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Today's the Last Day to Sign Up for the City's Gifted and Talented Test

By Amy Zimmer | November 14, 2016 3:48pm
 P.S. 166 in Astoria has a popular G&T program.
P.S. 166 in Astoria has a popular G&T program.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

MANHATTAN — If you’re hoping to get your child into one of the city’s gifted and talented programs, you must register to take the G&T test by Monday, Nov. 14.

Children entering kindergarten through third grade can take the exam, which is given in January either at their current public school or at a designated testing site.

There are roughly 100 gifted and talented programs in New York City. Most are district-wide programs open to all students in that district with a qualifying score in the 90th percentile or above. There are also five citywide programs open to those who score in the 97th percentile or above — but the competition for those seats is so fierce that only those scoring in the 99th percentile tend to get in, many say.

Last year, more than 14,500 4-year-olds took the test to get a G&T seat for kindergarten. Roughly 4,500 kids scored 90 or above, and of those, about 3,600 ended up applying for nearly 2,450 seats, according to DOE data.

If you’re wondering whether your child may be gifted, some possible signs include an excellent memory, great sense of humor, moral sensitivity, perfectionism, a tendency to question authority, and being good at jigsaw puzzles, according to TestingMom.com, an online test prep site.

There’s debate about whether testing 4-year-olds is fair when it comes to determining giftedness — since their ability to concentrate and cooperate can vacillate so widely day-to-day. Most G&T programs outside of New York don’t test until children are in third grade or later, experts said.

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There’s no uniform G&T curriculum in New York City and gifted classes can vary not only from school-to-school, but even from teacher-to-teacher within a school. But many parents covet these seats as alternatives to their neighborhood schools, especially those schools that are struggling.

The city’s gifted program has been criticized for perpetuating segregation within schools, where the demographics of a G&T class might look very different from the general education students.

More than 70 percent of students in the city's Gifted and Talented programs were white or Asian, compared to a system that is roughly 30 percent white or Asian overall, according to a DNAinfo New York analysis of 2014 DOE data.

Scores are expected to be sent out in April and offer letters are sent to families in June.