My Feelings about the SHSAT & Specialized Schools

I don’t think the standard mathematics curriculum IN MIDDLE SCHOOL CLASSES will prepare a student to successfully get into one of the specialized schools without going to extra math classes (and ELA, probably, but I’m focusing more specifically on the math, because that’s my area of expertise). Now, when I consider the ways in which teachers are prepared to teach and focused on their curriculum development, I would say that most middle school teachers (unless they’re teaching an SHSAT prep course) have never done an in-depth analysis of the kinds of questions on there, and are not looking to embed those questions into their curriculum or deploy them as extension/challenge questions for students who finish early (even though there are actually some questions that could be tackled by kids as young as 6th grade! And I may steal some this year!). So there’s an opportunity gap here: knowing what the exam is and recognizing that you do actually need to prepare for it. The DOE’s website is misleading about it (bordering on lying, in my opinion): “The test measures knowledge and skills students have gained over the course of their education. Keeping up with schoolwork throughout the year is the best possible preparation.” I don’t disagree that you can’t do well on the SHSAT if you haven’t done these things, but I honestly don’t think that’s sufficient. And to tell the students that it is sufficient is to rob them of the preparation time.