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Independent school entrance exam

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest."
-Benjamin Franklin

Get to Know The ISEE 

The Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) is administered by ERB several times a year and accepted by thousands of schools across the globe.  It is a flexible entrance exam that can be administered online, paper-based, or at home. The objective of the ISEE is to quantify 2-12 graders’ critical thinking and qualifications for admission into elite, private elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools.

Understanding the ISEE 

The ISEE is an admission test that has four levels:

Primary Level, Lower Level, Middle Level, and Upper Level.

  • The Primary Level is for students presently in grades 1, 2, and 3 who are candidates for grades 2, 3, and 4.​

  • The Lower Level is for students presently in grades 4 and 5 who are candidates for admission to grades 5 and 6.

  • The Middle Level is for students in grades 6 and 7 who are candidates for admission to grades 7 and 8.

  • The Upper Level is for students in grades 8 through 11 who are candidates for admission to grades 9 through 12.

 

In the Lower, Middle, and Upper levels, the ISEE consists of three parts:

1. Meticulously assembled standardized verbal and quantitative reasoning      tests that measure a student’s capability for learning.

2. Reading comprehension and mathematics achievement tests that                deliver specific evidence regarding a student’s strengths

    and weaknesses in these areas.

    The ISEE evaluates not only a student’s level of reading but also their          ability to comprehend material taken from the sciences and humanities.

3. An essay section.
    The ISEE essay is timed and written in response to a prompt. This essay      is not scored but is then scanned and sent to applicants' schools.

 

When is ISEE Testing Available

The ISEE testing seasons are defined as

Fall (August–November), Winter (December–March), and Spring/Summer (April–July).

Students can take the ISEE as many times as they'd like, with a limit of once per testing season. ​

Test Structure 

Lower Level - For Students Entering Grades 5 and 6

Section | Questions | Time Allotted
Verbal Reasoning | 34 | 20 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning | 38 | 35 minutes
Reading Comprehension | 25 | 25 minutes
Mathematics Achievement | 30 | 30 minutes
Essay | 1 prompt | 30 minutes
Total Time:  2 hours, 20 minutes

ISEE Middle - For Children Entering Grades 7th and 8th

Section | Questions | Time Allotted
Verbal Reasoning | 40 | 20 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning | 37 | 35 minutes
Reading Comprehension | 36 | 35 minutes
Mathematics Achievement | 47 | 40 minutes
Essay | 1 prompt | 30 minutes

Total time: 2 hours, 40 minutes

ISEE Upper - For Children Entering Grades 9th and 10th

Section | Questions | Time Allotted
Verbal Reasoning | 40 | 20 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning | 37 | 35 minutes
Reading Comprehension | 36 | 35 minutes
Mathematics Achievement | 47 | 40 minutes
Essay | 1 prompt | 30 minutes
Total time: 2 hours, 40 minutes

Content 

Verbal Reasoning:

Assesses a student’s vocabulary as well as their ability to reason and problem-solve. The section consists of synonyms and sentence completion. The synonyms test the student’s ability to choose a word that is similar to the given word. The sentence completion tests the student’s ability to properly fill in a sentence by picking the correct word from the answer choices.

Quantitative Reasoning:

In this section, the lower-level test has word problems while the middle and upper level have both word problems and quantitative comparisons.

Additionally, the quantitative reasoning portion encompasses fundamental skills such as:

  • Numbers and Operations

  • Algebra

  • Geometry

  • Measurement

  • Data Analysis and Probability

Math Achievement:

The questions on this section focus on multi-step problems. These items target concepts such as decimals, percents, and fractions as well as measurement and more.

Essay:

On all three levels, the student is required to plan and write a well organized essay. This writing sample will be submitted to the school to which they are applying and allows the school to develop a sense of the student’s writing ability. While the essay does not receive an overall score, it is photocopied and sent to each school.

Administration:

When it comes to actually taking the ISEE, there are a few different options. A student has the option of taking part in “large group testing” at a school, or “small group testing”, offered at various testing offices. Currently, the test is being offered in both an online and paper-based format (The Primary Level is only available online). Both formats consist of the same number of questions as well as the same timing.

Scoring:

The test profile provides information about the student’s overall performance on each section of the ISEE, except for the essay which is unscored and shared with the schools to which the student is applying. The test profile reports percentile ranks with a reference to ISEE norms. These norms are based on independent school applicants in the same grade who have taken the test during the past three years. The norm group for the ISEE consists of a competitive group of students who are also applying to independent schools. A student is only compared to another student who is in that same grade, and who has applied to independent schools in the last three years. 

The ISEE scores are reported in four ways in order to provide a comprehensive picture of the student:

Scaled Score

ISEE scaled scores for each section will range from 760 to 940. The scaled score is based upon the raw score, which is the number of questions that the student answers correctly. ERB will administer different versions of the ISEE each year. The scaled is able to take these changes into account and is able to allow ERB to report a score on a common scale that has the same meaning for all students. This is possible regardless of the test version that is taken.

Stanine Analysis

A stanine analysis compares a student’s performance on the ability tests and the related achievement tests. These comparisons are made between verbal reasoning (V) and reading comprehension (R), as well as between quantitative reasoning (Q) and mathematics achievement (M). The percentile score is an estimate of a student’s level of knowledge. If the stanine is 5, for example, the percentile rank range is 40-59.

Percentile Rank

The percentile rank is intended to compare the student’s standing when compared to other students in the norm group. Percentile rank scores will range from 1 to 99. For example, if a student scores a 55 on mathematics then that means that the student scored as well or as better than 55 percent of all students in the norm group and less well than 44 percent (out of a total of 99 percentile points).

Stanine

A stanine is a score from 1 to 9, with 5 being the midpoint. Stanines are produced by dividing the full range of students’ scores into 9 segments. An example of this is provided below:

In the analysis portion, each section score indicates the number of questions answered correctly, the number of questions answered incorrectly and the number of questions omitted or not reached. For each section, the score is broken down by type of question, providing more specific information about a student’s relative strengths and weaknesses.

Get to Know The SSAT

The SSAT is administered several times a year and accepted by schools across the globe.  It is a flexible standardized test that can be administered online, paper-based, or at home.

The objective of the SSAT is to quantify 3-11th graders’ critical thinking and qualifications for admission into elite, private elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools.

The SSAT provides various levels of the exam depending on the student’s grade.  The Elementary Level is for students in grades 3-4, the Middle Level is for students in grades 5-7, and the Upper Level is for students in grades 8-11.

The goal of the SSAT is to provide schools with conventional data points across several testing sections that can be utilized to evaluate all applicants. 

The goal of the SSAT is to provide schools with conventional data points across several testing sections that can be utilized

"The best way to predict your future is to create it." 
—Abraham Lincoln

The SSAT consists of:

  • Quantitative

  • Verbal

  • Reading 

Writing Sample 

Experimental section 

The scoring on the exam is broken down into three sections, which are converted into the student’s overall percentile and a total scaled score.

The admissions committees use a student’s scores, focusing primarily on the scaled score and overall percentile, to compare to other applicants. 

School admissions representatives examine an applicant’s SSAT score in conjunction with a student’s school records, teacher recommendations, extracurricular activities, and interviews before making an admissions decision. 

The significance of the SSAT in the private elementary school, middle school, and high school application process varies from school to school based on each school’s approach to admissions. However, the higher a student scores on the exam, the greater the chances of that student being accepted into elite private schools.

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