Parent Resource

Is Prepping Unethical?

Our colleagues in New York have made some great connections. One group, Bright Kids, is a comprehensive tutoring firm.

Based on this and any personal knowledge, how do you think the admission process in DC compares to NYC? Leave a comment below.

by Taylor Kelly, Bright Kids, Inc.

Over the years, I have encountered many parents who ask if prepping their child for an admissions exam is unethical. The short answer is no. Let me tell you a secret. Kindergarten admissions exams in New York City are simply a way to assess a student’s current level of exposure to relevant content. School admissions often require that students are assessed with no prepping, arguing that this is the only way to truly gauge a student’s natural ability. However, for students of this age, who are constantly learning and developing, an assessment of a child’s intelligence is unreliable at best.

By “prepping” your child, Bright Kids simply exposes your student to the kind of content to help them feel comfortable on their test day. We make sure students are confident going into a room with a stranger, staying focused for increments of time (building stamina),  and understanding how to answer questions the way they are presented. I am sure many of you have studied for exams before just to make sure you are comfortable with the format.

Studies show that IQ testing is invalid at young ages. A person’s IQ doesn’t stabilize until many years later. In an excerpt from Oxford Learning, the author expresses why testing a young child’s IQ is unreliable:

In an ideal world, we would be able to measure a child’s intelligence clearly and without variables; however, just as a child’s body changes drastically over time, so too can their intelligence level. Research has shown it is common for a child’s IQ score to fluctuate while they are still developing, making it difficult to determine how accurate their identified score actually is.

Additionally, factors like distractions, anxiety, and stress are not taken into account in this scoring system and could drastically affect a child’s performance on any given day. Even more outside of the child’s control, potential administrative errors can also sway what category a child is placed under.

Whether it is the NYC Gifted and Talented exam, The ERB’s ECAA, Hunter College Elementary School’s modified Stanford-Binet, or any other exam, by no means will we ever be able to raise a child’s score dozens of percentile points. What we can do is be able to provide the testers with an accurate snapshot of your child’s current ability level, which is able to shine through being prepared, confident and ready to take on the challenge. Additionally, Bright Kids will never expose a child to actual test content (that would be unethical), but questions of similar difficulty level and skill requirements.

The question you have to ask yourself is, what can you do to help your student bring out the best in themselves? By doing so, it opens them up to a world of opportunities. This is New York City, after all.