Archive for the ‘Testing’ Category

by Merari Hernandez, 8th Grade Reporter

October 24, 2010, the big day that thousands of eighth graders in New York were waiting for—the second day of the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT), a test that determines one’s acceptance into any of the eight elite high schools in New York City.

A handful of eighth graders from 214X applied and took the test. But of the few, only three proved worthy, and came out victorious. On February 11, the brave eighth graders who took the test received letters containing the words that foretold whether or not they would be attending a specialized high school in September. Reda Bouzidi, Charles Smith and Tyrone Thomas, all students of class 801, were the three who opened the letter to see that they had what it took to compete with the other thousands of diverse eighth graders across New York State who took the test.

“I thought I failed. I guessed on the last twenty questions because the time was limited,” said Bouzidi, who was accepted into the High School for Math, Science, and Engineering at City College.

“After taking the test, I felt anxious. I knew I passed, but I didn’t feel it,” Thomas stated, thinking back to that day in October.

Both Smith and Thomas were accepted into Brooklyn Latin High School, but neither of them will be attending due to distance. Thomas will be attending a private school, St. Raymond’s, and Smith plans to attend an all boy’s school in the Bronx.

While the three of them passed, neither of them even knew about the test’s format nor requirements for specialized high schools until seventh grade. Prior to the SHSAT, Bouzidi planned on attending a private high school and Smith thought he was going to a Catholic high school.

To prepare for the rigorous test, Thomas attended a program, Specialized High School Institute; Bouzidi bought and used Kaplan’s SHSAT Test-Prep book; and, Smith used a SHSAT handbook he received from a teacher.

by Ta’Shea Parham, 6th Grade Reporter

Before the Test:

  • Study before the test (but don’t overdo it). Too much studying can sometimes be overwhelming.
  • Always ask and clarify the date of a test.
  • If there are any strategies, concepts, or skills that you are having trouble with, ask a teacher for help.
  • Form study groups and get together with friends—just make sure you’re actually STUDYING.
  • Get plenty of rest and eat a healthy breakfast.

During the Test:

  • Always be prepared for a test: Bring several No. 2 pencils or pens (for essay portions). It never hurts to be extra prepared!
  • Don’t cheat! You never know if that person is wrong and you are right. Just try your best.
  • If you are having trouble with a question, don’t spend fifty million hours on it. Mark it and go back to it later.
  • Always do your best on tests no matter what. Even if you think you are going to seriously fail, who knows? You, might just ace it.

After the Test:

  • If you find out that you’ve failed don’t give up. Learn from your mistakes and study harder. Try, try, and try again.
  • If you find out that you’ve succeeded, don’t stop there. You can always improve. Try to beat your best score.

by Xavier Fernandez, 8th Grade Reporter

Scores will be released in early February for 8th graders that took the Specialized High School Admission Test (SHSAT). These students will have till the end of February to return their New High Schools Choice Forms back to their guidance counselor.

There are eight specialized high schools in NYC that students must test for in order to be considered for admission: Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn Latin School, Brooklyn Technical School, High School for Math, Science, and Engineering at City College, High School of American Studies at Lehman College, Queens High School for the Sciences at York College, Staten Island Technical High School, and Stuyvesant High School. These schools emphasize math and science.

Fiorello H. LaGuardia of Music, Art, and Performing Arts is the only non-testing specialized high school. This school admits students based on auditions, or an art portfolio.

Eighth graders that missed the deadline to sign up, or were unable to attend one of the specialized high school testing sessions, have one last opportunity to take the SHSAT in the fall of 2011 as high school freshman.

By Merari Hernandez, 8th Grade Reporter

Every year, students in grades three to eight across New York State are given certain tests that determine whether or not they will be promoted. We are all familiar with said tests, but this year a drastic change has been made.

Both the English Language Arts (ELA) and Math state tests, depending on what grade one is in, consist of either two or three parts. Part one, of both the ELA and Math tests, usually entails 25 multiple-choice questions. Part two in the ELA test is the listening piece. Meanwhile, the Math test consists of extended response questions. The third part of the test pertains only to ELA. This section requires students to write a three paragraph essay based on a reading passage.

For the 2010-2011 school year, changes to the tests are primarily comprised of more multiple choice questions. In each grade, exactly fifteen questions have been added and the time to complete the test has been extended by only fifteen minutes.

Kendra Johnson-Parham, Math Staff Developer, believes this revised test is, “Too vague and not specific enough.” On the other hand, Helen Sherman, ELA Staff Developer, believes the test is, “Clearer to students of all grades.” While most ELA and Math teachers would agree with either statement, nearly all students in the testing grades are aggravated and feel the extra pressure.

Revisions to the tests came as such a surprise that teachers don’t even have the proper time to prepare their students for it (considering the test is coming up in May, which gives us merely five months to study). After several meetings with the Principal of 214X, David Cintron, some teachers have decided that the students in the testing grades need more ELA and Math instructional periods, including more test-prep time if the students are going to succeed.

All in all, the tests have been changed a little too late and some believe we should have more time to study. Teachers all feel that their students will pass if they focus put their effort into it. As Ms. Johnson-Parham always says, “Excuses are for losers. A winner finds a way!”