Student argument against the SHSAT
Defenders of the current system, hailing the test as establishing a level playing field, argue that if more black and Latino students truly wanted to attend specialized high schools, they could just study harder. I have repeatedly heard my classmates champion this mindset, implying that black and Latino students are not as hardworking, and, even more disturbingly, not as smart as their Asian counterparts.
The SHSAT, however, does not measure work ethic or intelligence, but a student’s ability to answer over 100 tedious multiple choice questions in under three hours. It tests for access to tutors and cram schools that teach students the skills they need to answer the questions without thinking.
I flunked my first practice tests. After a prep class and some tutoring sessions, however, I knew all the tricks. If I hadn’t had access to that class, I likely would not have gotten into Stuy.