For the last few weeks, my church announced that Parishioners must note that the Clergy has “NOTHING to do with the admission into Catholic Schools.” When this announcement is read, people look at me with smiles of curiosity. I almost wish to also make an announcement that the Minister too has nothing to do with admissions.
Well, I don’t personally but the Ministry does. We are trying to automate the process and make it as fair as possible. Here’s the idea behind the algorithm and some quick answers as the interview processes ramp up.
1. Candidates chose three schools in an order of preference. We first check if you got into your first school, and if not, then second. If not, then third. If you don’t get automatic admission into your third school, then we place you into a school that has space closest to where you attended primary school. The assumption is that since you could get to that primary school, then you might be able to get to a nearby secondary school too.
2. How do you gain admission? Firstly, your NPSE Aggregate T Score is what gives you the option to be interviewed. Then schools review your continuous assessment and others give you simple reading/comprehension tests. After you go through all of this, you are admitted.
3. How do you get called for interviews? We know how many people sat for a given school. We also know how many students the school wants to admit. That is, how many available seats are there? Based on this is how a cutoff T Score is calculated. Unlike what people believe, there’s no pre-defined cut off for schools. The cut off is a function of how many kids scored above 230 and how many available seats and streams exist.
3. How come I scored above the cut off for my second choice but I was refused entry?
Well, there are some schools that are oversubscribed. This means that there are many more students who chose it as a first choice school who scored above 230 than there are available seats. So if you chose an oversubscribed school as anything but your first choice, it is impossible for you to get admission there. There are other equally deserving students who got the place.
4. Some people are collecting money for admission, what do I do?
Call Anti-corruption; call the police and call 8060 for free. Do not pay, you’ll also be corrupt.
5. Are there Grade A or Grade B schools?
No. There are oversubscribed and under subscribed schools. In the latter, many more people choose to attend there than there are seats. In the latter, there are more seats available than students who chose to attend there.
6. I got really good scores and I am in the top 1 percentile but I couldn’t get placement, why?
This is possible if you selected a private school (like Grammar School or International) as your first choice. We do not place students who elected to attend private school in our system.
I truly hope that we do a few things:
1. Try to understand this and explain to your friends and kids.
2. Try to not bribe a school to gain admission.
3. Next year, ensure your kids choose only one oversubscribed school as first choice. Other choices must be in undersubscribed schools. We will publish these lists every year.
4. Let admission not be the only time you visit your child’s school. Attend PTA meetings and ensure you show up to understand how your kids are performing.
Any questions? Call 8060 and visit your District Education Offices to talk to School Quality Assurance Officers.