Posts tagged ‘gifted testing’

Be patient, this is just the begining

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?!


March 22, 2009 at 5:02 pm 33 comments

How can I tell if my child is gifted?

I heard this question asked a couple times when I was helping at the NPN Fair.  Mainly from parents who mentioned that people commented that their child should be tested for giftedness (and I think they meant people other than the grandparents.)

I just happened upon this interesting article that talks about the 5 levels of Giftedness.  Level 1 (which probably describes many of the kids in the CPS gifted programs) are the “bright” kids.  Level 5 is astounding.  You’ve heard stories about them and I assume there are some at schools like Edison.  Or maybe they’re in extra-special gifted programs that people like me don’t know about or are taking college classes or something.   But this article lists specific behaviors that you can use to eyeball your own child.

Level 1 kids know most letters, colors and can count by age 3.

Level 3 kids know many sight words by age 3 – 3.5

Level 5 kids read chapter books by age 3.5 – 4.5.  And sadly, question the reality of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy by age 2-3. (I STILL cannot fathom how my son buys into this – clearly he’s not Level 5.)

The problem is that many Level 1’s won’t make it into a CPS Gifted Program, just because there aren’t enough spaces.  That’s where the luck of a good mood/good test day comes into play.  The good news is that there are a lot of Level 1’s in the neighborhood schools, who’s parents should be making sure the school is challenging them adequately.

December 22, 2008 at 12:00 am 3 comments

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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