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Kindergarten prep in NY

A test-prep industry for 4-year-olds has burgeoned. Bige Doruk opened Bright Kids NYC in 2009, and there is so much demand that she says she's opening a second site this month. She runs a two-month "boot camp" for the gifted test in the fall that includes eight one-on-one 45-minute sessions and two test-prep books for $1,075.

Blacks and Hispanics in gifted kindergarten programs dropped to 27 percent this year under the test-only system, from 46 percent under the old system (66 percent of city kindergartners are black or Hispanic).

other testing experts -- including Tonya Moon, a University of Virginia professor and principal investigator for the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, and Robert Tobias, a New York University professor who directed assessment for city schools from 1988 to 2001 -- say there is no magic test that can't be gamed. They say tests need to be supplemented with teacher evaluations, classroom observation and interviews.

"No test gives a full picture," Dr. Moon said. "There's need for multiple measures."

While applauding Mr. Klein for creating a citywide standard, Mr. Tobias said the test should be just one part of the evaluation: "Tests are fallible. I don't know a test in existence that's not subject to test prep. You will always have results biased toward kids with better opportunity."

Equity of Test Is Debated as Children Compete for Gifted Kindergarten
Published: July 25, 2010
Because test prep "boot camp" and $145-an-hour tutoring is available to those who can pay, children from wealthy families have an advantage, some parents say.


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