Nothing, except maybe college admissions, seems to get New York parents panties into a twist like the city's specialized high schools. Parent have, since the inception of "the Test," been complaining about how unfair it is that admission into the city's math and science schools is decided completely by a test that is taken only once in eighth grade. They complain that at the Boston Latin School admissions takes grades into account and that at the Thomas Jefferson High School in Virginia, a sibling school to Stuy, they not only use test scores but also grades, essays and teacher recommendations.
And so today the Times throws fuel into the fire by pointing out a fun quirk in the weighting of scores in the test. Seems a student who gets a perfect or a near perfect on either the verbal or math side of the test barely needs to touch the other part of the test to get into the top schools. In other words:
Last year, for instance, a student with a 99 percentile score in math and 49 percentile in verbal would have been admitted to Stuyvesant High School - the most coveted specialized school - but a student with a 97 in math and 92 in verbal would not.
Ok. But does this quirk, which kind of explains the kids we knew at Stuy who could barely speak English and the kids who took Speaker Building instead of calculus, ever get used in a such an extreme sense? Not very often is our guess. "Last year one-fifth of 1 percent of the more then 25,000 eighth graders who took the test last year scored perfectly on one part." Of those only one student scored below the 60th percentile in the the other part of the test. There's a nice graphic explaining the quirk here.
Which is a long way of saying, if it were up to us we would be hard pressed to change the basics of "the Test." But that's us, what about you?