Teachers have to fill out test bubbles for gifted 4-year-olds

Kids are being put to the test before they can even take them.

Teacher and public school parent Melanie Kletter has penned an essay for education news site Chalkbeat about NYC’s controversial gifted and talented programs. The tests are currently under fire from Mayor Bill de Blasio and a school-diversity panel created by him, with both considering abolishing the tests for the city’s 4-year-olds in the near future.

Children take the test, a screening for admittance to elite academic programs, at such a young age, it is administered in one-on-one sessions with the teacher — and the tots can barely concentrate, according to Kletter, who spent two years as an administrator.

“I spent a lot of that time refocusing the child since kids at that age are easily distracted,” she writes, noting that kids would often begin discussing their family, dog, soccer or other off-subject topics. They could, “barely sit still,” she goes on. No surprise, really: Some of them had never even been in a school before.

“Sitting in an unfamiliar room with an adult they had never met, possibly having been told repeatedly how important this test was, many kids broke down in tears,” she writes. Much of the test administration time thus became about comforting the children by quietly chatting with them, so they’d be less scared, she says.

When filling in answer bubbles, the teacher does it for students, posing an ethical issue.

“It is assumed that kids this age who are applying for gifted schools cannot properly color in a bubble, so after asking each question, I then asked kids to point to what they thought was the right answer and I would fill in the bubble for them,” writes Kletter.

She was distressed by the fact that, should she ever want a student to fail or succeed, she could easily have changed their test score by filling out the bubbles correctly or incorrectly. “Neither scenario was ever true for me, of course, but even imagining them made me feel distressed that such an important test could have its results swayed so easily,” she writes.

She ends her essay by saying she doesn’t know what the correct way to screen children for “gifted programs” is — but she’s positive this is not it.

“Having been complicit in the city’s current strategy, I know it definitely needs to change,” she writes.

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza says the gifted and talented program is safe for this year. A community organizer has warned The Post that, should the programs be eliminated, it could spark an exodus from the city of Asian parents. The city teachers union has also come out opposing the proposal to cut the program.

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