New York Preschoolers Are Eight Times Smarter Than Other Kids (or Eight Times Better at Taking Tests)

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July 28 2010 12:03 PM

New York Preschoolers Are Eight Times Smarter Than Other Kids (or Eight Times Better at Taking Tests)

One thousand pre-kindergarten students in New York scored in the 99th percentile in tests to qualify for gifted and talented kindergarten. Overall, 12,400 children took the tests, meaning that 8 percent of the New York children got scores saying they were in the top one percent.

That is mathematically possible because the scoring scale is national, covering parts of the country where nobody spends money on test prep classes for four-year-olds. Essentially, even within New York, what the tests measure is how rich young children are, or how crazed their parents are:

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There were only a handful of 99th-percentile scores in some of the city’s poorest districts, like District 4, which includes East Harlem, and Districts 9 and 12 in the South Bronx.

Maybe when the children get older, they can teach their parents about game theory: the testing is supposed to get them into top kindergartens, but there are only 300 gifted and talented slots. So thanks to all the money spent training children to beat the tests, there are now 700 students with top scores who will get sent to regular kindergarten with the proles. And inadequate kindergarten, the Times tells us elsewhere today, may ruin them for life .

Have fun at the cut-priced nursing home, richies! Not that your kids , emotionally scarred from a childhood of test prep, will bother visiting you.

Tom Scocca is the managing editor of Deadspin and the author of Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future.