The fact that the test changes so frequently with no impact on the quality of graduates from the specialized high schools also argues against the utility of the exam as a necessary factor in that success.
Great news for SHSAT reform advocates:
With support from white, black and Hispanic voters, 57 percent of all New York City voters say other factors should be considered in deciding admission to elite public high schools, while 36 percent say keep the present system which relies on a single test to decide admission.
Support for the “other factors” option is 50 – 43 percent among white voters, 63 – 29 percent among black voters and 73 – 23 percent among Hispanic voters.
Lawmakers considering Mr. de Blasio’s proposal have faced a backlash from the specialized schools’ alumni organizations and from Asian-American groups who believe discarding the test would water down the schools’ rigorous academics and discriminate against the mostly low-income Asian students who make up the majority of the schools’ student bodies. (At Stuyvesant, 74 percent of current students are Asian-American.) The push to get rid of the test, which requires approval from the State Legislature, appears all but dead.
Case 1:18-cv-11657-ER Document 50 Filed 01/17/19
Some interesting sections from the full declaration.
Deputy Chancellor for Early Childhood Education and Student Enrollment in the New York City Department of Education (“DOE”). As such, the DOE Office of Student Enrollment, which among other things is responsible for enrollment in the Specialized High Schools, reports to me
The Chancellor, the decision-making group, and I were in no way motivated by a desire to harm Asian-American students or to limit the enrollment of Asian American students in the eight Specialized High Schools.
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.
Non-SHSAT article that discusses the intersection of culture and single-measure testing.
Related to the Harvard case, test scores for all students should be considered with a grain of salt. Yes, high scores are impressive, but they should be understood in the context of opportunity. It’s also important to note that strong scores are the norm in Harvard’s applicant pool.
Given that test scores are limited in their ability to predict future achievement, and are heavily shaped by race and social class, colleges should consider the value of SAT-optional or even doing away with the test.
Vito LaBella, president of the Christa McAuliffe Parent Teacher Organization, said that if parents decide to forge ahead, the federal suit would challenge this set-aside plan. “It’s discriminatory,” he said. “I do believe our children would no longer be allowed to partake in Discovery.”
Currently the small Discovery program is available to disadvantaged applicants citywide. The mayor says he can make this change because the 1971 law on admissions at these high schools allows for a Discovery program of some sort.
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. 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.
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.
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.