Thursday, November 07, 2013

Put Horse Before Cart Before Changing Admissions Criteria at Academic Magnet

A student who transferred into the Academic Magnet from a magnet school in another state was surprised to see how few black students are enrolled at the school. We don't know what criteria the previous school used for admissions. We do know that, until now, Academic Magnet has admitted freshmen based strictly on its 15-point scale with the most qualified admitted first until the freshman class totals 160.

Now CCSD is puzzling over how to create a more diverse student body at AMHS. One proposal mimics the practice of the University of Texas in guaranteed admission to the top 10 percent of every high school, in this case guaranteeing admission to the top two students from each CCSD middle school as long as each scores at least 13 out of 15. The additional 28 students would not cut into the 160 admitted on the old basis.

Before the district plunges into the controversies bound to occur, it needs to collect hard data. Isn't the superintendent always saying her decisions are "data driven"?

  • Survey to find out why those 28 from each of the last five years did not apply;
  • Estimate how many of those 140 students would have had a score of 13 or above;
  • Track the records of those students to see what their high school achievement became;
  • Find out the male-female ratio of these 140 students;
  • Survey how many of the 140 applied to AMHS and how many were left on the waiting list.
One student is reported to have replied that she was afraid of being rejected, so she didn't apply. That's like saying, I won't apply for a job because they might not hire me! Apart from AMHS concerns, the district needs to nip this kind of negative thinking in the bud.

Maybe that's a good place to start the process.


Clisby said...

To me, the criteria are confusing.

How do you determine the "top 2 students" in each middle school? Based on what? Then - you have no idea how those students will score on the AMHS 15-point scale unless they actually apply to AMHS.

So is the proposal saying the top 2 AMHS applicants from each middle school can get in if they score at least 13?

Or is it saying the top 2 students in each middle school (based on some non-AMHS ranking of the top 2) can get in IF they subsequently apply and score 13?

Those scenarios are different, and I can't tell from the P-C article what's intended.

If it's the second scenario, what if the top 2 don't apply, but some others from that school DO apply and score 13 or higher? Do they not get the benefit of this preference because the "top 2" didn't even get in the game?

Also, I don't get where the 28 came from. CCSD has more than 20 middle schools.

Clisby said...

It would be good to know how many African-American students apply to AMHS (and SOA, since that's apparently a concern also.)

I agree with you that students should be encouraged to try. After all, most kids (no matter what the race/ethnic background) who apply to AMHS aren't going to get in. College is around the corner - are these kids not going to apply to good colleges because they might be rejected? Time to get over that now.