Thanks to Sophia Hollander of The Wall Street Journal, whose article New Test for Private-School Applicants
Assessment for Kindergarten Takes 5-7 Minutes via an iPad summarizes just how complicated NYC kindergarten testing has become this year.
For more than 45 years, schools relied on the ERB WPPSI for NYC kindergarten testing. In 2014, presto! the WPPSI is gone, replaced by the ERB AABL at some schools (Horace Mann, Riverdale, Avenues), the KRT (Dalton, Marymount, Poly and more), no testing required (many other NYC private schools) and no testing accepted (the rest). It’s a lot for a parent to digest, let alone a preschooler to undergo. I said:
This year “the admissions process has become dramatically more complex,” said private-schools consultant Emily Glickman, who founded Abacus Guide Educational Consulting. “It’s really hard for parents now,” she said. “They don’t know which end is up.”
Hollander’s article details the scientific thinking behind the new “Kindergarten Readiness Task”, the 6 minute iPad game that purports to measure preschoolers’ “executive function” and academic success trajectory. The researcher states:
“These basic foundational skills turn out to be a better predictor of long-term outcomes than intelligence as it’s usually assessed,” Mr. Zelazo said.
The skills are also less susceptible to test prep, he said. Since it isn’t a knowledge-based exam, it is more difficult to teach.
While it is possible to improve executive function with practice, “that would be a genuine improvement in the important skills involved in learning,” he said.
Well to me, if you can improve executive function with practice, that sounds like test prep. And then test prep is learning. So I am not sure why a new test solves anything.