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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
FAIRNESS TO GIFTED GIRLS: ADMISSIONS TO NEW YORK CITY’S ELITE PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOLS
Hunter College Gender Equity Project, 695 Park Avenue, Room 1032E, New York, NY 10065, USA
The use of test scores in school admissions has been a contentious issue for decades. In New York City's elite public high schools, it has been particularly controversial because of disproportionate representation by ethnicity. Underrepresentation of girls has received less attention. This research compared the predictive validity and gender bias of the admissions criterion, the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT), with that of seventh grade GPA, a possible additional criterion. SHSAT (r2 = 0.20) predicted high school grades less precisely than GPA7 (r2 = 0.44) and underpredicted girls' grades in all academic domains and specific courses analyzed. Girls were overrepresented in the upper tail of STEM course grades. Simulated admissions using an index combining SHSAT and GPA7 suggest that different admissions criteria might improve the quality of the admitted cohort, increase diversity, and be gender-fair.
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