Published On: Friday, March 25, 2022|Categories: Education Info, Parents, Testing Strategies, Transition Between Schools|

The Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) is a reasoning and achievement test by the Educational Records Bureau. Over 1200 private schools use the test to evaluate children for entry into grades 2 to 12 around the country. The aim is to assess applicants’ skills, ranking them for their reasoning and achievement among students at the same level of learning. Further, ISEE is one of the measures that schools use to test a student’s readiness for high or middle school work. The other measures include GPA, class rank, personal essay, extracurricular activities, and teacher recommendations.

A student’s ISEE scores compare against the score of other applicants and the accepted scores in a given institution. The scores also form a basis for awarding merit-based financial aid and scholarships.

How the Independent School Entrance Exam Compares to Other Tests in Houston

Closely similar to the ISEE exam is the High School Placement Test HSPT) and the Secondary School Admissions Exam (SSAT). Most of Houston’s independent, private, and boarding schools require students to do one of these tests for admission. Parents should, indeed, research their schools of choice to determine the test they need to prepare their children adequately.

The HSPT exam measures a student’s skills and abilities in five crucial areas:

  1. Reading
  2. Quantitative skills
  3. Mathematics
  4. Verbal skills
  5. Language

The performance in this exam is crucial in determining whether a student enrolls in a private or parochial school. The ISEE and SSAT scores don’t necessarily correlate with class performance. However, they determine how students compare to other top students around the country. Your students’ initial scores may not be as high as you expected.

The Levels of Each Test

The level of test a student takes depends on the grade they want to attend:

  • SSAT: It’s applicable at the elementary level for grades 4-5, the middle class in grades 6-8, and the upper level in grades 9-12.
  • ISEE: The test applies to primary levels for grades 2-4, lower levels for grades 5-6, middle levels for grades 7-8, and upper levels for grades 9-12.
  • HSPT: Private high school placement.

Scoring in the ISEE Test

The ISEE scoring reaches a student’s preferred school as a percentile grade and scaled score. The scale scores for each division fall between 760 and 940. Further, the percentile grade depends on applicants who’ve taken the test within the past three years in the same grade.

A stanine score is an abbreviated version of the percentile grade. It categorizes students into nine groups depending on the percentile grade. The student’s final score doesn’t factor in the essay. However, the school must keep a copy of the paper in addition to the Individual Student Report.

How to Prepare for the Test

When preparing for the ISEE test, it’s essential to start early, even six months before the exam. As a parent, one of the things you can do is encourage your child to believe that they can do it and manage expectations openly. Don’t expect the student to know everything, as some tests can be challenging and contain above-grade content. Please encourage your child to use full-length practice tests to determine the areas they need to put more effort in through targeted practice. It’s also essential that they learn test-taking skills and strategies. These will, then, enable them to manage their time efficiently and quickly eliminate wrong answer choices for top performance.

Let your child read widely to improve their reading comprehension and grow their vocabulary. These skills are, indeed, crucial for ISEE and SSAT tests and benefit students beyond the test. Most importantly, your child should see the chance to get admission into their school of choice as a possibility, not a necessity. Let them know it’s not their fault if they don’t make it to their school of choice.

Learn More About the Independent School Entrance Exam

If you want more information concerning the ISEE or SSAT exams for your child in Houston, The Tenney School is here to guide you. In fact, our primary distinction is the amount of individual attention we accord each student to assist them on their journey to holistic learning. Contact us today to consult about tailored education and personalized mentoring for your child.

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