Four thousand incoming kindergartners qualified for the city's gifted and talented programs this year, the Department of Education reported today, with many more students tested this year than last.

Some 14,040 four-year-olds were tested in 2011 as compared to 12,443 last year. After a steady increase over the past several years, the percentage of eligible students remained static this year with 28 percent of the test-takers qualifying.  Eighteen percent of test-takers qualified in 2007-08 (the year that the DOE standardized testingacross the city), 22 percent qualified  in 2008-09, and 28 percent were eligible in 201o and this year.

Of the 4,000 eligible kindergartners, 45 percent (1,803 students) tested high enough to be eligible for one of the more selective citywide programs. That is lower than last year when a whopping 50 percent of the qualifiers were eligible for just 300 citywide seats. (No sign yet that the DOE will increase the number of citywide seats, although they have said they are looking for new assessment tools for next year's crop of test-takers.)

All incoming kindergartners and 1st graders who score at or above the 90th percentile on the assessments are guaranteed a seat in a district program, providing they list all available options on their applications, according to the G&T Handbook. Those scoring between the 97th percentile and 99th percentile are eligible for five citywide programs, but in reality most of those seats go to the students who score at the 99 percentile: there were 1,000 of them last year.

Kindergarten is the main entry point for G&T programs but the same assessments -- the OLSAT and BRSA -- are also offered to interested incoming 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-graders.  This year more than 25,000 children in those grades were tested, a similar number as last year, with 3,906 qualifying for either district or citywide programs. That's compared to 4,043 who qualified in 2010 for a scattering of seats -- the DOE has not said how many.

Still to come: a breakdown of how many children qualified in each district, where new programs are opening and where existing programs will not be accepting new classes of kindergartners. The DOE said these numbers will be coming in the next two weeks.

If fewer than 10 students qualify in any district, there will be no new gifted kindergarten class. Children in those districts who qualify may attend a gifted program in a neighboring district. The DOE's 2010-2011 list of programs shows there were no G&T kindergarten classes in districts 7, 9, 12 in the Bronx, districts 23 and 32 in Brooklyn, or District 27 in Queens. The programs may change from year to year depending on the number of eligible students, the interest in programs, and the capacity of the schools to house them. As a result, several very popular neighborhood schools no longer host G&T programs, while traditionally under-enrolled schools now offer them.

Parents have between now and May 10, when applications are due, to consider their options. Note that many -- but not all -- of the schools offering G&T programs invite parents to come in for a tour or an open house. Your best bet is to check the school's website (linked on our school profile pages) or call the parent coordinator to find out.

And, we'll continue to post updates as we get them.

See the DOE's breakdown of the numbers after the jump.<!--more-->