View Full Version : All NYC New iPad Tests Add Anxiety for Those Looking to Secure Coveted Private School Kindergarten Slots

09-23-2014, 06:40 PM
From WSJ.com (http://online.wsj.com/articles/private-school-testing-jitters-1411350043) by Sophia Hollander:

As testing season gets under way, dueling iPad tests at the city's top private schools are adding a new level of anxiety for families trying to secure coveted kindergarten slots for their children.

For nearly half a century, one company had a virtual monopoly on the admissions testing to New York City private schools. In 2012-2013, nearly 3,200 applicants to kindergarten and first grade took the Early Childhood Admissions Assessment, commonly known as the ERB after the firm that created the test, the Educational Records Bureau.

Last fall, an association of independent New York schools said that they were dropping the test, which they said had become too vulnerable to test preparation. In recent weeks, the group unveiled its own test developed over the summer in consultation with researchers from the University of Minnesota. It is known as the Kindergarten Readiness Task, or KRT, a five- to seven- minute test taken on the iPad that focuses on thinking and reasoning skills.

At least 10 schools, including Dalton, Marymount and Poly Prep Country Day School, will be participating in a pilot program for the test this year.

Now officials at the Educational Records Bureau are making a push to recruit schools for their iPad test, the Admission Assessment for Beginning Learners, or AABL, which will be available Oct. 15. The test, which isn't timed, costs $65 per student and promises results within five days. So far schools including Collegiate, Horace Mann and Riverdale Country School have committed to using it this year.

Like the videotape format battle between VHS and Betamax, it is likely that one victor will emerge as the years progress. But for now, families interested in Dalton and Riverdale, or Marymount and Horace Mann will need to take two separate tests.

Other schools have created their own assessments, including Grace Church School. The city's top public options, including Hunter, which gives a modified version of the Stanford Binet test, and New York City's public gifted and Talented Program, which has students take a combination of the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test and the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test, require still more exams. That means that four-year-olds could end up sitting for half a dozen different admissions tests this year.

The fractured admissions process has surprised schools and education experts.

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