Picture this: You’ve worked hard all of your life. You have the grades and academic awards to prove it. You are recognized as one of the best students in your peer group. And you have the chance to apply for an educational opportunity that could change your life. But getting this opportunity requires that you take a test. No other factors matter.
Yet it turns out that this test has never been shown to actually measure whether you are qualified for that big opportunity, and it certainly doesn’t take into account all the work you have done.
In fact, it seems that the test does not predict anything — aside, that is, from who can do well on the test. Now imagine that you miss out on that opportunity despite all your hard work only because you did not get a high enough score.
That’s the sad reality for too many New York City middle school students who take the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test each year in hopes of securing a coveted slot in elite high schools such as Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech.