AABL test scores, required for 2015 admission to NYC private school kindergarten at Horace Mann, Riverdale, Collegiate and Avenues, are coming in. NYC preschool directors and families are reporting AABL scores all over the map, with some surprised at children’s doing poorly in specific AABL sections that they were thought to know well.

Children receive AABL percentile ranks and stanines in verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and achievement sections early literacy, and mathematics. Reading the AABL score report, I was struck by its similarity to the ISEEs, the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) test required for admission to private middle and high school.

On its website, the ERB dispenses a bit of fluff: (italics mine)

The AABL, administered on an iPad, is fun for early childhood applicants and informative for schools.  If your school is interested in using the AABL in your admissions process or participation as a research partner…please contact your ERB representative.

Some of my clients are reporting high AABL scores. These children are early readers and mathematicians, with precocious capabilities. Unfortunately, later bloomers, who may in a few years turn into excellent test takers once they learn to read and develop more academic skills, are at a significant disadvantage with this new test. Attending an academic vs. play-based preschool, playing iPad learning games and completing test prep drills all help the AABL test taker but hurt the preschooler who wants to spend her early years playing and engaging in more age appropriate and rewarding activities.

It remains to be seen what will happen with the AABL, the ERB’s new preschool testing experiment. This test-making company has a lot riding on the test’s being adopted by many private schools, and the schools can make their teaching easier by taking in kids who already have proven achievement in math and reading. Knowing current trends, I expect more schools will use the AABL test next year which unfortunately will increase stress for families. Unlike what the ERB says, the test is not “fun for early childhood applicants”. Fun is running in the playground, people.