In Fall, 2013, it was announced that ISAAGNY (the Independent School Admissions Association of Greater NY) would no longer “require” private schools to administer the ERB for Kindergarten admissions.
In a statement, ISAAGNY announced:
“In the coming months, ISAAGNY will reach out to experts in the field to determine their interest in assisting our organization with the development and implementation of a new protocol that will better meet the needs of our membership, and will reflect the latest research and current thinking around early childhood screening and assessment.
The ISAAGNY Board will invite ERB to our October retreat in order to solicit their ideas for administering assessment alternatives, and we have created another Task Force charged with developing a new protocol by late February of 2014 so that it can be introduced to our membership in time for the 2014–2015 admissions season.”
In February, ISAAGNY did meet. There, it was decided that there would be no single alternative to the ERB that private schools in NYC would be required to use – schools are now free to shape their own admissions process. They expected that some schools would stick with the ERB, while others would use different assessment tools to evaluate their young applicants.
Here is what we know to be true. We have confirmed that a group of schools will still require the ERB as part of its application process. Another group of schools will not require the ERB – they will administer their own test during the school visit. They may or may not release information about what alternative assessment tools they will rely on in place of the ERB. Of this group, some will say that you may “optionally” send in your child’s ERB scores if you have them; Others will advise you not to submit them.
This puts parents in a difficult spot. If your child is applying to even one of the schools that is requiring the ERB, then your child will need to take the test. If your child takes the test and does well, you will also want to submit the scores to any schools that say they will “optionally” accept the test. Even if a school says it isn’t accepting the test, we recommend that you send your child’s scores to them if he or she does very well. If they don’t want to consider them, they won’t. However, if the scores are positive, that’s one additional “plus” that will be added to your child’s file.
If your child takes the test and doesn’t do well, you need not send the results to any school that isn’t requiring ERB scores. However, if you are interviewing at several schools and you are asked what schools you are applying to, schools will know that your child took the test if you mention that you are applying to schools that are requiring the ERB. If these schools will “optionally” accept the test and you don’t send them your child’s scores, they may assume that your child didn’t do well. Just keep this in mind during school interviews.
As of May, 2014, here is what schools have said regarding whether or not they want the ERB as part of the kindergarten application. We gathered this information by calling the schools and checking their websites; however, the information is a bit of a moving target. For example, we called Brearley last week and they said they wanted the ERB. Aristotle Circle told us just today that Brearley called them this morning to say that they wouldn’t be requiring the ERB. So while this list may be true today, it may change over the summer. We recommend that you double check the school website when you are applying as requirements may change between now and fall:
Allen Stevenson – yes
Avenues – yes
Berkley Carroll – yes
Birch Wathen – no, but “send if you have them”
Brearley – no
Browning – no
Buckley – no
Chapin – no
Collegiate – no, but “send if you have them”
Columbia Grammar – no
Corlears – yes
Dalton – no
Dwight – no
Ethical Culture – yes
Friends – no
Grace Church – no
Hewitt – no
Horace Mann – yes
Little Red – no
Mandell – no, but “send if you have them”
Manhattan Country School – no
Marymount – yes
Nightengale Bamford – yes
Packer Collegiate – yes
Poly Prep – no
Ramaz – yes
Rodeph Shalom – yes
Rudolph Steiner – no
Sacred Heart – yes
St. Ann’s – no, but “send if you have them”
St. Bernard’s – website currently says “yes,” but we are hearing that they will not require it for Kindergarten (so double check in the fall)
St. David’s – yes
St. Luke’s – no
Columbia – no
Soloman Schechter – accepts a variety of tests including the ERB
Spence – no
Town – yes
Trevor Day – yes
Trinity – no
United Nations International School – yes
Village Community – no
* Even though not every school we called told us to “send ERB results if you have them,” we still recommend sending them if your child does well.
We will keep you posted about what we learn as more information is released. Expect a lot of uncertainty in this first year after the decision was made to let schools shape their own assessments. In the future, we should have a much better sense of what the various schools will be doing and how parents can make sure their kids are ready for whatever evaluation they’ll be given.
What to do if you are applying to schools that will do their own testing
If you are applying to schools that are doing their own testing, it will be more important than ever for your child to have the skills schools are looking for youngsters to have when entering their programs. If your child is applying to private school, visit www.TestingMom.com’s “Kindergarten Readiness” section to know what abilities selective schools are looking for in the students they accept for admissions. Schools will be looking at your child’s skills in these areas: language, information, memory, math, visual-spatial reasoning, cognitive thinking, fine-motor, along with other kindergarten-readiness skills from social skills to pre-reading to academic abilities. By working on these skills, your child should be ready for whatever evaluation your child receives during a school visit, even if you don’t know the exact form the assessment will take. The www.TestingMom.com website has all the materials and information you need to make sure your child is up to date on the skills that may be assessed. You should also work with www.TestingMom.com’s ERB preparation materials if you are applying your child to any schools that will still wants to see ERB results. Another tool you can use to prepare for the ERB is the IQ Fun Park Game, available at www.TestingForKindergarten.com.
Here information about the “ERB” test for kindergarten and early grade admissions that will continue to be required by many private schools in NYC:
The ERB officially calls the test “The Early Childhood Admissions Assessment” or “ECAA.” The underlying test that is administered is the WPPSI™-IV test. The ERB recently revised its “What to Expect on the ECAA” brochure to reflect the changes it is making on the test for NYC kids applying to private kindergarten for the 2013-2014 school year. They are using the 8 subtests from the WPPSI™-IV test to assess Manhattan children applying for kindergarten admissions. For those of you who have been doing practice questions with your child for the WPPSI™-III test, don’t worry – many of the ERB subtests are very similar to what was on the WPPSI™-III test. If you visit the ERB website at http://erblearn.org/parents, download the ECAA What to Expect brochure, and you will get an idea of the types of questions your child will be asked. You can also register to have your child take the ERB test at this site if your child won’t be assessed at his or her nursery school.
Some schools (such as Horace Mann) have said that they will still require students to take the ERB. Other schools may still require the test to be given – this is to be determined.
If your child is entering Pre-K to 1st grade, he will be given 8 subtests for a full scale IQ score and the assessment should take about 40-50 minutes. Here are the 8 subtests that will be administered:
3) Information (replaced “Word Reasoning” from WPPSI™-III test)
5) Block Design
6) Matrix Reasoning
7) Bug Search (replaced “Coding” from WPPSI™-III test)
8) Picture Concepts
If you would like to talk to an expert about any aspect of private school admissions in NYC, CLICK HERE to schedule a private consultation with Karen Quinn.
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