Posts tagged ‘GEAP’

Info from GEAP

Just to summarize some info I learned yesterday from a variety of sources:

GEAP reports that there were WAY more kids who took the gifted/classical tests this year than last year.  Approximately 8,000 were tested this year compared to under 6,000 last year.  That is a HUGE increase.  I would attribute it to the economy – perhaps parents of private school kids who want a CPS back-up?  GEAP also attributes it to the gifted/classical school fair they held this year.  I didn’t attend it, but they feel that it helped increase awareness of the whole process.

GEAP claims they change the test each year.  Not sure if I buy that or not.  It would be inefficient for the test-givers to administer a totally different test each year, right?  I think they just want to prevent parents from trying to prep their kids.  In any case, IF that were true, perhaps that helps explain the abundance of high scores this year?  OR, maybe just the sheer number of kids has raised the bar in terms of the scores needed to get first round acceptance.  But still… why was there no percentile this year?  I need to get an answer to that one.  If anyone calls GEAP, see if they’ll give a reason.

Given the huge number of kids tested, there is no way they can give a test that really truly measures a child’s intelligence.  These tests are hopefully a decent indicator and for now, that’s the best we’ve got.  If CPS wanted to use a better test method, we’d probably have to switch to a system like I’ve heard of in suburbs where a child needs teacher recommendations to take the test (or maybe other outside confirmation.)  CPS doesn’t care about stuff right now, leaving it a big of a crapshoot, much like the lotteries.

Just as a reminder, there are SO few spots out there for Kindergarten.  If you live on the north side and don’t want your child to travel too far there are 3 K programs: Edison, Decatur, Coonley.  If you break it out by white/non-white (35%/65%) that is roughly 10 spots per school for white kids, maybe 20 spots per school for minority kids.  They don’t balance on gender, but if it falls out 50/50, that means there are 10 gifted spots for a white boy up north and 5 classical spots.  Hey, quit your complaining!  Before Coonley came along there were only 5 boy spots!  Again, it isn’t gender balanced, but that was how I was pondering my chances last year.

So the spots are few, the number of kids is massive.  And people I’ve talked to who have gotten spots offered are not totally set on whether they’ll take them.  People like their neighborhood schools, they don’t like the idea of big class size, they don’t want to travel too far, they don’t like the idea of the “gifted” label, etc.  Spots will open up in April and beyond.

And where is MY stinkin’ letter by the way?!

March 24, 2009 at 1:57 pm 45 comments

Gifted/Classical Notifications – Coming Soon to a Mailbox Near You

The Gifted/Classical testing period has ended and a few days ago I noticed a big spike in hits here… I can only guess that people are now trying to find out WHEN they’ll find out the news – How did my child do?  Did they get a spot anywhere?

According to the CPS GEAP site, letters notifying parents of admission for the first round will be mailed March 20th.  If my memory serves me correctly (which it often does not) the letters with the test score should  arrive about a week before that.

What can you figure out from the test scores?  Well, for Classical, if your child scores in the 97th percentile or lower, chances are slim that you’ll get in anywhere since there are so few slots.

For the Gifted Test for Kindergarten, it seems that down to 95th% could get you in… but you never really know.  And may not even know until September as people start shuffling around.

So if you think you will have all the answers when you get your test scores – far from it!  You may end up getting an offer for a spot a month later and have just days to decide if you’ll take it.   Hard time for neurotic parents.  Have plenty of wine on hand.

NOTE: 2 comments posted that are worth reading:

I called the Office of Academic Enhancement the other day to check on this, and they told me that they changed the policy this year.  There is no separate mailing prior to the school decision letters that details test results.  She said this year they are combining those two mailings, so you’ll find out the test results at the same time as you get acceptance letters, which mail on the 20th.  Good luck everyone!

I’ll add another anecdote: I know personally of 3 kids accepted to Classical and Gifted programs who scored below 90.  Friend who is a SW at CPS says the schools have to fill those classroom spots. So they go down the list until they’re filled.

March 4, 2009 at 10:57 am 2 comments

Learn the ABC’s of CPS in person

If you are just navigating the waters of CPS or if you want to discuss something in person with a knowledgeable resource, you can attend one of the following sessions at Sulzer Library (4455 N. Lincoln.)  Ellen Lourden from CPS will be there to talk about the process and answer questions. She is a master at answering the nit-pickiest questions about lotteries.

Saturday, March 14 9:00 – 10:30 am

Tuesday, March 24, 10:00 – 11:00 am

Tuesday, March 31, 7:00 – 8:00 pm

No need to register.

March 4, 2009 at 12:54 am 1 comment

New clues about the CPS gifted test content (and can I prep my kid?)

The New York Times has an article today about the gifted programs in NYC.  I can barely follow what they’re saying based on how screwy the system is there.   The gist of it is that some changes in how they allocated spots in their gifted program has messed things up in a big way, resulting in some classes being tiny, others big, and still others being disbanded for lack of enrollment (even though 16,000 kids were tested and they have 66 entry-level gifted classes.)  Dang, that is a big-ass city.  All I know is, I’m glad I don’t live there as far as school is concerned.

Anyhow, the big news that I wish I’d read one year ago is the discussion of the test that is used to determine admission to the gifted classes: The Otis-Lennon School Ability Test, or Olsat, a reasoning exam, and the Bracken School Readiness Assessment.   Apparently, this OLSAT is replacing the Stanford Binet Intelligence scale across the land as the means for testing kids for gifted programs.  Obviously NYC has the biggest testing program around, but I gotta figure that other cities are following suit.   It’s possible the Chicago is still using the Stanford Binet, based on what I’ve read about the normative data the S/B has collected.  In speaking with the people at the testing facility here, they talk a lot about the “norms and percentiles.” 

Some lady in this (incredibly painful-to-navigate) blog discusses the differences between the two tests and concludes that the Stanford Binet is more reliable (and sounds like more fun) for kids ages 4-6.

But, you ask…. what’s in it for me?  Well, I haven’t had a chance to look in depth just yet, but out there in Internet Land, there must be some clues as to what kinds of things are on these tests.  In fact my first attempt at Yahoo-ing the OLSAT reveals a preparatory kit that can be purchased to help your child practice.  Quite a coup for the overzealous parents of New York City.

Another site sells workbooks that can help with test prep, even down to the prek level (and you can even find workbooks to help kids prep for the ISATs:)  Maybe I’m a nerd, but some of them actually look kind of fun. I’m going to try out some of the Mind Bender books on my kid.  Another site mentions this Building Thinking Skills line of books as good prep material for the Stanford-Binet.

In retrospect, it’s probably better that I didn’t know about any of this last year.  My son wouldn’t have had the attention span to sit through any kind of practice session and I would have been a nutcase (or to clarifly, MORE of a nutcase.)

UPDATE: I received the 2 Mind Bender books that I ordered.  The Grades K-2 version seems like it’ll be too hard for my kid (sample question: Suppose that all boys have purple hair.  And suppose that all purple-haired people are 3 meters tall.  What else must then be true?) Maybe I’m underestimating my kid – I haven’t actually tried them on him yet.  But this might be a good indication of the Stanford-Binet type questions.  The PreK-K book is all of the same type of question, which involves filling in a little grid of logic using the clues given (for example figuring out which of 3 people lives in the biggest, smallest, or widest house.)  With a little instruction, my son has been able to do these with me reading the clues.  But I’m sure a real test would have a greater range of questions.  So while these are fun little mind-benders and challenge kids’ logic skills, I’m unsure they provide real prepping for a gifted test.  I do think they’ll be fun for taking to restaurants and such to occupy time.

The site has a section about the test called COGAT that is used in some areas.  If you email the company, they’ll send you a sample sheet of 3 questions for this age range which are the type I was imagining is on the CPS version (no real proof though.)  I got the copy, but can’t seem to figure out how to post it here.  Just send an email to with the words CogAT Primary in the subject line and you’ll get the sheet right away.  The site is also nice to explore for info on testing in general.

And finally, assuming that CPS uses the Stanford-Binet test (that is my best guess right now), the following book might help a kid get ready:

You can read about my own experience having my son tested before Kindergarten here:

October 30, 2008 at 1:04 am 4 comments




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