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What Role do Middle Schools Play in Deciding Who Gets Into NYC’s Elite High Schools?

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Adi Talwar

The Christa McAuliffe School in Brooklyn, where more than 80 percent of SHSAT takers received admissions offers this year.

By at least one measure, IS 187 (The Christa McAuliffe School) in Brooklyn holds the honor of being the best middle school in New York City. In 2017, 82 percent of its students who took the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) got a coveted slot in one of the eight academically demanding schools that use the single test to determine who gets in and who does not.

Mayor de Blasio’s proposal to gradually phase out the SHSAT and offer admission to the top 7 percent of students from all city district middle schools would upend a system where most specialized high school slots go to a handful of schools. Whether or not the SHSAT survives, a look at what schools fare well on the test offers insight into how the SHSAT in particular and school selection in general works in New York City.

And it is clear that most students get on – or off – the track to go to a specialized high school long before they sit down to take the SHSAT in September of 8th grade.

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This article was reposted from City Limits, an independent online news source.

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