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"How New York’s Elite Public Schools Lost Their Black and Hispanic Students"

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Replies to: "How New York’s Elite Public Schools Lost Their Black and Hispanic Students"

  • BKSquaredBKSquared 1668 replies8 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2019
    Interesting study in the NYT https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/06/17/upshot/nyc-schools-shsat-504.html?action=click&module=News&pgtype=Homepage Bottom line, white students from privileged areas are much more likely to have gotten dispensation for extra time on the tests.

    "White students in New York City are 10 times as likely as Asian students to have a 504 designation that allows extra time on the specialized high school entrance exams. White students are also twice as likely as their black and Hispanic peers to have the designation."

    While the total number of students who have the 504 designation is not high:

    "The number of students with the designation is quite small compared with the total number of test-takers: 323 students had the extra-time allowance last year, while over 27,000 students took the exam."

    Their acceptance rates are much higher:

    "And students who have this extra-time provision are about twice as likely to receive offers from specialized high schools, according to a New York Times analysis of newly released city data.

    "Last year, there were just 24 black students over all at Stuyvesant High School, which has over 3,300 students and is the most selective of the specialized schools. At the same time, 63 white students with a 504 extra-time allowance received offers to a specialized high school."

    Remind anyone of the latest admissions scam?
    edited June 2019
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83845 replies743 threads Senior Member
    BKSquared wrote:
    Remind anyone of the latest admissions scam?

    You mean that high SES parents are more likely to be able to get disability accommodation for their kids to get extra time in SAT and ACT, both legitimate and questionable?
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  • BKSquaredBKSquared 1668 replies8 threads Senior Member
    ^Yes, I was referring to the Singer admissions scandal where disability accommodation was a key component of the test cheating process. It sounded like he also advised parents to get the accommodation just to get more time. One of the maps in the NYT article was a heat map showing where the greatest instances of 504 designations occurred. Not surprisingly the deepest color covered some of the most affluent areas in Manhattan.
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  • brantlybrantly 4322 replies78 threads Senior Member
    @BKSquared No, it does not remind me of the admission scandal. Starting with a group of people who DID cheat and looking back at how they did it is not the same as starting with a group of people who have accommodations and assuming that there are cheaters among them. Also, the affluent NYC group with the accommodations were perhaps all granted them correctly. It may be that other groups are not unlocking the benefits legitimately available to them.
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  • hebegebehebegebe 2952 replies41 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2019
    If over a third of students are getting accommodations, and that's the right amount for the general population, it's hard to justify that as a learning disability. At that point, it's just normal.
    edited June 2019
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  • suzyQ7suzyQ7 4951 replies66 threads Senior Member
    And if the other students have disabilities in the same proportions and are just not taking advantage of the 504 accommodations, how are they still managing to get into these high schools and do great on these tests?
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  • BKSquaredBKSquared 1668 replies8 threads Senior Member
    The test cheating part of course is not the same as what the NYT article was exploring. However, I seem to recall reading articles that went in depth on Singer's other counseling tips included encouraging parents to get testing accommodations without the hired test taker part. The Times article is very clear that it is not accusing students who have the accommodation of not having qualifying disabilities, but the heat map was striking in its correlation to wealthy vs less wealthy areas of NYC.
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  • TheodenTheoden 254 replies8 threads Junior Member
    edited June 2019
    Putting the most charitable construction on the data, assuming the kids who get the accommodation actually need it, it would seem that affluent parents with kids in high-performing middle schools are more informed about 504 accommodations and are more likely to request them.

    What's interesting is that Asian students who are well-informed about the SHSAT don't seem to be aware or are interested in requesting the 504 accommodation.

    There seems to be, however, a strong correlation between getting extra time with the 504 accommodation and performing better on the test.

    Here's the boost the 504 extra time accommodation seems to provide over the general test taking population in terms of offers:

    Asians: 49%
    Whites: 65%
    Hispanics: 280%
    Blacks: 175% - 400%

    Again this is such a small number of students (1.2% of the test-taking population) and this is just correlation. It could simply be that parents who request the accommodation are deeply invested in their children's education and are are likely to have kids who have been better prepared to take the test anyway.

    It would seem to me, one way of increasing the number of Black and Hispanic students in Specialized High Schools is to increase awareness about 504 accommodations in majority Black/Hispanic middle schools and among parents. Given the small number of accommodations, this wouldn't move the needle much, but it would, at least, improve access to those students who need it.

    edited June 2019
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  • milee30milee30 2917 replies19 threads Senior Member
    No idea how NY schools work, but around here it wouldn't be so simple as letting parents know about 504 accommodations. Schools won't give 504s without extensive psychological and neurological testing that isn't available unless your school agrees you need it and requests it or you pay for it yourself. Surprise, surprise, most schools don't feel students need it (after all a C is average so performing just fine, right?) so it does tend to be the wealthier families who can afford to pay the several thousand dollars for private testing who get the 504s.

    Go ahead and let the black and hispanic parents know about it if they don't already know, but if NY works like it does here, that knowledge won't do them much good unless they can cough up the $$$ to pay for the testing to justify a 504.
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  • gwnorthgwnorth 663 replies8 threads Member
    @milee30 that is exactly our personal experience. DS21 was showing signs of an issue in grade 1 but at that point it's hard to tell if it's a true issue or just that he's a late bloomer (very late birthday and a boy). Grade 2 issues persisted but still not a concern to the teachers. By grade 3 the teacher agreed there was most likely a concern that should be investigated. Approached the school and they said he wasn't a priority as grades were ok. DS's mental health was not ok so we paid to have him tested. Yes there was an issue that was creating his frustrations, self-esteem issues, and negative attitudes towards school. His grades were fine because low and behold DS was also gifted and though struggling to mitigate his challenges was bright enough to be able to keep up with a great deal of effort. That effort level would not be sustainable at the higher levels of work demand in higher grades. He ended up with an IEP for accommodations that helped get him through until he could manage to find his own way of dealing. If it weren't for the fact that we could afford to pay out of pocket I shudder to think of what would have happened to his education and mental health.
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  • TheodenTheoden 254 replies8 threads Junior Member
    edited June 2019
    @milee30 Well it seems there's an outsize number of white students getting the 504 accommodation, a fair number of Black and Hispanic and very few Asian.


    Students testing in typical conditions

    Asian 30% Black 22% Hispanic 22% Other 8% White 18%

    Students with extra time from a 504 Accommodation

    Asian 7% Black 19% Hispanic 20% Other 12% White 42%

    Well it seems that some Black and Hispanic students are getting assessed and getting the accommodation. In all cases, the parents need to request it.

    Again a drop in the bucket. And you are right - money makes a huge difference in getting a doctor to fill out the form. There are probably Upper East Side pediatricians that are well acquainted with this stuff.

    Any parent can request it. The bottleneck is a a doctor needs to fill out a form. Access to decent medical care is a perquisite, then.

    https://www.schools.nyc.gov/school-life/health-and-wellness/504-accommodations








    edited June 2019
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  • STEM2017STEM2017 4117 replies97 threads Senior Member
    Of the 323 test takers with accommodations, how many have earned a spot?

    Of the 27,000 total test takers, how many have earned a spot?

    Is there a statistically significant benefit to taking the test with an accommodation?
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  • TheodenTheoden 254 replies8 threads Junior Member
    edited June 2019
    @STEM2017

    Below is the % boost the 504 extra time accommodation seems to provide over the general test taking population in terms of offers. In other words, Asians who had the accommodations, got a 49% boost in offers over Asians who took it under normal conditions. Or put it this way...Hispanic students with the accommodation got offers at nearly 3X the rate as those Hispanic students who took it under normal conditions. I worked out the % based on the NYT article.

    Asians: 49%
    Whites: 65%
    Hispanics: 280%
    Blacks: 175% - 400%

    So yeah - there's a benefit to take the test with an accommodation.

    Here's the article.

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/06/17/upshot/nyc-schools-shsat-504.html?action=click&module=News&pgtype=Homepage


    Students getting offers testing in typical conditions:

    Asian - 35%
    Black - 4%
    Hispanic - 5%
    Other - 23%
    White - 29%

    Students getting offers with extra time from a 504 Accommodation (These are the 323 kids):

    Asian - 49%
    Black - 11% to 14%
    Hispanic - 18%
    Other - 49%
    White - 48%

    edited June 2019
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  • EmptyNestSoon2EmptyNestSoon2 149 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited June 2019
    There are a lot of problems with these extra time accommodations, including people who really shouldn’t be eligible ending up with the accommodation. But another issue this data points out is that the accommodation, whether granted to the right students or not, is too generous. If the accommodation is meant to level the playing field for students with disabilities, then I would not expect that a proper outcome would have students with disabilities significantly OUTPERFORMING the non-disabled students. Shouldn’t an appropriate accommodation at most bring them up to par with the no-accommodations group? Yes, I’m aware there are some “twice-exceptional” students (could have a certain learning disability paired with gifted ness, for example), but I still smell something foul here. If extra time is to be granted, it appears it should not be double time or whatever is being offered, but something considerably less than that.

    Alternatively, I think a better solution is to make these tests untimed for everyone (or double time for everyone). If people are saying that speed is not an indicator of intelligence or that speed shouldn’t count so it’s ok to give students with learning disabilities unlimited or double time, then speed shouldn’t matter for anyone. Then kids who have slow processing time or whatever will not be constrained by time, but neither would anyone else.

    I just think that the way it is set up provides an advantage to those who get extra time rather than provides a level playing field (we can see this in the data). And so it leads to abuse. Taking time out of the equation would better level the playing field.

    By the way, I personally DO believe speed is meaningful, as I would prefer to hire people who can get more done more quickly, etc. I am not saying that speed isn’t an important indicator. However, if the population at large argues for extra time for a subset, then I think it makes most sense to provide unlimited time for everyone and just the people who need it will stay and take advantage of it.

    While my own kids didn’t need extra time on the ACT and had time leftover, so many of their friends could not complete the ACT in the time allotted. A key part of their final score was the fact that they left a number of questions unanswered due to lack of time. How does it make sense to give a subset of kids such a generous amount of extra time that they can almost certainly work on every question, while some kids run out of time lowering their score? I am not against providing accommodations to those who need them, but I find this current solution crazy.
    edited June 2019
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  • hebegebehebegebe 2952 replies41 threads Senior Member
    If they truly left the answers blank, they didn't read the instructions. There is no penalty for guessing on the ACT and therefore no answers should be left blank.
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  • websensationwebsensation 2132 replies40 threads Senior Member
    I am of position that in USA, any motivated kid can get a good education. Now, motivation can go in many different productive areas such as sports, academics, writing, acting, cooking etc. I find nothing wrong to reward academically motivated kids by accepting them at good public schools.
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  • gwnorthgwnorth 663 replies8 threads Member
    @EmptyNestSoon2 extra time accommodations seem to be the ubiquitous response to all learning challenges and aren't extended just for slow processing speed. DS21 has that accommodation on his IEP but the only time it really gets implemented is when the school rankings are impacted by standardized testing. The reason for him is not slow processing speed but a difficulty with handwriting. Computerize the tests and he would have no need for the accommodation. Giving him extra time to write doesn't really help because of the amount of effort it requires for him to do so. Regular time is tiring enough. Extra time is torture plus it doesn't address the issue that it's difficult for the marker to actually read what he has written which can impact his marks. He has no problems filling in a bubble for scantron cards or doing multiple choice tests. It's just tests where written responses are required.

    As you indicate the playing field could be levelled if accommodations that can give an unfair advantage are just extended to everyone. There are times when slow processing speed could be a limitation but completing a test for selective academic admissions isn't one of them. I don't see a need in that type of situation for a test that places an emphasis on speed.
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  • EmptyNestSoon2EmptyNestSoon2 149 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Gwnorth,
    Those are great points. And actually, my own son I am certain has dysgraphia, although I only heard about it when he was in high school so we never addressed it. But it has always been painful for him to write, and his handwriting is atrocious and very barely legible. I always worried for him on things like AP tests where he had to write essays, not only because it is so difficult for him, but really because it is so difficult for the readers!! I couldn’t imagine that they would be patient enough to decipher his writing. As an example, he himself sometimes would have trouble reading his own writing, consequently making math mistakes because he would read a “9” as a “4”, etc! ;-). I have been thoroughly shocked and pleased to see that they did manage to muddle through his writing and gave generous scores. Anyway, your child is a great example of someone who warrants extra time, and where the time is probably more (appropriately) leveling the playing field in that case.

    But there are so many who get extra time for other things, and it really provides a mass advantage (as we can see the students with the extra time so significantly outperform those without extra time, despite having learning disabilities). I do believe they could avoid some of this potentially unfair use of these accommodations by simply extending the accommodation to everyone, as you said.

    Hebegebe, I can’t say that they didn’t read instructions and didn’t just bubble in “A” for every multiple choice question they didn’t have time to work on. The point obviously is, if they didn’t have time to work on the last, say, 15 questions, whether they randomly bubbled in an answer or not, they were hurt by not having sufficient time to read the questions and properly answer them. My point is that although they are not disabled in any way, they just don’t have time to properly finish the test to the best of their ability. If these students were granted more time, their final scores would be significantly higher. So it seems unfair that a subset of students who are deemed to have learning disabilities (whether legit or not) do not run into this issue and have the chance to finish the entire test giving it their all. I would prefer to see everyone have sufficient time to finish the test.
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  • mathmommathmom 33235 replies163 threads Senior Member
    I tend to agree that I'd prefer more testing time for everyone. I know my kids were at a tremendous advantage on the verbal parts of the test because they are such fast readers. My younger son had a 504 plan while he was in middle school, though no one really could say whether he had slow processing speed, or just had trouble with certain kinds of memorization. The middle school would put him in a room where teachers were reading tests to student who couldn't read and other stuff like that and he said it was much, much more distracting so in high school he refused to keep the plan up. It cost him in some subjects like math, but in the end he figured out how to get around most of his issues. I actually now suspect mild ADD, given is general scatterbrained behavior and reliance on post-its and lists.
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  • collegedad13collegedad13 737 replies6 threads Member
    You should not have to take a speed test to gain admissions to these schools. Speed tests can be gamed and are in NYC. Black and Hispanic family income is generally one half of Asian family income. It appears that blacks and Hispanics are systematically discriminated against at these speciality schools
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