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Admissions: HSPT Will No Longer Be Accepted

As is also true for you and your communities, everything we do at Providence springs from our mission and values. Our work with prospective families must be no different. With this in mind, we will no longer accept HSPT, ISEE, or any other entrance exam scores as part of the admissions process. This has been a topic of discussion at Providence for several years, and we feel that it is finally time to make this important change.

Please also know that this is not a testing-optional policy but a decision not to accept HSPT or any other standardized entrance exam results. We understand that many of you will be applying to other schools that require testing. However, at least for an application to Providence, please do not submit your child’s scores or worry that an absence of scores might negatively affect your child’s chances of admittance.

Here is why this is the best decision for you and your children:

  1. High-stakes testing in admissions causes undue stress on students. While a certain amount of stress can be positive, the pressure of applying to schools, taking part in interviews, preparing essays and documents, and attending admissions events is stressful enough for an 8th-grade student. The anxiety and fear that many students experience when confronted with an entrance exam can actually do harm, and this runs counter to the mission of Providence High School.
  2. Students and parents/guardians spend an inordinate amount of time, attention, and money preparing for, asking about, and stressing over an exam that can potentially have adverse effects on students, reducing them to numbers. At Providence, we say that a student is not just a GPA. This philosophy needs to extend to prospective students as well. We do not want to play a part in negatively affecting student confidence and self-esteem by asking them to take part in an entrance exam.
  3. Parents/Guardians and students often feel compelled, if they can afford it, to pay for expensive prep courses, tutors, and study guides. The reality is that many cannot afford it, which may put their children at a disadvantage. We do not wish to play a role in what is essentially a moneymaking enterprise for testing companies that have no regard for systemic inequities.
  4. The HSPT or other standardized tests are not aligned with the Providence High School curriculum or values. These exams do not accurately predict success in our curriculum.
  5. Standardized entrance exams offer little insight into the characteristics that will make a student successful at Providence. They cannot reliably demonstrate a student’s diligence, creativity, character, or intelligence.

So, what does this mean for our process and for your student who is applying to Providence? The absence of entrance exam scores opens opportunities to be even more creative in the ways we get to know you and your student. Changes to our admissions process will include 

  1. 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.
  2. Revised short-answer and essay questions on the application that give students the opportunity to tell us who they are.
  3. An evolving interview process that will help us get to know your child and provide a great experience for your family to feel what being a part of our community means.
  4. Expanded opportunities to interact with others in our community, including faculty, staff, students, current parents, and administrators.

We understand that you may have questions or concerns about this change in the entrance exam policy, and we are happy to discuss it with you. Please reach out to our Admissions Office for more information.