Monday, October 29

BREAKING NEWS: DOE releases G+T reform proposal

The DOE has just released its long-awaited proposal for reforms to admission processes for the city's gifted and talented programs, and parents have until Nov. 25 to comment on the proposal. The goal of the proposed changes, according to the DOE, is to "expand access to gifted programs and create a single, rigorous standard—based on national norms—for 'giftedness.'" You can take a look at the DOE's slideshow about the changes, but here are the highlights:

  • All students will be tested for G+T at their schools, not at off-site testing centers.
  • Evaluations will continue to be based on two assessments (as they were last year for the first time). Children will continue to take the OLSAT. The Gifted Rating Scale will be replaced by something called the Bracken School Readiness Assessment, which the DOE says is "easier to administer in schools to many children."
  • Children who take both tests will be given a composite score (75 percent OLSAT, 25 percent BSRA). Any child whose scores place him in the 95th percentile nationally will be guaranteed a slot in a gifted program in his district. Children whose scores are in the 97th percentile will be able to apply to the three citywide gifted schools: TAG, HunterAnderson, and NEST.
  • Families will rank their choices from among the district and citywide options.
  • OSEPO will place students. Parents will know whether their child is guaranteed a G+T slot by March 31 and will get their placement offers by May 31.
To make the process even more equitable, beginning in 2008, all students -- not just those whose parents request an evaluation -- will be tested for G+T eligibility.

The DOE says it also plans to enhance the quality of instruction in self-contained G+T programs citywide -- quality, like admissions procedures, has varied from district to district -- and to expand enrichment opportunities for all students, not just those whose scores qualify for G+T programs.

Parents undoubtedly have thoughts and concerns about the proposal. Attend a Town Hall meeting in your borough to learn more and give your feedback; the first meeting is Nov. 5 in Manhattan. See the Insideschools calendar for more dates. Through Nov. 25, you can also submit feedback
via email or by phone at 212-374-5219..

And be sure to post your feedback in the comments -- we're very interested to hear what parents think of the proposed changes!


Jennifer said...

Your post should not list Hunter as a citywide G&T. The citywide G&Ts are TAG, NEST+M, and Anderson.

Philissa said...

Thanks for the catch, Jennifer. I knew in my haste to get the news up I might make a mistake!

hass said...

Testing ALL kids (not just those whose parents arrange for them to be tested) makes so much sense. That would really change the G&T landscape.

Ren said...

Are there more details how the OLSAT would be administered at the preschools, in order to maintain integrity of results? Will there be independent testers, like for the ERB, that come to the schools and give the test?

Samantha said...

I was originally told by the dep't of ed that the olsat testing would begin in early Oct. so I'm quite frustrated at this late date to hear of these changes to the admissions process.

Samantha said...

Question: I read the test would be administered onsite at public schools only. What about private preschools? Where do these kids get tested?

klucas said...

Last year, my son scored a 128 on the OLSAT which put him in the 97th percentile on aptitude. However, his Pre-K teacher scored him as 108 on the GRS which put him in the 70th percentile. Last year, the OLSAT was weighted 2/3 and the GRS was weighted 1/3. When you average these percentiles (97+97+70 and divide by 3), my son’s overall G&T score was brought down to the 88th percentile because of one person (his Pre-K teacher). We made numerous requests to the DOE to have our son re-evaluated from an objective perspective. We provided 8 recommendation letters, details of his Pre-K progress reports indicating that he was “Mastery” in most all areas and the assistant teacher to the Pre-K class even wrote to the DOE indicating that our son was definitely not a 70th percentile student and that he should be re-evaluated. To compound matters, we learned from various folks with children at different Pre-K schools, that their children had GRS scores much higher than their OLSAT scores which was opposite to our situation. To say the least, were were/are very disappointed in our son’s Pre-k teacher and the school for putting us in this situation. However, we knew that an objective source would see how advanced he was (with his reading and math abilities at such an early age) if the DOE would see to fairness and re-evaluate him. But the DOE flat-out refused to consider that the Pre-K teacher was not capable of completing the GRS accurately and the DOE refused to acknowledge that the huge gap between the OLSAT and GRS score was odd and that a G&T child was being allowed to fall through the cracks.

Although I appreciate that the BSRA is weighted 25% (down from 1/3 with last year’s GRS), I still believe that there will be some teachers who are not able to recognize giftedness when it is staring them in the face. So, there must be a route for re-evaluation of the BSRA by an objective source in the event that there is a huge negative difference between the OLSAT score and the BSRA score. It is only fair to the student and family to guarantee objectiveness. It will also help the DOE identify patterns in teacher/school behavior with regard to fair student evaluations.

Let’s consider my son’s percentiles from last year and apply them to this year’s new G & T process. [OLSAT = 128 (97th percentile) and GRS/BSRA = 108 (70th percentile)] With the new weighting, my son’s over all G & T percentile would now be in the 90th percentile (97+97+97+70 divided by 4). That’s only a couple of percentiles better than last year. And, as applied to this year’s process, he still would not, be eligible for a guaranteed gifted program slot within the district. And he certainly would not be identified to apply to the Citywide G & T schools even though his aptitude indicates that he is appropriately suited for those schools.

My husband and I were/are very disappointed about how last year’s G & T program failed our son. We were and still are dumbfounded by the lack of responsiveness/desire by the DOE to ensure fairness last year. But, this year, there must be a route for appeal (or the ability to throw out the teacher evaluation GRS/BSRA altogether) so that this never happens again! “Aptitude is Aptitude” and just because a teacher doesn’t have the ability to recognize giftedness, doesn’t mean that it is not there. Without an appeal process for such negative gaps, this new G & T program is inadequate.

Although the new G & T program for the 2008-2009 school year appears to be headed in a more positive direction, without a route for appeal, it still does not make the mark. Providing an appeal process is the only way to ensure fairness going forward.

olgadeykina said...

Does anybody know when the tests will take place? I asked our teacher several times, but she said that it will be only in Spring next year. I just want to make sure that we don't miss testing as it happen last year :(
Thank you, Olga

Franny said...

This is ultra confusing! how is my child supposed to read this stuff?