Thursday, August 23, 2018

End to backdoor admissions to Detroit's most prestigious schools results in more district students enrolling

Posted By on Thu, Aug 23, 2018 at 2:27 PM

Detroit's Cass Technical High School. - JAMES R. MARTIN, SHUTTERSTOCK
  • James R. Martin, Shutterstock
  • Detroit's Cass Technical High School.

Detroit Public Schools Community District changed the way it selects which students can attend its best schools, this year requiring all students to take a screening exam — a move which has led to more students from the district getting in.

By streamlining the application process, the district has clamped down on number of students who got into the districts' most prestigious schools — Cass Technical, Renaissance, Martin Luther King Jr., and Southeastern — through direct appeal, which in the past has allowed students to circumnavigate the entrance exam.

According to a report by Chalkbeat, the change resulted in more students from the district getting into the schools. Last year, the schools allowed 1,607 students through the standard application process, with nearly 500 students skipping the test and appealing directly to the schools. This year, the entrance test was compulsory for all eight graders in the district; as a result, enrollment increased to 2,858 students, nearly two-thirds of which came from district middle schools.

"One commitment we made this year was to ensure the testing of eighth-graders would happen across our district," Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said.  "This was about equity and access throughout our district."

Other changes to the enrollment process included streamlining the evaluation process and implementing a points system that weighed grades and application essays. Students already enrolled in the district were given an edge over students applying from charter and suburban schools.

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