How SHSAT Scores Are Calculated For Specialized Schools

How SHSAT scores are calculated for Specialized schools in the United States of America and the city of New York is very simple.  Let’s first have a look at an overview of the SHSAT before we get into how the scores are calculated.

The Specialized high school admission test (SHSAT) Specialized high schools admissions test (SHSAT) is an entrance examination that is open to eighth and ninth-grade students residing in New York City. The test is used to determine admission to all but one of the city’s nine Specialized High Schools.

The test is independently produced and graded by American Guidance Service, a subsidiary of Pearson Education, under contract to the New York City Department of Education and how SHSAT scores are calculated depends on it.

The eight specialized high schools admitting new students with SHSAT are;

  • Bronx High School of Science
  • Brooklyn Latin School
  • Brooklyn Technical High School
  • High School of American Studies at Lehman College
  • High School for Math, Science, and Engineering at City College
  • Queens High School for the Sciences at York College
  • Staten Island Technical High School
  • Stuyvesant High School

The SHSAT is administered in two study areas; English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. The SHSAT tests for grammar in English Language Arts (ELA) and ability in Mathematics. Now, let’s get to how SHSAT scores are calculated.

How are SHSAT scores calculated?

To answer the question of how SHSAT scores are calculated, you need to understand that, the two subject areas or sections tested in the SHSAT are scored out of 400.

This means that applicants taking the test must score between 20 to 350 (scaled score) in each of the test areas to stand the chance of making it into their preferred specialized high school.

But how are SHSAT scores calculated? How SHSAT scores are calculated is based on three types of scores when it comes to SHSAT and we will take a look at them here.

The two sections or subject areas (ELA and Mathematics) are treated separately in the scoring process till the end when the two scores from each section are combined into a composite score.

How SHSAT scores are calculated

Let’s look into the scoring process (calibration and normalization);

Raw scores; this is the number of correct answers marked on the scored questions. In SHSAT, there is no penalty for selecting wrong answers so students are encouraged to attempt all questions even if they don’t know the answers.

Scaled scores; The total number of correct answers (the raw score) is converted into a scaled score through a formula that the Department of Education does not release, and which varies from year to year. The scaled score is an integer between 20 and around 350.

  • Calibration: Calibration takes into account any small differences between different test forms.
  • Normalization: Normalization adjusts scores to fit a normal (Gaussian) distribution. Both calibration and normalization are non-linear. As a result, the raw scores and scaled scores are not proportional.

Below is a sample of the raw-score-to-scaled-score conversion chart often used by the Department of Education, NYC.


How Are SHSAT Scores Calculated

Composite score; The composite score is the sum of the ELA and Math scaled scores. The composite score is used to determine admission to a Specialized High School. That’s all on how SHSAT scores are calculated.

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