Interview with an OLSAT Tester in NYC

I recently had dinner with a person that gives the OLSAT tests to 4 year olds for the New York City public school system. This person must remain anonymous. It will enlighten many NYC parents though to hear this person’s thoughts as many internet chat rooms and message boards have been buzzing about the injustice of the way they see the test administered. See for yourself…

edgeforlife : Can you tell me from your point of view, the hardest part of giving the test?

tester: Yes, I would say it is not being able to add to the child’s score when I know the child knows the answer. I cannot repeat the question once I have asked it.

edgeforlife : Are there times when you know the child is exceptionally bright but it does not come through in the results?

tester: All the time. There are 40 questions on the OLSAT and the child might breeze through the first 20 with a perfect score, then it’s like they hit a wall with their attention span. They may ask where their mother is or say they want to go home now. I have 20 more questions that we have to go through and 5 kids waiting for me down the hall. What can I do? The rules clearly do not allow me any room here. The child will start missing a few that are clearly easier than some of the others. They just want to get it over and leave. I know they are smarter than what is coming across but my hands are tied. I have to record the answers.

edgeforlife: Parents are worried that if they do something to prepare their child for the test that their child will be penalized. Can you comment on this?

tester: Of course, I can understand why they might be worried. There is no way we can be sure if a child has been prepped but to be honest, it might help speed the process along. A child who can answer the questions smoothly and help me get them through it is going to be a joy not a big red flag. The most important part of getting the child help would be in the form of getting them to listen to questions from a stranger. That is basically what we are judging here, will the child listen to directions and pay attention in class. If they can learn this in a prep class then they will be prepared for the rest of their life.

edgeforlife: Thank you. This has been a very informative interview for our readers and clients. It would appear we are on the right track with our prep programs. Do you have anything to add?

tester: Just that, helping your child to understand how to take the test will help them immensely. Would you send them to take the SAT without understanding how to take it?

edgeforlife : Thanks again for your time.

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