Providence High Drops Requirement for Entrance Exam

Students applying for admission to Providence High School will not need to take the High School Placement Test or any other entrance exam, as the results will not be a factor in admission to the school.
Providence said this is not a testing-optional policy, but rather a decision to no longer accept standardized entrance exam results, which it believes do not reliably demonstrate a student’s diligence, creativity, character or intelligence and are not aligned with Providence’s curriculum and values.
Additionally, many prospective families spend inordinate amounts of time, attention and money preparing their children for entrance exams, which can lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety for the student, school officials said.
“Taking part in interviews, preparing essays and documents, exploring and evaluating all the options, and attending admissions events is stressful enough for an 8th-grade student and his or her family,” said Head of School Scott McLarty. “And we do not wish to play a role in what is essentially a money-making enterprise for testing and test-prep companies that have no regard for systemic inequities.”
The school contends that the absence of entrance exam scores will allow for opportunities to be more creative in the ways to get to know prospective students and families. Changes to Providence’s admissions process will include:
• Re-imagined recommendation forms that allow teachers to more effectively comment on subject-specific skills as well as student character, work ethic, interactions with adults and peers, independence and creativity.
• Revised short-answer and essay questions on the application that give students the opportunity to better express who they are.
• An evolving interview process that will help PHS faculty, staff and administrators get to know families while also providing an experience for students and parents/guardians to feel what being a part of the PHS community means.
• Expanded opportunities to interact with others in the PHS community, including faculty, staff, students, current parents/guardians, and administrators.
“At Providence, we say that a student is not just a GPA, so they are definitely not a test score. This philosophy needs to extend to prospective students as well,” said McLarty.

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