Revisions to NYC’s admissions test for its nine specialized high schools are said to strengthen the SHSAT’s alignment to state learning standards in English Language Arts.
Admission to New York City’s nine elite specialized high schools (including LaGuardia High School, which the article misses) is intensely competitive for the thousands of the city’s eighth and ninth graders sitting for the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT).
Last February, Clark brought tutors’ attention to major changes to the SHSAT for the Fall 2017 exam. Those major changes are still relevant for this year’s exam and include:
- An increase in test time to 180 minutes (except for those students with an IEP or 504 plan, who are given up to 360 minutes).
- Multiple choice questions with four choices for answers.
- The Math and English Language Arts (formerly Verbal) sections each comprising 57 questions, with 10 field test questions in each section not being scored.
- Scaled scores, meaning the student’s final result is based on the number of correctly answered questions for each section.
- Students are now ranked according to their test scores and assigned to a specialized high school depending on the following factors: their ranking, the priority in which they ranked their school choices, and the number of seats available at the schools.
For NYC students looking to attend a specialized high school in Fall 2019, the NYC Department of Education has announced that the English Language Arts (ELA) section is the only section being altered for Fall 2018’s exams, with a shift in the distribution of questions being asked.
Here are the revisions to the 2018 SHSAT ELA section:
- There will be 9 – 11 Revising/Editing questions, down from 20.
- There will be 46 – 48 Reading Comprehension questions, up from 37.
- Unlike previous years’ SHSAT exams, where the Reading Comprehension texts were all informational texts, the 2018 revised SHSAT will include the following types of material, with each text having 6 – 10 associated questions:
- 3 – 4 informational texts, some accompanied by visual or quantitative graphics, relating to material that students should have been exposed to in middle school, such as exposition, arguments, and functional texts;
- 1 – 2 literary prose texts, such as adventure stories, historical fiction, and myths, which students should be familiarized with in middle school;
- 1 poem.
Example questions from the revised English Language Arts section, and more information generally about the SHSAT, are available in the 2017-2018 Specialized High Schools Student Handbook.
For more about NYC’s specialized high schools and Fall 2018’s test dates, visit the NYC DOE website.
banner image from https://nypost.com/2016/09/17/the-fine-nine-the-citys-elite-high-schools/