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What no more ERB test for NYC Kindergarten admissions means to you

Ready, set, prep!
Ready, set, prep!
Authors personal photo

On September 19, 2013, The New York Times published a piece entitled: Private Schools Are Expected to Drop a Dreaded Entrance Test.

Javier C. Hernandez wrote:

For generations, families have dreaded and despised the exam used to determine the fate of 4- and 5-year-olds seeking entry into the elite world of New York City private schools. But next year, the test, commonly known as the E.R.B., is likely to be dropped as an entry requirement by most of the schools. A group representing the schools announced this week that, because of concerns that the popularity of test-preparation programs and coaching had rendered its results meaningless, it would no longer recommend that its members use the test.

So what does this mean to you?

Click the View Photos Link either above or below to find out (plus information on the Gifted & Talented public school process)!

And check out some of these relevant links:

What Qualifies a Child as Gifted in NYC Schools

Gifted & Talented Lawsuit 2013

School placement: By the Numbers

How to Apply to Hunter College Elementary

Kindergarten 2014
Kindergarten 2014 Author's personal photo

Kindergarten 2014

If you are a parent with a child applying to private school Kindergarten for fall of 2014, it means nothing. The test will still be used for this admissions season. So if you haven't done so yet, make sure to sign your child up to take it, ASAP. (However, some schools, mostly progressive ones, already don't require it, so double-check, first.)

And remember, private school age cut-offs are not the same as public school ones. While any child who turns 5 before December 31 is eligible for public school, private schools prefer their students to be older. September 1 is the official cut-off, but many summer birthday children are urged to wait and reapply the following year.

Kindergarten Beyond 2014
Kindergarten Beyond 2014 Author's personal photo

Kindergarten Beyond 2014

If you are a parent with a child applying to private school Kindergarten any time after that, the future is less clear.

According to the NY Times, not all private schools intend to do away with the test. The prestigious and academically rigorous Horace Mann School, for example, has already said that it will continue to use it. Others may well follow suit.

The King Is Dead, All Hail the King
The King Is Dead, All Hail the King Author's personal photo

The King Is Dead, All Hail the King

Also according to the times: (ERB) is working with experts to develop a new assessment by February. Dr. Hayot said it was too early to say what the assessments would look like, but she said the group was considering ways of measuring noncognitive skills, like resilience and attention span. She also said the group might consider providing written evaluations of students, rather than a score.

In other words, this particular test, a variation of the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, is going away. But, there still will be a test. That parents will still have to take their four year old to and leave them alone in a room with a total stranger. And pay for the privilege of doing so.

More, More, More Said the Tester
More, More, More Said the Tester Author's personal photo

More, More, More Said the Tester

So what does that mean to you? It means that if you want to maximize your chances of your child getting accepted into the school of your choice, you will need to sign him or her up to take the Stanford-Binet (for Hunter Elementary), the public school Gifted & Talented test, the WPPSI for some private schools, and then this new test for other private schools. (Get an overview of the process, here.)

Mission Accomplished?
Mission Accomplished? Author's personal photo

Mission Accomplished?

The alleged reason for scrapping the WPPSI is: Dr. Hayot said that a task force assembled by the schools association had found the results to be “tainted” by test preparation and recommended that the exam no longer be used in admissions for kindergarten and first grade.

That was the same reason that the public schools used last year to justify changing their Gifted & Talented qualifying exam.

The end result? Even more children qualified under the new test.

What Can You Do?
What Can You Do? Author's personal photo

What Can You Do?

No one knows what the new test for Admissions 2015 will look like. But if resilience and attention span are on the menu as predicted, the best thing parents can do is run out and buy themselves a big bag of marshmallows.

Find out why, here.

Cui Bono?
Cui Bono? Author's personal photo

Cui Bono?

Who benefits?

Standardized tests were created, from the SAT level on down, as a way to give middle class and working class kids at least a fighting chance to snag seats in elite universities and exclusive private schools that, up to that point, were the personal bastion of the rich and connected.

Take away the test, you take away that advantage.

Of course, the reverse argument is that tests like the SAT and the ERB instead give a leg up to those who can afford expensive test prep courses and study materials. That's what the Department of Education was attempting to counter last year with their supposedly un-prepable, new exam.

The numbers prove that it didn't work.

If anything, they terrified even more parents into realizing just how tough the competition was.

So who will inevitably benefit most from the new test - whatever it turns out to be?

The test prep companies. (Interested? find a list of them, here.)

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