New York City to end Gifted and Talented exam after this year

Richard Carranza
Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a media availability with Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza at City Hall on January 13, 2021. Photo credit Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The New York City Department of Education will be doing away with its controversial Gifted and Talented exam for kindergarteners.

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said late Tuesday that the city will administer it’s final Gifted and Talented exam this spring before doing away with in entirely.

“We must move away from the test & develop a system that reimagines academic and enrichment programming for our most exceptional students,” Carranza said in a statement. “Now and always, we are committed to providing a school experience that challenges all children and delivers on their thirst for knowledge, no matter what.”

The exam – administered to children as young as 4 – controls entry into fast-track elementary programs, which are often criticized for their lack of racial diversity in comparison to the rest of the city’s public school system. According to data, white and Asian students make up the majority of students in the programs.

The exam is not the same as the controversial specialized high school admissions test but, operates in the same way in that entrance in the programs is determined by a single, high-stakes exam. The city has not said if it will do away with the high school level test.

A school diversity advisory group in 2019 recommended to Mayor Bill de Blasio that New York City should move away from exclusive gifted programs and create a system in which all students have access to enrichment courses.

Mayor de Blasio on Wednesday indicated that the city seems to be moving in that direction now.

“We need a much better approach to serving kids who have a lot of capacity – that's great some kids have a lot of talent, some kids are ready to learn faster – but that's a lot of kids, a lot more than are benefiting, currently, from the very small amount of Gifted and Talented programs that exist,” de Blasio said.

While the future of Gifted and Talented programs remains uncertain, Carranza said the city will spend the next year engaging with local communities to create “programming that is more inclusive, enriching, and truly supports the needs of academically advanced students at a more appropriate age.”

The final Gifted and Talented exam will be offered in-person at the beginning of April. Families will receive their scores in early summer for fall 2021 admission.

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