Students applying for admission to Providence High School will not need to take the High School Placement Test (HSPT), or any other entrance exam, as those test results will not be a factor in admission to the school. This is not a testing-optional policy, rather it is a decision to no longer accept standardized entrance exam results, which 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 an inordinate amount of time, attention, and money (if they can afford it) preparing their child for entrance exams, which can lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety on the child.
“Taking part in interviews, preparing essays and documents, exploring and evaluating all the options, and attending admissions events is stressful enough for an eighth-grade student and his or her family,” said Head of School Mr. Scott McLarty. “And, we do not wish to play a role in what is essentially a moneymaking enterprise for testing and test-prep companies that have no regard for systemic inequities.”
The absence of entrance exam scores will allow for opportunities to be even 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.