Educational programmes for gifted and talented students

Think your child is ready to learn with some of the globe’s most gifted and talented students?

To help get you and your child prepared, we’ve compiled some Canada and USA’s most prestigious and most rewarding educational competitions and school ability tests.

There are a whole host of admissions tests in the USA, but below we’ve outlined some of America and Canada’s most elite aptitude tests.

  1. Tests include the Canadian Cognitive Abilities Test and its American counterpart, the NYC Gifted and Talented Test, and the Schools and Colleges Ability Test;

  2. The gifted and talented programmes usually focus on a child’s verbal, quantitative and non-verbal abilities;

  3. Children take different tests depending on their age and grade;

  4. The tests will often focus on the aptitude and ability of children, rather than asking them questions they have already learned;

  5. ClassRx’s distinguished, world-leading Oxford, Cambridge and Ivy league tutors can help prepare your child for these tests at a time and place that suits you.

Canadian Cognitive Abilities Test (CCAT)

The CCAT is a little different from other assessments. Rather than testing students on what they have already learned, it instead focuses on their academic ability and whether they’ll be eligible for gifted and talented programmes.

The aptitude test is aimed at students from kindergarten to the twelfth grade and is administered in groups. Participants will sit three separate tests, usually taking around 90 minutes to complete.

However, the number of questions and question types on the CCAT will depend on what grade level and form of test your child is taking.

Typically, the CCAT focuses on three sets of abilities, in this case, referred to as ‘batteries’. They are:

  1. Verbal – Verbal classification, sentence completion and verbal analogies;

  2. Quantitative – Number series, puzzles and analogies;

  3. Non-verbal – Figure classification, and figure analogies and analysis.

Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)

In the United States, the equivalent of the CCAT is the CogAT.

The CogAT tests gifted and talented students on things that are brand new to them – the test administrator will issue a short set of instructions to the group sitting the exam, and it’s then up to your child to understand and process this information to answer the questions.

There are two types of CogAT exams:

  • Primary level – The Primary edition is usually assigned to students at kindergarten, first and second grade (although some students in the latter grade may receive the multilevel edition).

The test administrator will issue the questions and the answers are in picture format.

  • Multilevel – This is assigned to slightly older students (grades two – 12), and can therefore read and answer the test questions themselves.

Similarly to the CCAT, this level of assignment includes verbal, quantitative and nonverbal test areas, usually with a few extras:

Verbal test areas – Verbal analogies, sentence completion, verbal classification;

Quantitative test areas – Quantitative relations, equation building, number analogies, number puzzles, number series;

Non-verbal test areas – Figure classification, figure analogies, figure analysis, figure matrices and paper folding.

Test participants are usually given around 45 minutes to complete each ‘battery’ (two-to-three hours in total). The CogAT normally contains between 120-180 questions, depending on what level your child is at.

After the tests, tests are scored in two ways – age norms and grade norms.

Age norms compare how a student performed against other children of the same age, while grade norms compare how they performed relative to other children in the same grade.

Once the scores are assembled, test participants are then given a ‘CogAT profile’, which go from letter A to E.

  1. ‘A’ profile – If your child is classed as having an ‘A’ profile, it means they received roughly the same marks for all three batteries;

  2. ‘B’ profile – This usually entails that one of the three battery scores is either above or below the other two. Falling into the ‘B’ profile category is usually the most common outcome;

  3. ‘C’ profile – In this instance, the ‘C’ stands for ‘contrast’. If your child is classed under the ‘C’ profile, it means they have both relative strength and relative weakness. The results can vary and some will have a bigger difference than others;

  4. ‘E’ profile – Curiously, there is no ‘D’ profile. Instead, the final profile is ‘E’ – for ‘extreme’. This entails significant differences between each battery.

Naglieri Nonverbal School Ability Test (NNAT)

Once again, if you want your child to be eligible for gifted and talented programmes, the NNAT assessments are a must.

As suggested in the title, the NNAT – designed by research professor Jack Naglieri - isn’t about language skills. Instead, it focuses on shapes and figures so they can evaluate your child’s problem-solving and reasoning abilities.

Typical questions that pop up during the NNAT include:

  • Pattern completion – This section is almost like a jigsaw puzzle. There will be a large design with a section removed, and it’ll be up to your child to identify the correct missing piece;

  • Serial visualisation – Your child will have to recognise sequences created by shapes and identify the relationships between images;

  • Spatial visualisation – Instead of matching shapes in terms of them being identical, this portion will see your child determine how different shapes and designs would look when they’re combined or rotated;

  • Reasoning by analogy – Your child will look at the relationships between different figures and shapes.

Similar to the first tests, children will be tested depending on their age and could enter one of the following levels:

  1. Level A exam – For children entering at the kindergarten level, which has pattern completion and reasoning by analogy questions;

  2. Level B exam – Level B is for first-grade children, which contains pattern completion, reasoning by analogy and serial reasoning;

  3. Level C exam – Second-grade children take on Level C, which includes reasoning by analogy, pattern completion, serial realisation and spatial visualisation;

  4. Level D exam – Children in third and fourth-grade sit Level D, which has spatial visualisation, reasoning by analogy, serial reasoning and pattern completion;

  5. Level E exam – For children in fifth and sixth grade, which has spatial visualisation, serial reasoning, reasoning by analogy and pattern completion;

  6. Level F exam – Level F exams are for kids in seventh and ninth grade, and includes questions on spatial visualisation, reasoning by analogy, serial reasoning and pattern completion;

  7. Level G exam – Children in tenth-to-twelve grade will tackle Level G, facing questions on spatial visualisation, serial reasoning and reasoning by analogy.

Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT)

The OLSAT measures similar skills as the preceding tests – verbal, non-verbal, figural and quantitative reasoning – and is also aimed at students from kindergarten to Grade 12 level.

Delivered in a multiple-choice format, the OLSAT consists of two sections, verbal and non-verbal.

The verbal section focuses on comprehension and reasoning, while the non-verbal portion tests more visual and quantitative reasoning.

The OLSAT test is delivered either online or via a traditional pen-and-paper format and takes around an hour to complete.

NYC Gifted and Talented Test

This is a hugely competitive test that would see your child, if successful, gain entry to some of New York’s finest gifted and talented programmes.

The test can be taken during late autumn and winter, but it’s often advised to wait as long as possible - such as around January time – to give your child as much time as possible to prepare.

The NYC Gifted and Talented Test is usually delivered either individually or in a small group and does not have a time limit imposed.

If your child is of kindergarten age, they will take the exam individually and simply have to point to the correct answer. The number of participants goes up depending on the grade, with those tests being answered through the form of a bubble sheet.

The NYC test usually contains around 80 questions. There are usually two types of exams:

  • District Gifted and talented programmes – Priority admissions to students who live in particular school districts;

  • Citywide gifted and talented programmes – These programmes accept students from across the city.

School and College Ability Test (SCAT)

The SCAT test is used by the Johns Hopkins Centre for Talented Youth (CTY), a prestigious school for gifted and talented students whose alumni now work for the likes of Google and Facebook.

The SCAT is a timed test that involves two parts. The test is delivered in a multiple-choice format and focuses on mathematical and verbal skills. Participants usually have around 25 minutes to complete each section.

Unlike other tests, the SCAT is ‘above grade level’ – so if your child is currently in second grade, for example, the questions will be reflective of the third grade.

This is to assess whether your child requires the advanced and fast-paced schoolwork that CTY can provide.

The verbal and quantitative sections both contain 55 questions – however, only 50 are graded.

The verbal section requires strong vocabulary knowledge and verbal reasoning. It contains multiple-choice questions where your child will have to choose the best pair of words to complete an analogy.

Meanwhile, the quantitative section is numerically focused. It takes on a similar format to the verbal section, except this time your child will have to compare two mathematical quantities and figure out which is greater.

Preparing your child

So, there’s a whole host of educational competitions, tests and programmes out there in both the USA and Canada. Now it’s time to make sure your child is best prepared for them.

Back in the day, having a tutor would mean sitting in a dusty classroom leafing through boring textbooks. Not anymore.

ClassRx enables your child to learn from some of the world’s finest academics. Simply log on to your computer and within seconds your child can be interactively learning from a lecturer from Oxford, Harvard or Princeton.

Feel your child needs some extracurricular support? Get in touch and our experienced academics will be on hand to help.