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ERIC Number: ED559707
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 8
Pathways to an Elite Education: Exploring Strategies to Diversify NYC's Specialized High Schools. Policy Brief
Corcoran, Sean P.; Baker-Smith, Christine
Research Alliance for New York City Schools
New York City's specialized high schools have a long history of offering a rigorous, college preparatory, public education to some of NYC's highest-achieving students. Despite enrolling only a small fraction of the City's high school students, the specialized schools have become a powerful symbol in a larger public debate about educational equity. Critics argue that this problem stems, at least in part, from the specialized schools' exclusive use of the "Specialized High School Admissions Test" (SHSAT) to determine admission. While supporters of the test insist that it is essential for maintaining the schools' high academic standards--highlighting its objectivity, as well as its emphasis on logic and advanced abilities in math and English--there is little question that the students who are admitted based on the SHSAT do not look like NYC public schools as a whole. This brief begins to answer these arguments by examining the pathway from middle school to matriculation at a specialized high school by exploring differences in rates of application, admission, and enrollment--highlighting opportunities to improve access for under-represented groups. The brief also simulates the effects of various alternative admissions rules, which allows for examining how the use of criteria other than the SHSAT might alter the composition of the specialized schools. [For the working paper: "Pathways to an Elite Education: Application, Admission, and Matriculation to New York City's Specialized High Schools," see ED559679.]
Research Alliance for New York City Schools. 285 Mercer Street 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10003. Tel: 212-992-7697; Fax: 212-992-4910; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Reports - Research-practitioner Partnerships
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education; Middle Schools; Junior High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Carnegie Corporation of New York; Ford Foundation; Spencer Foundation; Wallace Foundation; William T. Grant Foundation
Authoring Institution: New York University, Research Alliance for New York City Schools; New York University, Institute for Education and Social Policy (IESP)
Identifiers - Location: New York