26 thoughts on “What Role do Middle Schools Play in Deciding Who Gets Into NYC’s Elite High Schools?

  1. Just another way to destroy the Specialized High Schools. The top 7% at a middle a school at the bottom of the list would be in the bottom 7% of schools at the top of the list. The deBlasio plan would reward mediocrity and fill the specialized High Schools with students unable to handle the coursework.

  2. I notice that some sentences are misleading . Gifted and talented program, for example, “Allison Roda, ……. “These policies are perfectly designed to favor certain families over other ones. … All of this just restricts opportunities for students who are low income, who are black and Latino, who are English language learners”” his words are completely absurd!

    My son came back from China in November when he was 3 years old. He knew nothing about English. My family have to work and I am English learner myself and can’t teach him anything, and we sent him to day-care. Several months later, he took Gifted and talented test and got extremely high score!

    I heard too much noise when people blames low performance on tests to poverty, family etc. The defining factor is whether the kids are smart and hard-working or not.

    Let’s be honest, each kid is unique and talented in his/her way. you can see it within a family (smart kid/non-smart kid), school (not all of students have same score in the same classroom). Not all of basketball players do well from the same coach/team. We need to admit that some are gifted in academia, while some are gifted in sports.

    • Hopefully those weren’t dog whistles I was hearing in the above comment. The only sports comparison that applies here is some countries put more money and support into their Olympic teams than other countries, and it shows in the Olympic trials. Anderson is the East European gold medal hockey team and a school not on the list in the article is a South Pacific hockey team. Potential unrealized.

    • Oh so suddenly you’re an educator equipped to decide what factors might affect test scores? That’s interesting because I am studying education and I went to Stuyvesant from a school that now only has 5% of the students who took the test being admitted. Keep your bias to yourself when you are unqualified to speak about the experiences of others.

  3. A large part of the problem is there are quite a few gifted and talented children in every school who never get enriched and accelerated learning because there are way more students who score above the 90th percentile than there are seats for them. Those students then must go through elementary school unchallenged, risking boredom and complacency. Instead of having very limited G & T seats at a few select schools (many of which may be highly inconvenient transportation-wise), every school should have accelerated learners programs.

    The second problem is that SHSHAT test. Not even Ivy League colleges and universities in U.S. base admissions off of one single test. That way is too prone to rule in only those kids who are highly practiced test-takers in high stress environments, who very likely were sent to tutoring for four hours every Saturday specifically for the test and it disregards all of the other elements that make a well-rounded, academically excellent student.

    The other big issue is that there is this concept of elite high schools at all in the public school system. As a person who grew up and went to school on Long Island, this is a completely foreign concept to me, and an attitude which is reserved for private schools. In a public school system, all the public schools should have the same and equal process of admittance, and those who excel should be placed in classes within those schools that will challenge them.

    On the other hand, Carranza’s plan to have a quota system (because that’s exactly what it is) sends a message that if you don’t have a shot at getting in by being the best, one can get in by being the worst. That’s counter-intuitive and counter productive.

    Improve all the schools and you have a hand in improving all of the students. Nurture only some of the schools and leave the others to rot, and you nurture only a select few of the students, and leave the other students to rot.

    • No, the only middle schools not listed here are those where, as explained in the caption to the chart, fewer than six students took or passed the SHSAT. Since no conclusions can be drawn about those schools’ performance, they are not listed. But among the other schools, clear differences are discernible.

      • Jarret, do you know the aggregate acceptance rate for all the middle schools with fewer than six test takers? That might shed some light on Faye’s concern.

        • Good idea Tom. I can give you a ballpark based on the assumption that most of the test-takers and offer-receivers went to NYC public schools. Of course, that’s not actually true, but it will give you a sense of it.

          Overall, 28333 students took the SHSAT and 5067 received an offer — a rate of 18 percent.

          The schools where the DOE reveals the number of offer-receivers encompassed 14871 takers and 4011 offers, a 27 percent rate.

          By subtraction that means the remaining middle schools encompassed 13462 takers and 1056 offer-receivers. That’s a rate of just shy of 8 percent.

    • WHY DO I SEE Primary Schools on THE LIST. PS102
      Kids go from middle school to high school, not from primary school.??

  4. Isn’t one possibility to create more spots? Why not create a “new Stuyvesant” or “new Bronx Science” in Queens, for example, that has broader or more flexible criteria for admission but provides the same level of education. Let Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech keep their system and allow the new Queens based school follow something like the proposed De Blasio plan. It would start out seeming like a “safety” or second or third choice, but over time, if the results are good, that school will garner the same prestige. And indeed, given the criteriae for admission at the Ivies and New Ivies, such a school would be a magnet for those admission recruiters.

  5. The chart is missing information. It does not say how many took and made the minimum cutoff that makes a student eligible for an application to be considered for an offer. The rate of offers should be the number of offers divided by number actually applied, not the number who took the test. Taking the test does not guarantee a passing grade. This misleading indicator of rate of offer does not convince me to want to support the proposed change.

    • My question here is – Are the offers limited by the capacity total of the schools? I do agree that the statistics should show how many students attained the cut-off mark for eligibility.

      • Yes, it is limited by the number of seats. And to that effect there is no predetermined cut off before the test, as the cut off is determined by the actual live test scores and students are ranked on that and then selections made top down through that list.

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  8. This article is very misleading. My kid scored a 99 on the GT test, and all the prep we did was bought a $15 booklet on amazon and did 1/2 of a practice test. I know lots of kids in the GT elementary program and not a single one of them did more than one or 2 practice test out of a cheap booklet that are readily available online, in bookstore and libraries.

    The idea that these kids only did well because it only kids of rich “tiger parents” sending four year olds to test prep courses that cost thousands of dollars is absurd, and quite frankly offensive. I believe that all children should be entitled to a good education, but denying that some children might need a different sort of education is really bad practice. I wish this author would open their mind a little bit, move past their incredibly false preconceived notions and realize that often GT kids DO actually need a different sort of education in order to succeed and thrive. It should be umbrella-ed under special education services, since these kids do have special needs and should have a right to a “free and appropriate education, in the least restrictive environment.”

  9. How many of these test takers are IEP (some from gifted and talented schools) that get extra time on the test. Time is a huge variable impacting result. How do you draw a cutoff for who actually needs extra time versus those that are essentially gaming the system? or somewhere on the continuum of IEP…

    • SHSAT takers with IEPs get double time to take the test.

      There is some wiggle room the game the system, but being very familiar with the SHSAT I don’t see an IEP as a good general strategy in order to do so, if that’s what you mean. If I’ve misunderstood, please elaborate.

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