First, that requires defining merit. Only New York City defines it as the score on a single test — other cities’ selective high schools use multiple measures, as do top colleges. There are certainly other potential criteria, such as artistic achievement or citizenship.
However, when merit is defined as achievement in school, the question of whether the test is meritocratic is an empirical question that can be answered with data.
Another overview. Adds a DoE spokesperson quote.
According to New York City Department of Education spokesman Will Mantell, the citywide average GPA of students in the top 7 percent of their classes is 94 out of 100, the same average GPA of students offered a spot at the elite high schools. Additionally, he said their state test scores are comparable, an average of 3.9 out of 4.5 for the top 7 percent versus 4.1 for those admitted to the specialized high schools.
City data detailing offers by sending schools for 2016 to 2017.
OUTSIDE, there is a burned‐out tenement, a symbol of a devastated inner‐city neighborhood. Inside, a teacher is working on algebra problems with a class of gifted children, preparing them for entrance to specialized high schools.
Of the 16,800 pupils in District 7, 400 are in special progress classes. The district is about 68 percent Hispanic, 31 percent black and 1 percent “other,” meaning white and Oriental.
Madeline Golia, the coordinator of the district’s program for gifted and talented pups, said that admission to the special progress classes is based on several “flexible” standards.