The Anderson School PS 334 (“Anderson”) is a public school on the Upper West Side serving gifted children from grades K-8. The school is well-known in New York City for its excellent work with gifted and talented children, and it offers sixth and seventh grade admissions to a select group of students.
The application process is quite involved. Students need to submit an application and the top 200 applicants will take the Anderson admissions test. The selection process is merit-based and no preference is given to where students live, and there is not a sibling policy. Anderson also does not carry out interviews or ask to see portfolios of work.
Read on to find out more about Anderson Middle School admissions, and whether the Anderson school is the right school for your child if he/she qualifies.
Anderson Middle School Admissions| School Overview
The Anderson School was once part of PS 9 and started with under a hundred students, but it grew and became a standalone educational facility in 2005. Since then, the school has expanded to serve K-8 students, with around 600 students in total. In terms of its performance, Anderson peer schools include Hunter College Middle/High School and NEST+m school, among other gifted public schools in NYC.
On the Anderson School website, the school is described as providing an "intimate, differentiated and departmentalized instruction" which encourages "higher level critical thinking skills, creative problem solving, divergent thinking, research, independent study, collaborative projects and self-evaluation."
Anderson has a robust level of parent participation and donations, which makes possible plenty of offsite learning opportunities and allows teachers to use a wide variety of learning material in their classrooms. Students at Anderson experience many more opportunities than they would at most public schools, including overnight trips to brand new computers to versatile and challenging teachers.
Anderson Middle School Admissions Information
Admission to the Anderson School is extremely selective, so students who wish to join Anderson in sixth grade need to be prepared for a thorough application process and exams. The first step in the admission process is to submit an application packet to Anderson, which needs to include:
- Anderson School application, through the Anderson website
- Final fourth grade report card and teacher comments
- Math and ELA fourth grade exam scores, or independent/private school equivalent
- IEP paperwork if applicable
All of the students are ranked according to an admissions rubric, based on the application packets. This rubric covers topics such as attendance/lateness; grades for math, reading, writing, language; and test scores. The rubric specifically breaks down how many points are awarded on each measure. Note that the following chart shows the rubric for 2016-17. The rubric can change so be sure to check with Anderson that the rubric is the same for the year you are applying.
Anderson Rubric. Source: Anderson website.
After all of these students are ranked, the top 150 will be invited to the Anderson School to take an entrance exam, which includes a writing and math assessment. This exam is created by teachers at the Anderson School, and there are minimum scores for both the essay and math sections.
After students take this exam in January, they need to submit their fifth grade progress report and any teacher comments. The components for final admission are weighted as follows:
30% Entrance Exam – Essay Section
25% Teacher Comments and Recommendations
20% Entrance Exam – Math Section
10% Initial Eligibility Score (calculated from admission packet)
10% Fifth Grade Progress Report
5% Fifth Grade Attendance/Punctuality
Finally, using all of this information, the Anderson School will accept a small number of students to join in sixth grade. For example, in 2016, there were minimum 12 spots available. The process for joining in seventh grade is similar, though the number of available seats is much smaller – usually some Anderson School students switch to Hunter College High School, freeing up a few spots. Some students may not get accepted but be placed on a ranked waitlist. There are no eighth grade admissions.
Decisions by the school are made in May of each year, which coincides with other decisions from middle schools run by the DOE.
Please note that the school does not conduct interviews, and does not require any other materials (including portfolio) for assessment.
What's On the Anderson Admissions Test?
First of all, the Anderson test is what one might call a 'black box' exam. No sample tests are provided by the school, and the administration is quite cagey about providing any specific information to families.
All the information we offer below is based on communication with families we have worked with over the last 5 years, and who had children who took the test.
Please keep in mind that the Anderson school could decide to change the format and content of their test at any time.
So, what do we know? As with several other middle schools which 'screen' prospective students using a home-grown admissions test, the exam is created by the school with teachers' input, and is comprised of a math and a writing section.
We also know that Anderson takes pains to communicate that their screening exam is not a "standardized test”.
From our anecdotal understanding of the test, this is indeed true. The material is similar to what students have encountered before in general coursework, and tethered to the material on State tests, though not presented in the same format as State tests.
However, since the Anderson school uses an accelerated curriculum (Anderson students are learning one grade level ahead of their peers in non-accelerated schools and programs), prospective students also need to show they can manage more challenging and advanced material, in addition to proving their mastery of the basic grade-level curriculum.
We also know that the test is very different from the NEST+m test, which is modeled on the OLSAT E and which has a very different format than the traditional test format used by Anderson.
What is the Format of the Anderson Middle School Test?
Unlike many of the questions on State tests, the format is NOT multiple choice.
The timing of the test is flexible. Students can take up to 2 hours, and there is no strict requirement to do one section before another.
The school does not conduct interviews, and does not require any other materials (including portfolio) for assessment.
How to Prepare for the Anderson School Admissions Exam
Students can practice math questions and brain teasers before the exam to make sure they are ready to tackle challenging and difficult questions on the math section.
Working through a few sample writing prompts is a good idea for increasing comfort with essay sections.
However, it’s not enough to study for the test alone. In order to even sit for the Anderson School admissions test, students need to ensure that their fourth grade state exam scores are as strong as possible, along with their final report cards.
This may mean putting in some time with workbooks over the summer or other school breaks to bolster any weak areas, or hiring a tutor to help bridge a student's gaps in knowledge of fundamental concepts.
Make sure that attendance is excellent and that teacher comments fully reflect a student’s work. This can also make a difference in whether a child will be invited to sit for the entrance exam.
Origins Tutoring has prepared a number of students for the Anderson exam, and we would be happy to talk with you about any questions you have in terms of preparation for the exam.
Why Apply To The Anderson School?
The Anderson School is one of the most coveted public schools in NYC. There are many reasons for this, including those described above in the school overview.
The main reason, though, is the outstanding test scores that Anderson students achieve, which are shown in graphic form below. It's not hard to understand why so many families want their children to be educated in a school that gets these kinds of outcomes!
ELA Outcomes. Grades 3-8. 2015 and 2016
Math Outcomes. Grades 3-8. 2015 and 2016
Anderson Admissions Test | Will Test Prep Help?
Our two-track approach to mastering content and improving test-taking skills means that students will not only thoroughly understand the fundamental concepts and skills tested by the Anderson admissions test, but they will also excel in using essential techniques to improve attitude, endurance and focus.
Our students hone their independent thinking skills while developing a resilient mindset so they can perform on test day in a powerful, resourceful, creative and calm manner. Each student in our program receives the undivided attention and expertise of a dynamic and experienced coach who provides the framework to support each student on his unique path to becoming a master learner.
Please call 917.287.7927 now for a complimentary consultation to discuss how we can help your child achieve his or her personal best on the Anderson entrance exam.
This article has given you an overview of Anderson Middle School admissions. For more information on how to get into Anderson Middle School, please visit the Anderson website.