Diocesan News

Catholic HS Admissions Test Goes Remote

Eighth-graders at Holy Child Jesus Catholic Academy are gearing up to take up the TACHS test next month. (Photo: Holy Child Jesus Catholic Academy)

WINDSOR TERRACE — The Test for Admission into Catholic High Schools (TACHS) will be administered online as the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold.

Students in the eighth grade who want to apply for Fall 2021 admission to Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Brooklyn — serving Brooklyn and Queens, the Archdiocese of New York, or the Diocese of Rockville Centre (Long Island), are eligible to take the exam next month.

The TACHS is a type of standardized test that measures both below-grade-level and above-grade-level aptitude through a multiple-choice format. The results of the TACHS and the applicant record from the student’s elementary school are used for high school selection.

According to Diane Phelan, associate superintendent for evaluation of programs and students in the Diocese of Brooklyn, the exam will continue to measure academic achievement in reading, written expression, and mathematics, along with general reasoning skills.

The test time is approximately two hours with time for directions and pauses between subtests.

Changes to Note

Normally, eighth-graders would take the test in person on a Saturday morning. Now, students must adhere to strict deadlines, will digitally receive a unique test session code, and will remotely take the test online and at home during an assigned day and time slot.

“There will be no walk-in test site and no late registration at all,” Phelan said. “If students miss the deadline, they have to apply individually to the high school(s) of their choice through the admissions department at the high school.”

Registration for the TACHS is open until 5 p.m. on Oct. 23. Students who need extended testing time must submit their
eligibility forms and accompanying documents by Oct. 9. After successfully registering, students must then submit their top three high school choices online by 5 p.m. on Nov. 5.

This year, the online exam will feature Proctorio, a record-and-review software that will be in use while the student is testing.

It Takes a Village

At Holy Child Jesus Catholic Academy in Richmond Hills, Queens, Principal Patricia Winters said the TACHS process is one of the most important things an eighth-grade student could participate in during their final year. In the last five years, about 70 percent of each HCJCA senior class has annually attended local Catholic high schools upon graduation, according to Winters.

Winters and her three eighth-grade homeroom teachers are currently doing everything they can to guide their 55 students during the process. That includes posting information about upcoming virtual open houses on their “high school happenings” bulletin boards in school, organizing in-class Zoom information sessions with local Catholic high schools’ admissions teams and sending TACHS-related deadline reminder emails to parents.

They also plan to host an upcoming “TACHS Test FAQ” Zoom meeting for parents, so that any questions or concerns can be addressed before the test is administered on Nov. 7 in the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Members from Christ the King High School’s admissions team virtually met eighth-graders at Holy Child Jesus Catholic Academy on October 2. (Photo: Holy Child Jesus Catholic Academy)

Winters noted that one major change that students should be mindful of is their digital admit cards, which will ultimately list their top three high school choices. Admit cards would have normally been mailed out, pre-COVID-19.

“This year, we won’t get those admit cards that the students typically bring with them to their assigned testing sites on the day of the exam,” Winters explained. “Now, they have to do that online, prior to the test. The three-digit, TACHS code for each individual high school must be correct and match up, otherwise, their high schools of choice won’t be able to receive their scores.”

With just weeks to go before her students take the exam, Winters emphasized the many moving parts happening behind the scenes. Parents will be reading and going over the official TACHS student handbook, some students will be attending virtual Catholic high school information sessions, and teachers will be filling out students’ applicant records that will be sent to the high schools.

“It seems like it’s far away, but it’s not, since it’s already October now,” Winters told The Tablet. “And though it’s a long and involved process, my teachers have a lot of experience with the high school admissions process.”