Now that I mention it, I don’t think I was all that good at the test questions at the beginning. But my mother, a math teacher, had a blue shoulder bag of “manipulables”: toys, essentially, that she used to explain concepts in geometry and probability. The blue bag was always in the foyer, as if she might need it at the last minute while escaping a fire or running late for work.
My father, who taught English, discussed the books I was reading, even (despite his love of realism) the Star Wars spin-offs.
Fox news interviews students and other stakeholders about the SHSAT
“It’s not the right way to evaluate a student’s merit,” said Muhammad Deen, no other college uses one single test.
Deen says he came just below the cutoff to get into Brooklyn tech and instead ended up attending a charter school. He and Morales support the Mayor’s proposal to eliminate the SHSAT and instead admit students to the elite schools based on GPA and state test scores.
“It is more of a way of looking at the student as a whole, rather than this one simple test score that didn’t really showcase what a good student is,” Deen said.
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.
My family wasn’t well off financially. Often times, we struggled and there was constant worry over whether we had food in the fridge or we had school supplies. I wasn’t expecting to enroll in a Kaplan or a Princeton Review course like my fellow affluent classmates. Nevertheless, I persisted. I sought out a free program that’s funded by the Department of Education called DREAM. Upon hearing the name of the program, I knew this was my chance to really meet my goal.
A NYTimes overview of the test and experiences in 1998.
The Stuyvesant test is officially called the ”Examination for the Specialized Science High Schools” — Stuyvesant, the Bronx High School of Science and Brooklyn Technical High School. The same test is given for admission to all three, and students simply list their first, second and third choice. Since a majority of students list Stuyvesant first — 11,397 out of 18,524 eighth graders who took the most recent test — the cutoff for admission to Stuyvesant is higher.