Public Pre-K and Test-Taking for the NYC Gifted and Talented Programs: Forging a Path to Equity

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Educational Researcher
February 17, 2016

Ying Lu, New York University
Sharon Weinberg, New York University


The New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) gifted-and-talented programs aim to support all students of exceptional learning potential within the public school system. Using proprietary data made available to us by the NYC DOE, we show, however, that substantial disparities exist in the rates of gifted-and-talented admission test taking, the first step in the process of accessing these more challenging educational opportunities. While Black and Latino/a students take the test for gifted-and-talented admission at substantially lower rates than their White and Asian counterparts, we find the disparity to be significantly less for those enrolled in public prekindergarten programs. We likewise find similar results when comparing other subgroups defined by students’ family, borough, and neighborhood characteristics. These results suggest that public prekindergarten gifted-and-talented attendance could have played a role in ameliorating the gaps in test taking by providing greater access to information about the gifted-and-talented programs across subgroups of students.

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