Each spring, we await high school “decision day” with a mixture of excitement and nervousness. The test changes frequently, and cutoff scores vary from year to year, so there is always a sense of uncertainty. Put simply, it’s judgement day.
The SHSAT presents a special conundrum for a tutoring company. Unlike most standardized tests, the SHSAT doesn’t reward incremental improvements with incrementally better outcomes. For students who want to go to Brooklyn Tech, there is no difference between scoring a 500 or a 600. Either way, they get in.
On the other hand, there are students who we got to know well who improve drastically, but still didn’t quite make the cutoff. For these kids, months of hard work and dedication can feel like a wasted effort. We feel that too!
Now that the results are in, it’s time for us to reflect on our performance.
Let’s take a preliminary look at the numbers…
For the 2018-2019 test year, we provided private SHSAT prep to thirty students. Twenty-five were offered placements at a specialized school. Accounting for two student who opted ultimately to not take the test, we saw an 89% success rate.
Brooklyn Tech the most popular school in our community. Seventeen students were offered spots.
Five students earned spots at Stuyvesant, the most selective of the specialized schools.
Two students were accepted to Brooklyn Latin.
And one student received an offer from Lehman.
I feel that relief on the train home when the result come rolling out, and it feels like the good news isn’t going to stop. Still, our success comes with an asterisks attached: if we don’t think (based on our diagnostic assessment & holistic evaluation) a student is a ballpark candidate for one of the specialized schools, we will say as much to the parent. This is part and parcel of our commitment to honest and frank guidance. We’d rather lose the business (than chase a goal we don’t believe is realistic).
It is quite possible that the SHSAT will someday (soon perhaps) become obsolete, replaced by other measures of academic potential. In the meantime, we should be clear-eyed about our ability to help students successfully prepare for what is, without exception, a very difficult exam.
Judging from this year’s performance, we remain confident in our ability to effectively prepare students for the SHSAT.