I suspect 2 things.)  More than 2% of the kids will test as Top 2 %.  I assume people who bring their kids in for the test figure they have a decent shot, so you are probably testing 8000 fairly smart kids.  I bet at least 4% or more test as “Top 2%.”  It is a national norm, not a Chicago CPS norm.  I do know for a fact that kids get into gifted programs with lower than 98th percentile.  Mine was 96th and I’m sure kids got in around town with lower than that last year.  I have heard they don’t offer spots if the child is below 90th percentile.

So overall, my questions remains – what is up with the super high scores this year?  More kids? Smarter kids? Different test?

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

Info from GEAP The testing gods have spoken…

18 Comments Add your own

  • 1. K's Dad  |  March 25, 2009 at 11:15 am

    I see a good side to the increased competition.

    Neighborhood schools could benefit if familes shift from private schools to CPS. There are several neighborhood schools that test near the gifted/classical thresholds (especially on the NW & SW sides).

    Adding more gifted children & involved parents would cause me to choose my neighborhood school. However, we need coordination to improve local schools. This blog helps us do that. My contingency plan is to recruit for our local schools and supplement with enrichment activities.

    I’d like to her what activities or lessons people like at the Gifted/Classical schools. Maybe we can replicate them in a good local school. Please share if you don’t mind.

  • 2. M Welch  |  March 25, 2009 at 11:25 am

    They DO offer spots to kids who score below the 90th. Remember school funding is based on how many kids are in the school and how many are low income. A school loses $ if they don’t fill all their spots.

  • 3. NWside Mom  |  March 25, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    Am I crazy for giving up our spot at Edison in hopes of a spot at Coonley? With the probability of my daughter getting into Edison pretty slim I am thinking that if my son went to Coonley she could go to the neighborhood elementary and then solve my two different school issue.

  • 4. cpsobsessed  |  March 25, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    NWside Mom, didn’t you say Edison had been your first choice or am I confused? Are you now thinking you might rather go to Coonley?

  • 5. NWside Mom  |  March 25, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Yes, Edison was our first choice in December before I knew all the challenges of CPS, lotteries, sibling lotteries and GEAP applications/scores. The emotional rollercoaster we have been on for the last two weeks is not something I want to repeat in two years.

    I did not mention earlier that my son is in a preK class in a magnet school right now and we really wanted him to stay there. However, the demand for the school far exceeds the available space and we wound up on a very long waiting list with little chance of getting a spot. Quite a few siblings also did not get in or kids from the proximity lottery. This situation has a lot of families in a difficult spot–two kids in different schools or one in the magnet school and no school choice yet for the younger sibling.

    So the possibilty of a simpler process (for siblings in the same school) with Coonley makes me wonder if I should pursue that.

  • 6. Chicago Girl  |  March 25, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    I knew this before, but I was told again 2 years ago (Lea Lewis?) that the gifted programs are completely funded by Federal Funds (consent decree). So, they have to have a certain mix of of children in the classes in order to be compliant under the current law. Last fall I was following the issues surrounding the consent decree (which can be found at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/24/judge-to-rule-on-chicago_n_128884.html ) however, I have lost track as to whether a decision was made or not.

    Yesterday I wrote a letter to Huberman that basically said this is a magnificent time to attract parents to neighborhood schools, etc. with the large number of people applying to public, etc.

    I still can’t figure out why my children’s scores were so low on the GEAP test, when previous testing had such different outcomes.

    Looks like we will stay in private school for the time being.

  • 7. What?  |  March 25, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    Good point about my faulty reasoning on the 2% vs 4%. I got excited about the math! Still though, I cannot for the life of me figure out what exactly the “rule” is on over 28. Each principal tends to run (or try to run) a school like a little fiefdom…the rules seem to be applied differently at different schools. Which is why I was curious about the principal’s interaction with the GEAP process…does it vary from school to school or is GEAP driving class sizes at these RGC’s?

    And props to you for noticing the weird 2004 baby boomlet. I can never find clothes in DD’s size…always plenty in bigger sizes. What is up with that? Is it nationwide or just a Chicago thing?

  • 8. Diving In  |  March 26, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Hey Chicago Girl, your kid could prob walk in and go to a good school..Peirce,safe and good.You need to take a leap of faith.

  • 9. Need your Good Advice  |  March 26, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Since so many seem so well versed in the statistics, maybe someone can help me make this decision. Against what seems to be prevailing wisdom, I was really hoping to get my seemingly smarter than the average bear Sept. born child into kindergarten this year. Of course, was not allowed to apply for GEAP testing. Had resigned myself to a third year of pre-K, and perhaps improved odds at brilliance for next year’s test. Here is the rub:
    http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=16&GAID=10&DocTypeID=HB&LegId=39899&SessionID=76&GA=96
    Provided the bill passes, if we go to K at our neighborhood school next year, will we completely eliminate the already slim odds of getting into Edison or Decatur by applying as a 1st grader? Was encouraged that the only other kid in her pre-K that is reading got into Skinner. Hoped that meant she might have 1/2 a chance at getting one of those 10 spots in one of those schools next year. So, I guess my question is, do any 1st graders get into Edison or Decatur? I know we will have the additional options of Bell and Beaubien, but I was wondering if anyone has any insight.

    Thanks!

  • 10. cpsobsessed  |  March 26, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Need Your Good Advice – I don’t totally understand that bill. Does it mean the date changes for all kids or that some kids could now start early?
    In any case, the way GEAP explained the scoring to me was that each child is scored based on their actual birth date. So older kids in a grade don’t actually have any advantage on the test (in theory.) So that shouldn’t affect your child’s score (again, in theory.)

    As for 1st graders getting into Edison or Decatur, it is only to replace the number who drop out which varies year to year. Kids move to suburbs, they move schools, parents may not like a school, sibling doesn’t test in, etc. so probably a couple spaces open each year, but you need to test pretty darn well to get a spot. And be the proper white/minority status that is needed. Also, those spots are usually given out either late in the school year or even the end of summer/begining of year as the school figures out who is leaving. So to summarize – some spots open but it’s much harder to get one.

  • 11. cpsobsessed  |  March 26, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    NW Side Mom – hmmm… I have to say that is the first time I’ve heard of someone trying to get into their 2nd choice! For that I’d say give GEAP a call to see what they can do. And let us know!

  • 12. PR  |  March 26, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Thrilled that son got into Edison. But WHERE IS MY DAUGHTER’s letter?????? !!!! I’m sure there are many of us still waiting……….

  • 13. JB  |  March 26, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Need your good advice – for what its worth… My sister and I were both born in December, and my parents started her a year early and me on time. You could push ahead early back then. My mom also taught high school for many years. She always said that she felt like all she accomplished by pushing my sister ahead a year was taking away a year of childhood from her. A year earlier in high school, in college, a year earlier in the work force, and always the youngest of the bunch. She did fine in school, but that really struck me – what does it really accomplish?

    For what its worth, my oldest was born in October and is now finishing her third year of pre-K. Not sure where she’ll end up next year, but she did get into Skinner North.

  • 14. another local  |  March 27, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Like it or not, the smarties are not necessarily more socially mature than their age.

    Speaking as someone who skipped 7th grade… I think a much better answer is something like the gifted programs, where they teach at a higher level but kids are still with their age group.

  • 15. CLACLC  |  April 4, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Anyone else at the Skinner North open house yesterday? If so, what are your thoughts about sending your child there? We are probably not going to primarily because of the safety concern of it being located at Schiller. We are also very skeptical of the Board of Ed in that they want us to confirm attendance by 4/17 but they cannot show us Schiller School or make a firm decision about Skinner North’s location unitl 4/22. So much for transparency. As a lay person I find it concerning that no staff has been hired and the extra curriculars seem to be lacking.

  • 16. CPS parent  |  June 13, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    In response to the Q & A . Decatur is actually harder to get into than Edison. However, the years when there are double classes at Decatur you have better odds. The fall 2009 school year there will be two 2nd, 3rd and 6th grade classes. Fall 2010 there will be two 1st, 3rd and 4th grade classes. In double years pretty much all the top scoring kids go to Decatur over Edison. Which is also probably why the school scores #1 in the state year after year.

    My child went to Edison for K and moved to Decatur from 1st grade on. My child scored 99.9% for both Classical and Gifted testing both times the tests were taken.

    For what it is worth I would choose Coonley or Skinner(west) over Edison. Edisons new location though state of the art is shared with a middle school called Albany Park Multicultural Academy. Which is roughly 450 7th and 8th grade children. Mostly a hispanic population. This is not an academically advanced school. Also the school does not have any green space and is a concrete jungle. It does have a new playground in a very small path of green at the Southern end of the school. Recess is held in the street. Coonley and Skinner both have green space.

    I have maintained a friendships with many of the Edison parents who are not very happy there. But this may also be because they attended the old Edison. To any new families coming in you have no comparison of old Edison to new edison. So you may be very happy there.

  • 17. Newintown  |  November 8, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    We are new in town, living in Old Town right now, but working on either getting our oldest into a GEAP, or else moving to a good neighborhood district. This site was a great one to stumble upon.

    Our 4 year old is very guidable (extremely obedient – to us – but does not show off or perform on command) – and is able to do most of the “gifted” behaviors, etc.

    Given his reticence to show off, I want to guid him on how we expect him to test.

    Who can tell me what is on the Kindergarten gifted tests?

  • 18. cpsobsessed  |  November 10, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Newintown – The “what is on the test” is the biggest mystery in Chicago (well, among the top 10.) The test does something to test logic and critical thinking skills without using reading and math. The best guess is that it is asking kids to tell what happens next, use logic to figure out how things rank (Sally is older than Bob and Bob is older the Joe — who is youngest?) and things of that nature. I’m going to post some stuff this week about it and about early elem test prep.

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