The disputable specialized high school admissions exam known as SHSAT once again raised a discussion about its adequacy. Certainly, the test has several disadvantages as a means of selecting the best students for the top schools in New York. First of all, it is the primary measure of the student’s compliance with the standards of the desired candidate. Since many factors influence test results (from the well-being and luck of the student to the time of the exam), reliance on this selection tool is highly questionable. Moreover, the test obviously does not cope with ensuring the diversity of the educational team, which, as you know, can adversely affect the success of the educational process. On the other hand, it is essential to note that given the standard of procedure, the exam is indeed blind and does not directly weed out students based on racial characteristics.
Thus, the situation highlights the ethical issue of equity in outcomes and equality in opportunity. While all students have a similar set of tools and assessment criteria in terms of conditions, the system produces disproportionate results. The solution is probably to investigate whether or not equality of opportunity is truly ensured in this situation; if so, it is necessary to understand other reasons that lead to unequal results.
Gifted programs have a similar issue of equity and represent an obstacle to classroom diversity. At the same time, the discussion around these programs sheds light on the root of the problem. On the one hand, as advocates for the cancellation of the initiative claim, the mechanism produces inadequate results in representing different races. Moreover, the selection is carried out at a young age based on a single test that undermines justice, although it provides apparent equality of opportunity. However, as the participants in the gifted and talented programs themselves emphasize, the root of the problem lies in the fact that many black or Latin families are less prepared for the test standard due to lower income levels and other social prerequisites. This does not mean, however, that these students are not gifted. The bottom line is to give more support to the more vulnerable ones to ensure genuine equality of opportunity. In other words, equity of results can only be guaranteed if all students are on an equal footing in financial and social characteristics.