New York City Council Header
File #: Res 0078-2018    Version: * Name: Specialized High School Test Preparation
Type: Resolution Status: Committee
Committee: Committee on Education
On agenda: 1/31/2018
Enactment date: Law number:
Title: Resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to pass legislation requiring the Education Department/Board of Education in cities of one million people or more, where there is a Specialized High School Admission test policy requiring the taking of a ranked order test, to have a test preparation program available for all middle school students whose math and reading scores are level 4.
Sponsors: Alan N. Maisel
Council Member Sponsors: 1
Attachments: 1. January 31, 2018 - Stated Meeting Agenda

Res. No. 78

 

Resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to pass legislation requiring the Education Department/Board of Education in cities of one million people or more, where there is a Specialized High School Admission test policy requiring the taking of a ranked order test, to have a test preparation program available for all middle school students whose math and reading scores are level 4.

 

By Council Member Maisel

Whereas, There are currently nine Specialized High Schools in New York City that serve the needs of academically and artistically gifted students; and

Whereas, These schools are Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, Stuyvesant High School, The Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn Technical High School, The Brooklyn Latin School, High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering at the City College, High School of American Studies at Lehman College, Queens High School for the Sciences at York College and Staten Island Technical High School; and

Whereas, For eight of these schools, admission is based solely on the score attained on the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT), while for Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (LaGuardia), acceptance is based on an audition and a review of a student's academic records; and

Whereas, A 1971 State law, known as the Hecht-Calandra Act, makes the SHSAT exam the only measure that can be used to admit students to Stuyvesant High School, the Bronx High School of Science and Brooklyn Technical High School; and

Whereas, According to the Department of Education (DOE), all 8th graders and first-time 9th graders who are New York City residents are eligible to take the SHSAT; and

Whereas, The results of the SHSAT are ordered from the highest score to the lowest score, with students offered admission to schools based on their score’s rank order as well as their stated school preference; and

Whereas, Approximately 27,000 students took the SHSAT for September 2016 admission; and

Whereas, Of those students who took the SHSAT for September 2016 admission, just over 5,100 or approximately 19%, were offered admission to one of the Specialized High Schools; and

Whereas, Students who participate in a test preparation program for the SHSAT have a definite advantage over students who do not participate in such programs, especially since some SHSAT content is not found in the regular K-12 curriculum; and

Whereas, Private test preparation programs for the SHSAT can be costly; for example, on December 14, 2017 Kaplan, one of the leading private test preparation companies, advertised various SHSAT preparation programs from $999 for an 8 session prep course to $5,699 for 36 hours of tutoring in person; and

Whereas, In 2012, the DOE created the DREAM - Specialized High School Institute (SHSI), a 22-month extracurricular tutoring program designed to help eligible economically disadvantaged students prepare for the SHSAT; and

Whereas, To be eligible for the DREAM-SHSI program, a student must meet income requirements based on federal guidelines, and have scored a minimum of 3.0 on the 2017 NY State grade five English Language Arts (ELA) and Math exams; and

Whereas, Eligible students who submit an application are randomly selected for participation in the DREAM program and those not selected are placed on a waitlist; and

Whereas, According to DOE, in the 2017 admissions cycle, students who participated in DREAM programs comprised just 6% of the Black and Hispanic students who took the SHSAT  in 2016, but made up 26% of the Black and Hispanic students who received offers to specialized high schools; and

Whereas, However, despite DOE’s efforts to expand the DREAM program, the number of seats available is much smaller than the number of students who qualify; and

Whereas, All middle school students who score at level 4, the highest achievable level, on the New York State ELA and math exams, should have an equal opportunity to receive tutoring and preparation for the SHSAT; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York calls upon the New York State Legislature to pass legislation requiring the Education Department/Board of Education in cities of one million people or more, where there is a Specialized High School Admission test policy requiring the taking of a ranked order test, to have a test preparation program available for all middle school students whose math and reading scores are level 4.

 

LS# 3704/ Res 618-2015

LS# 432

JA

12/14/17