New York City Public Schools use the verbal component of the 8th edition of the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT) along with the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT-2) for entry into Gifted and Talented (G&T) programs. Of these two tests, the NNAT-2 now accounts for 65% of the assessment whereas the OLSAT accounts for 35% of the overall assessment in determining G&T eligibility.
What are the tests?
The NYC school system utilizes the OLSAT to measure a student’s verbal reasoning and comprehension skills, as well as abstract thinking and reasoning skills. They utilize the NNAT-2 to measure a student’s nonverbal abilities, including critical thinking and problem solving using nonverbal reasoning skills.
In general, test items are presented in a multiple-choice format. They are proven valid measures of logical reasoning skills. In NYC, students are tested only on the verbal component of the OLSAT and therefore will be tested on items such as:
- following directions
- classifying items
- detecting likenesses and differences
- recalling words and numbers
- completing analogies
OLSAT Verbal Component
There are 40 questions on the OLSAT Kindergarten Level A entry test and 60 questions on the 1st grade through 3rd grade entry tests; the entry test for 6th grade and above has 72 questions. Depending on the age group, the test takes anywhere from 45 minutes to over an hour.
OLSAT Recommendation by Grade Level
* – The OLSAT is typically administered based on the grade a child is currently enrolled in. Schools may, however, administer different levels based on the time of year a child is tested or based on a child’s birthdate.
The NNAT-2 provides the nonverbal, culturally neutral component to assess a student’s general ability. It utilizes progressive matrices for seven grade-based levels to help in identifying gifted and talented students. There are four types of nonverbal tasks measured by the NNAT-2:
- pattern completion (e.g. look at a design and identify which portion is missing)
- reasoning by analogy (e.g. consider relationships between several geometric shapes)
- serial reasoning (e.g. determine a sequence in a series of shapes)
- spatial visualization (e.g. visualize how two or more objects would look if combined)
NNAT-2 Recommendation by Grade Level
* – The NNAT®-2 is typically administered based on the grade a child is currently enrolled in. Schools may, however, administer different levels based on the time of year a child is tested or based on a child’s birthdate.
The NNAT-2 has 48 questions and takes approximately 30 minutes to administer.
How is a student assessed for G&T?
Both, the verbal component of the OLSAT and the NNAT-2, tests are sent out for scanning and scoring. Parents will receive their student’s overall percentile rank, which determines eligibility for G&T schools and programs. After the tests have been administered and scored, parents receive a score report both by email and postal mail, for online applicants, or only by postal mail if the tests were taken in person. Students scoring at or above the 97th percentile are eligible for placement in both citywide and district G&T programs. Students who perform at or above the 90th percentile are eligible for placement in G&T district programs only. Citywide programs admit students from any New York City district, and district programs admit students who live in specific districts. The NYC Department of Education (DOE) provides G&T programs for students who meet assessment eligibility requirements, apply for admission, and are accepted via lottery.
When will my child be assessed for G&T?
Contact your school administrator or talk to your student’s teacher to find out exactly when they offer assessments for the G&T programs. Generally, the OLSAT and NNAT-2 are administered in January and February for those in kindergarten to 3rd grade. For students in grades 4 and above, the timing varies by district.
Another option is to submit a Request for Testing (RFT) form, which is an application that can be filled online (http://schools.nyc.gov/ChoicesEnrollment/applyonline) or at your student’s school that allows you to request that your student be tested for G&T eligibility. Families may begin submitting RFTs in late September or early October. The deadline to submit an RFT is generally at the end of October to the beginning of November.
Dolphin Academic Prep offers Private OLSAT and NNAT-2 (G&T) Tutoring
We believe it’s unproductive for students to feel intense pressure, stress and anxiety surrounding a standardized test. Unfortunately, there will be plenty of time for that in the future. For that reason, our OLSAT and NNAT-2 (G&T) tutors take extra care to foster a level of comfort and understanding during the tutoring sessions. Our tutors have experience working with a variety of age groups, so they know firsthand how 4-year-olds learn and react differently than 8-year-olds or 15-year-olds.
From the wide set of standardized tests that are given, the OLSAT and NNAT-2 (G&T) are perhaps the trickier of the bunch. Our experience with the test has enabled us to develop a highly effective approach for OLSAT and NNAT-2 (G&T) prep. In particular, and in addition to developing the problem-solving techniques that are the crux of our test-prep tutoring, our Dolphin OLSAT and NNAT-2 (G&T) prep tutors also take care to emphasize the specific knowledge, concepts, strategies and skill sets required for success on the OLSAT and NNAT-2 (G&T). We emphasize the kinds of problem-solving skills that will enable your student to effectively wrestle with unusual and/or unfamiliar question types. As part of the overall process, we also help our parents understand the OLSAT and NNAT-2 (G&T)’s various peculiarities.
Every student is different and therefore we believe it’s imperative that in order to maximize performance on the OLSAT and NNAT-2 (G&T) it is necessary to tailor the prep process to the individual student in an effort to develop the approach that best works for them.
Diagnostic, Evaluation and Practice
Before the first OLSAT and NNAT-2 (G&T) tutoring session, each student receives a diagnostic OLSAT and NNAT-2 (G&T) test. The diagnostic test gives the student an introduction to the test and OLSAT and NNAT-2 (G&T) test prep; it also allows for a baseline to be created. Moreover, based on the results, we formalize an evaluation that identifies the areas of strength, those areas that need the most help, specifies an optimal prep schedule, and sets specific goals. Throughout the OLSAT and NNAT-2 (G&T) test prep our Dolphin OLSAT and NNAT-2 (G&T) Tutors will continue to administer practice OLSAT and NNAT-2 (G&T) tests so that your child becomes familiar with the format, style and speed of the test, so on exam day it minimizes any surprises they may face.
We are here to answer your questions, so give us a call or send us an email to see how personalized OLSAT and NNAT-2 (Gifted and Talented) tutoring with a private Dolphin Academic Prep tutor can help benefit your student.