Friday, September 20, 2013

NYC Private Schools to End Use of Controversial Admissions Test

We were very pleased to see the announcement in today's New York Times that most private schools in New York City will soon phase out the admissions test many of the City's elite private schools have administered since the 1960's to applicants as young as four years old.

Kevin Jarrett
The Independent Schools Admissions Association of Greater New York (ISAAGNY) advised its approximately 130 members by a letter dated on September 18th that a review of admissions practices for kindergarten and first grade concluded that the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI), which is administered by the nonprofit Educational Records Bureau and is universally referred to by New York parents as the "ERB", indicated that, "high-stakes testing of young children (under 8 years old) provides only a narrow assessment of their cognitive abilities and may not be predictive of future academic success." The group went on to note that, "due to the increased prevalence of test prepping, the results of the WPPSI are tainted and their credibility is in question due to coaching."

Dr. Yellin stated that he was heartened by this announcement and commented, "Today's announcement that private schools are likely to abandon the ERB is a positive development and a change for which we have advocated for some time. The reason stated is that the results have been compromised by widespread coaching and test preparation. The truth, as many educators have expressed to us, is that the system was misguided and flawed from the start. ERB's use portions of IQ tests that were never intended for this purpose. We strongly recommend Dr. Carol Dweck's wonderful book Mindset to provide perspective on this important issue." 

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