What private schools look for in the entrance exam

Educational Specialist Carolyn McWilliams shares advice on what kids can expect to be tested on when taking a private school entrance exam
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What private schools look for in the entrance exam

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An ISEE Exam stands for Independent School Entrance Exam. It's a test that is published by the Educational Records Bureau that is utilized to compare students apply to independent schools at the Sixth Grade level, the Middle School level, and the High School level. The Independent School Entrance Exam allows schools to compare achievements across school environments. This testing allows the school to be able to see verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning abilities of the student applying compared to their achievement in each of those areas. So we can look to see what the child's ability is in mathematics and their math achievement. We can look to see, in that way, where the child's potential might be, as well as, how we need to place them in our environment and if they are going to be able to access the curriculum that we present.

Educational Specialist Carolyn McWilliams shares advice on what kids can expect to be tested on when taking a private school entrance exam

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Carolyn McWilliams, MA

Educational Specialist

Carolyn is currently an educational therapist and educational consultant helping students, parents, and schools meet the challenges of gifted students with learning challenges through her offices in Santa Monica, California. Carolyn also does general consulting with schools on topics from curriculum development to teaching study skills to interpretation of student test scores.

Carolyn began her educational career in Santa Barbara, California, where she received her B.A. and M.A. and became a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Administration with an emphasis on Curriculum and Instruction. She served as a supervisor of student teachers and taught courses across the educational curriculum during her eight years at UCSB.

After completing her studies, Carolyn moved to Los Angeles where she served as the head of Adat Ari El Day School in Valley Village and as a consultant on issues of learning and instruction to Jewish day schools across the Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Spectrum, as well as to elementary and secondary schools of all types. During this time she also served on the faculty of California State University at Northridge.

The parent of three highly gifted daughters of her own (one with learning challenges), throughout her career, Carolyn has designed innovative strategies, as well as unique programs to help gifted students achieve life success. She established the Johns Hopkins Center for Academically Talented Youth (CTY) Summer Commuter Program held at the University of California Los Angeles and served as parent liaison for the CTY to the press and larger community. She was the founder and head of Bridges Academy, which serves a population of twice-exceptional students in grades 6-12, from 1994-2003 (bridges.edu).

Carolyn has been a classroom teacher in both Goleta Union and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. She was LAUSD Teacher of the Year, was one of five finalists for California Teacher of the Year, and was given an Outstanding Educator Award by the Los Angeles Times. She has published curriculum and articles in the areas of special education, social studies, English, educational computing, ESL, multi-cultural education, study skills, and classroom organization. She regularly presents at conferences and schools on topics related to curriculum, instruction, classroom organization, gifted students, and special needs populations. 

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