AERA Position Statement on High-Stakes Testing

The American Educational Research Association is the foremost and most respected national educational research society. Below is their opinions on using high-stakes testing in admissions.

This position statement on high-stakes testing is based on the 1999 Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing. The Standards represent a professional consensus concerning sound and appropriate test use in education and psychology. They are sponsored and endorsed by the AERA together with the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME).

NYC selective high school admissions uproar a symptom of a much bigger problem

Multiple studies have found no difference in college enrollment, college quality or graduation rates of kids who just barely met the test score cutoff for selective public schools like Stuyvesant and those who just barely missed the mark and then attended more ordinary public high schools, Valant said.


Valant would like to see selective schools drop their test-in requirements and instead award admission to a set number of top-performing students from every district or system middle school. The resulting classes would be more diverse and formed with anobjective, open access measure of long-term performance.

Admissions Overhaul: Simulating the Outcome Under the Mayor’s Plan For Admissions to the City’s Specialized High Schools

Demographic Changes. IBO compared the demographic composition of the specialized high schools under each of the three scenarios with the actual demographic composition of the ninth grade class in specialized high schools in 2017-2018.14 We found that:
More black and Hispanic students would get offers. Under the top 7 percent scenario, the share of black students receiving offers would increase by five times and the share of Hispanic students receiving offers would increase by more than four times compared with the share of those groups that actually attended a specialized high school in 2017-2018.

The problem with high-stakes testing and women in STEM


Overall, the correlation was a loose one. Test scores predicted only 20 percent of the variation in students’ GPAs.  In other words, students with the same test high scores had wildly different GPAs at school the following year. At first glance, the test doesn’t seem very good at discerning A students from B students. Seventh-grade GPAs were twice as likely to predict ninth-grade achievement than test scores.


“People say the SHSAT is objective and that grades are unreliable,” Taylor said. “Schools and teachers have different subjective grading standards and grades are all over the place.

Overemphasizing a Test, Oversimplifying Our Children: An APA Perspective on Specialized High School Reform towards Educational Equity

The SHSAT is misperceived as an objective, and “colorblind” tool to measure merit. However, an expansive body of research reveals that school screening policies that do not consider race or socioeconomic status do not reduce, but rather contribute to further “stratification by race and ethnicity across schools and programs.”

[…]

In the field of testing, known as psychometrics, a single measure like the SHSAT violates the universally accepted norm and consensus in favor of multiple measures.[19] Having a single-test as the admission policy in no means takes into account the wide range of diverse experiences of all students and their families in New York City.

Highly skilled black, Latino students face admission barriers to exam schools, study finds

Black and Latino students who do as well as their white and Asian peers on the MCAS exam nonetheless have a much lower chance of being admitted to Boston Latin School and the city’s two other exam schools, according to a Harvard report being released Tuesday.

Their path is hindered by a separate test — designed for private institutions — that students applying to the city’s top-flight exam schools must take. Black and Latino students do notably worse on that exam and also take it at lower rates.

Assessing the Assessment: SHSAT

Don’t assume that because your student does well in school that they will do well on any other test or in any other setting. Kids who do the best on the test are those who go into confident and prepared. Don’t make assumptions your kid will do well. If you’re thinking of a Specialized High School start looking into the test and preparation in 6th grade. Explore the DREAM – SHSI program run by the DOE or at very least have your child take a practice test to see how they would do on the SHSAT so that you have plenty of time to prepare if you need to.

Pathways to an Elite Education Exploring Strategies to Diversify NYC’s Specialized High Schools (2015)

This brief examines students’ pathways from middle school to matriculation at a specialized high school, and simulates the effects of various admissions criteria that have been proposed as alternatives to the current policy. Analyzing data from 2005 to 2013, we found that while the SHSAT is (by design) the most important factor determining who attends the specialized high schools, it is not the only factor. Many students—including many high-achieving students—do not take the SHSAT at all, and some of those offered admission decide to go to high school elsewhere.