NYC Schools

Nearly Half of NYC Students Who Took SHSAT Were Black or Latinx — Only 9% Got an Offer

The disproportionately low rates were also seen in past years

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A disproportionately low number of Black and Latinx students in New York City were admitted to elite specialized high schools once again, according to the latest statistics provided by the city's Department of Education.

Nearly half of all New York City students who took the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) for the 2022-2023 school year where Black or Latinx -- but, only 9% received an offer, according to the statistics.

Specifically, slightly over 20% of Black students took the SHSAT test, but only 3.2% of those received offers to attend a specialized high school.

Meanwhile, nearly 26% of Latinx students took the test, but only 5.7% received offers.

The nine Specialized High Schools, with competitive admissions, are one way that New York City supports students who excel academically and/or artistically.

Demographics of Specialized High School Applicants

 Asian Black Latinx Multi-Racial Native American White Missing Data 
Distribution of Testers by Ethnicity 31% 20.7% 25.8% 1.8% .9% 17.1% 2.8% 
Total Distribution of SHSAT Offers by Ethnicity   52.5% 3.2% 5.7% 3.9% .6% 27.8% 6.3% 
(*Data from NYC Department of Education)

According to the data:

  • 31% of students who took the SHSAT identified as Asian, with 52.5% of these students receiving offers;
  • 1.8% were multi-racial, with 3.9% of these students receiving offers;
  • 0.9% were Native American, with 0.6% of these students receiving offers;
  • 17.1% were white, with 27.8% of these students receiving offers.

The disproportionate rate at which Black and Latinx students received offers to Specialized High Schools for the 2022-2023 school year is not surprising. Test results for the 2021-2022 school year admissions also showed offers to the city's Black and Latinx students in percentage terms were down over both 2020 and 2019.

For the second year in a row, the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) was offered to students at their middle school during the school day, according to the Department of Education. This was done to raise awareness of the test and eliminate travel hardships for the families of students taking the test.  

Out of 27,669 testers, 4,053 eighth grade students received an offer to a testing Specialized High School based on their test scores. Additionally, according to the Department of Education, 855 students will be participating in the summer Discovery program this year.

The Discovery programs are weeks-long summer programs for certain disadvantaged students who scored within a certain range on the SHSAT. Those who successfully complete the program will receive a seat at one of the eight testing Specialized High Schools.

Additionally, 917 eighth grade students received an offer to Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (better known as LaGuardia High School), a renowned arts-centered high school that is the only Specialized High School where admittance is based on a portfolio and auditioning in a talent area, as well as consideration of a student's grades. The remaining eight Specialized High Schools require SHSAT scores for admittance consideration.

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