Old Donation Center is Virginia Beach’s only full-time elementary gifted program. Qualified students can attend Old Donation beginning in second grade, and they will transition to Kemps Landing Magnet School for grades 6-8.
Although students at Old Donation Virginia Beach study the same skills and standards as other Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) students, the curriculum is designed to elevate and extend learning. It is also built around proven methods and resources for challenging and developing gifted minds.
If this opportunity sounds ideal for your gifted learner, read on to learn about how to qualify for admission.
Old Donation Center Virginia Beach | Gifted Student Identification
In order to apply to Old Donation, your student must have been previously identified as gifted by VBCPS. Students are identified via gifted testing. This process is ongoing, with trained resource teachers observing students for gifted tendencies. If a student appears to be gifted, teachers can refer the student for testing. Although referral is a possibility, students and parents can also request to have students tested an unlimited number of times. Students will be tested using the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT).
In first grade, during the months of January and February, all VBCPS students are screened for gifted identification using the NNAT. Those who score in the 90th percentile and receive parent permission for further testing will be assessed using the Otis Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT) in March and April. In May, a gifted identification and placement committee reviews high scoring candidates for placement into gifted programs.
Old Donation Center Virginia Beach Admission Tests
If you’re hoping to have your child qualify for gifted placement, you’ll want to read up on the NNAT and the OLSAT.
Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT)
The NNAT is designed for students ages 5 to 17, asks 48 questions, and takes only 30 minutes to complete. It assesses problem-solving and reasoning abilities using figures, shapes, symbols, and patterns. Questions are multiple choice and provide five possible answer choices.
Your first grader will take the NNAT Level B test, which includes 48 questions covering pattern completion, reasoning by analogy, and serial reasoning.
The NNAT is considered to be an especially unbiased exam. Regardless of a student’s primary language, socioeconomic status, color vision impairment, or educational history, the NNAT should fairly and accurately measure the child’s intelligence. To avoid issues with color vision, all objects on the test appear in yellow and blue. Very minimal use of language and written directions is required for the NNAT, and speaking is not necessary.
If you’d like to learn more, we have in-depth information on the NNAT, including sample questions.
Otis Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT)
The OLSAT tests critical thinking skills in five areas: verbal comprehension, verbal reasoning, pictorial reasoning, figural reasoning, and quantitative reasoning. The test equally measures verbal and nonverbal abilities.
The content, structure, and time limit of the test varies according to grade level, but it can be administered to ages pre-K through 18, with the total test time ranging from 50 minutes to 77 minutes. As some children in 1st grade are not fluent readers, the OLSAT questions are read aloud, but they can be read aloud only once. It is therefore important to practice listening and concentration with younger students who will be taking the OLSAT.
Your first-grader will take the OLSAT Level B and encounter 60 questions, covering the following question types:
To learn more about the OLSAT, and which level of test your 2nd-7th grader will be taking, check out our in-depth article on the test.
How to Apply to Old Donation Center Virginia Beach
Once your child has been designated as gifted by VBCPS, you may then apply for admission to Old Donation. You can submit an online application through the school division’s Gifted Management Application System using your child’s student ID number and login credentials.
For first grade students, applications are generally available beginning in December and are due in March. For 2nd-7th grades, applications go live in October and are due in February.
Test scores do not provide a complete picture of the student, so the application process is designed to ensure that admitted students have potential for exceptional academic performance, in addition to needs that cannot be met through a general public school curriculum.
Additional factors considered include academic achievement, feedback from teachers, and a parent checklist of behaviors.
How to Prepare | Entrance Exams for Old Donation Center
Now that you know all about admission to Old Donation Virginia Beach, how can you give your child the best possible chance of acceptance?
Although you shouldn’t cause your child to feel anxious or stressed about school, you should talk to him about the importance of good grades and good behavior, as these factors will be considered when you apply for admission. Also be sure to keep track of important deadlines in regards to testing and filling out the application.
You can also begin preparing for the gifted test(s) using several strategies. Encourage your child to read for a certain amount of pages or minutes each day to improve vocabulary and build understanding of sentence structure and word relationships. Have your child complete puzzles and logic problems to sharpen his thinking skills. Work on general skills like mathematics, shapes, and vocabulary using general ability workbooks.
Most importantly, begin practicing the question types your child will see on the test. For most students, these questions will be like nothing they have worked on in school. It is important to build confidence and familiarity with test items through consistent, effective, and positive practice sessions. Be sure to not only practice the questions, but also discuss why wrong answers were incorrect and how the correct answer can be reached. One of the key ways to prepare for the tests is to have your child work with practice questions that are similar to those on the tests. If you would like to access 25 free questions based on the tests used for admissions to Old Donation, please click the button below.
Avoid overemphasizing the test and causing your child to feel test anxiety. Express your pride and confidence in your child’s abilities, and remind him that you will be proud regardless of the outcome.
If you follow these tips, your child will have a solid chance of being accepted into the gifted program at Old Donation Center Virginia Beach! What’s Next? Learn more about Virginia Beach’s Gifted Programs.