The beauty of performance assessment

The use of written standardized tests to determine admission to elite schools is under attack for failing to produce desired diversity (“The ‘Fame’ High School Is Known for the Arts. Should Algebra Matter There?” The New York Times, June 3).  But there is more to the story.

Schools that specialize in the performing arts should continue to use auditions before a panel of trained judges rather than cave in to pressure to use traditional standardized tests.  I have reference now to LaGuardia High School in the New York City system.  It is the only one of nine specialized high schools that does not use a single standardized test.  And it so happens it has greater racial diversity than its counterparts, with about half of the 2,800 students white, 20 percent Asian and a third black and Hispanic.

The arts by their very nature are virtuosic endeavors.  As a result, judging them will always be inherently subjective.  That’s why auditions remain the most realistic way of determining admission.

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