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Gifted and Talented Test Error at Forest Hills' P.S. 144 Panics Parents

By Amy Zimmer | January 13, 2016 12:59pm
 P.S. 144 in Forest Hills, which has a popular gifted program, sent an incorrect letter to parents about what would be on this year's G&T test.
P.S. 144 in Forest Hills, which has a popular gifted program, sent an incorrect letter to parents about what would be on this year's G&T test.
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DNAinfo.com/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

QUEENS — As if registering a child to take the city’s gifted and talented test wasn’t stressful enough, a group of parents from a Forest Hills elementary school got an extra dose of jitters when their school incorrectly told them they'd been prepping for the wrong test.

Multiple parents whose children were readying to take the G&T test this week at P.S. 144 — a school on 69th Avenue that has a popular districtwide gifted program — got a letter this week alerting them that participants would be measured using two tests, one of which hasn't been in use since 2011.

P.S. 144's principal Reva Gluck-Schneider confirmed the snafu on Tuesday and said the school took full responsibility for the error.

"The letters we sent home to families mistakenly included language from previous years," Gluck-Schneider said in an emailed statement. "All the other details including the date and time for testing were accurate."

The confusion began earlier this week when children taking the test to get into first-, second- or third-grade G&T programs got a letter on P.S. 144 letterhead telling them, “The process for establishing your child’s eligibility for this program is the administration of the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT) and the Bracken School Readiness Assessment (BSRA)."

Parents began to panic since they had not prepped their children for the BSRA — which was phased out in 2012 during a G&T test overhaul and replaced by the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT).

Parents feared their students would perform poorly since they would not have time to prep for the different test in the days that remained.

“I was shocked. I was so stressed out: What am I going to do now?” said one Forest Hills mom of a kindergartner who asked to remain anonymous.

The mom said she had been working with her child two hours each night to prep for the OLSAT and NNAT, which asks kids to look at a series of complicated shapes and pattern so they can fill in missing pieces.

When she called the school on Monday to inquire about the outdated test, she said a parent coordinator incorrectly insisted that the letter was correct, she said.

Karen Quinn, founder of test prep site TestingMom.com, said she heard from several panicked parents at P.S. 144 who had signed up with her company’s services.

“The school not only made the mistake in writing, but also in talking to the parents," Quinn said. "Very sloppy!"