City parents are livid after the Department of Education lost the entry tests of 61 kids applying to advanced academic programs and schools.
A total of 12,834 4 and 5-year-olds kids took the Gifted and Talented exam in January to vie for admission to coveted district and citywide programs.
But dozens of applicants who took the exam at PS 89 Liberty School in Tribeca didn’t get their scores last month when the DOE released results.
After weeks of evasion, the DOE finally admitted that they had lost the crucial tests in a May 15 email to parents.
Officials said UPS lost the exams while transporting them to a testing vendor for scoring.
With Gifted and Talented placements scheduled for release next month, impacted parents said their children will be unfairly cut out of the competition.
“The degree of incompetence and lack of transparency are really disconcerting,” a Chelsea parent said.
Sharon DeWitt of Tribeca ripped the DOE’s handling of the bungle.
“They went weeks before finally admitting they lost the test,” she said. “Finally, on May 15, boom, ‘we lost your score,’ that’s it, with no gameplan. Many families plan their family life around this test.”
A DOE spokesperson said it will attempt to offer make up exams but acknowledged that the coronavirus is complicating that effort.
“We immediately informed families when we found out UPS lost these tests and will offer retests as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Katie O’Hanlon. “Placement results will still be released in June but these families will still have the option to enroll in a G&T program if they qualify.”
But parents wondered how their kids would qualify without having a chance to take the test in time.
“In the 15 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve never heard of scores being physically lost — with no trace,” said city education consultant Alina Adams. “This is new and exciting for a DOE screw up.”
Parents often expend time, money and energy preparing their kids for the exams.
“They’re grief-stricken and they don’t know what to do.” Adams said.
Roughly one in four test takers score high enough to qualify for a spot. But due to demand, only a fraction of them eventually secure seats via lottery.
Detractors of the Gifted and Talented system argue that young children should not be taking standardized tests to determine their educational future.
Backers assert that advanced children should be placed in appropriately rigorous academic environments.
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