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Thinking & Engagement Assessment
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the constraints that it will impose on the running of schools during the 2020-2021 academic year, a group of New York City Independent School Admission Directors enlisted the help of two experts in early childhood development – each with over forty years of experience in working with children as they learn, grow, and transition to Kindergarten. The Admission Directors asked that these two psychologists develop a virtual assessment to serve the needs and interests of Kindergarten applicants, their families, and schools. 

The goal was two-fold: to put minimal pressure on young children and families during this unprecedented time and to provide our Admission Committees with information about children when schools would not be able to meet and observe them in person. 

The Thinking & Engagement (T&E) Assessment is a stop-gap solution for the 2020-2021 admission season. This common assessment provides families with the ability to apply to multiple schools but forgo the burden of multiple virtual assessments. Instead, applicants to participating schools engage in one common assessment, the results of which are shared with schools to which the family has applied and that accept and/or require the T&E Assessment.

List of 7 frequently asked questions.

  • What does the T&E assess?

    The T&E is a non-standardized, non-normed, child-friendly set of activities designed specifically to be administered virtually to four- and five-year-olds applying to Kindergarten. The T&E taps expressive and receptive language, verbal and non-verbal reasoning skills, teachability, problem-solving skills, and developmental areas in which schools need information to determine fit between applicant and program.
  • How does my child take the T&E and who is assessing them?

    The T&E Assessment is administered using Zoom technology on a desktop or laptop computer, or on a tablet, in the child’s home. 

    During the assessment, the child should be sitting in a chair at a table and be wearing comfortable headphones to block out noise and to help focus on the materials (Amazon sells an assortment of reasonably-priced headphones). Laptops and tablets should be set up on a flat surface so the child’s hands are free. Please leave up to 45 minutes for the entirety of the assessment though it may take much less time. 

    Upon starting the T&E, the assessor guides the child through a variety of developmentally appropriate activities. The cohort of assessors are a diverse group of early childhood professionals who have been expertly trained to administer the T&E. During the T&E session, one adult (e.g., parent, guardian, caregiver, family member) is required to be present; 
    however, this person is expected to only provide technological support as needed. 

    The adult should wear headphones or earbuds and engage in a quiet activity once the assessment begins (e.g. reading a book or magazine; we ask that adults refrain from writing and using laptops, mobile phones, tablets, etc.). By wearing earbuds and staying busy, the adult is modeling what the child should be doing. Please note that the adult in the room should sit behind and to the side of the child so that the assessor may see that person during the entirety of the assessment.
  • Will I receive a report after my child has taken the T&E Assessment? 

    No. The results of your child’s assessment will only be sent to the participating schools and organizations to which you have requested that reports be forwarded. 
  • How much does the T&E Assessment cost and how do I sign up?

    The fee for the T&E Assessment is $250. If you are applying for financial assistance and have a total household income of less than $150,000, the fee will be waived. 

    The T&E Assessment Project is administered by a Coordinator and an Assistant Coordinator who will be available to answer questions and address any issues. Once you have submitted an application to any of the participating schools, you will receive a link to register your child for the T&E. Please remember that you only register your child once. Upon registration, you will receive instructions from the T&E staff regarding scheduling. 

    Appointments for the T&E may be scheduled from September 8 through December 18 and will be available seven days a week. We recommend 
    that you schedule your child’s assessment as early in the season as possible. 
     
  • What if I do not have access to a computer or a tablet?

    Upon registering for the T&E, please contact the Project Coordinator to discuss this issue.
  • How do I help my child prepare for the T&E Assessment?

    To help your child prepare for the T&E Assessment, have your child practice wearing headphones while talking to an adult via FaceTime, Zoom, Google Meet, or any other virtual platform. A few days before the scheduled assessment, we recommend that parents/guardians explain to their children that they will meet with a teacher online who will invite them to do some fun and interesting activities.
  • Is there anything else I should know about the T&E Assessment?

    As part of the registration process for the T&E, parents/guardians are required to sign a consent and release form that requires them and any other supervising adult to refrain from recording the session, helping the child answer questions, and sharing content they may observe. 

Participating Schools

The Allen-Stevenson School
The Berkeley Carroll School
The Birch Wathen Lenox School
The Brearley School
The Browning School
The Buckley School
The Calhoun School
The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine
The Chapin School
Collegiate School
Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School
Convent of the Sacred Heart
The Dalton School
Early Steps (Partnering Organization) 
The Elisabeth Morrow School
The IDEAL School of Manhattan
Marymount School of New York
The Nightingale-Bamford School
Rodeph Sholom School
The Packer Collegiate Institute
Saint Ann’s School
The Spence School
Speyer School
St. Luke’s School
St. Bernard’s School
St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s School
Trevor Day School
Trinity School