Adams & Banks are putting lipstick on a pig: Separate gifted-and-talented classes are bad educational practice that drive segregation

Integration researchers and advocates like us have been recommending for years that all students in all classrooms deserve access to opportunities to challenge and stimulate their learning and creativity. Rather than telling kids that they’re in G&T or they’re out, the city should implement a gifted-for-all approach, shifting to a system focused on differentiation within mixed-ability classrooms, equipping teachers to provide high-quality instruction that includes project-based learning and challenge, and ensuring that there are entry points for all students.

https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-oped-adams-banks-gifted-talented-20220415-ld2fhxewrjaqrjiu4crc774ile-story.html

Constitutional Diversity in New York’s Specialized High Schools: The SHSAT, the Discovery Program, and the Fourteenth Amendment

Even if the SHSAT was an educational necessity, it would still violate disparate impact regulations if there was an alternative available that achieved the same objective with a less discriminatory impact. The NAACP LDF found that a multi-measured approach to admissions based on quantitative and qualitative portions of an application would be equal to or more effective than the SHSAT and would have a smaller discriminatory impact. While middle school grades could be a major component of an application, “teacher recommendations, proven leadership skills, a commitment to community service,” and demographic profiles could be used to assess a candidate’s academic and individual capabilities.

Brown’s Lost Promise: Segregation & Affirmative Action In New York City Specialized High Schools

New York City is one of the most diverse cities in the United States. However, its schools remain some of the most segregated. The crown jewel of the City’s public education system, Specialized High Schools, are among the nation’s top public institutions. But in a city where over 60 percent of children are Black or Latinx, less than 10 percent of the students admitted into these prestigious schools come from these communities. Due to a 1971 New York state law, admission into the Specialized High Schools is granted solely on the basis of a standardized exam, the Specialized High School Admissions Test, which students can opt to take during their eighth grade.

The Effects – Intended and Not – Of Ending the Specialized High School Test

Our findings also lead us to some larger conclusions about flaws inherent in New York City’s entire system of choice in public high school admissions. Because under this system, there is no simple, direct relationship between an individual applicant’s academic strengths and the caliber of the high school she or he ultimately attends. Myriad other factors intervene, including: exposure to and awareness of the application process and the range of high-quality school options available; quality of middle school counseling; ability or willingness to undertake long inter-borough commutes to school; and others. 

FAIRNESS TO GIFTED GIRLS: ADMISSIONS TO NEW YORK CITY’S ELITE PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOLS

A SHSAT research paper published in the Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering.

Jonathan Taylor
Hunter College Gender Equity Project

ABSTRACT

The use of test scores in school admissions has been a contentious issue for decades. In New York City’s elite public high schools, it has been particularly controversial because of disproportionate representation by ethnicity. Underrepresentation of girls has received less attention. This research compared the predictive validity and gender bias of the admissions criterion, the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT), with that of seventh grade GPA, a possible additional criterion.

SHSAT Assembly Testimony: Race, Gifted & Talented, and Tracking in NYC: Dr. Roda, et. al

Below are some excerpts from Dr. Roda’s paper on SHSAT, gifted and talented, and tracking in NYC.

In particular, our research-based recommendations, described below, call on the Chancellor and Mayor to phase out G&T programs and replace them with equitable and integrated desegregated schools and classroom settings with culturally responsive and sustaining curriculum. We also strongly recommend that the city eliminate test-based enrollment screens at the elementary, middle, and high schools across the city and replace them with a more holistic approach that includes diversity targets.

IBO: Do a Larger Share of Students Attending the City’s Specialized High Schools Live in Neighborhoods With Higher Median Incomes than Those Attending the City’s Other High Schools?

Students in the specialized high schools came from census tracts where the median household income averaged $62,457 compared with $46,392 for students in other high schools. (All dollar amounts are reported in 2012 dollars).

If we rank the census tracts by their median income and then divide the tracts into equal fifths (quintiles), we observe large differences between the share of students in specialized high schools and other high schools from each quintile.

https://a860-gpp.nyc.gov/concern/nyc_government_publications/tx31qk407

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).