TUSD Adds Motivation Test To Admissions Process For UHS

September 16, 2013

The Tucson Unified School District has been under court supervision for decades as part of a mandate to desegregate its schools. Now the district is proposing an addition to the admissions process for the selective University High School.

The idea is to add a motivation test that could measure how persistent certain students are. Adelita Grijalva, president of TUSD’s governing board, says the hope is to increase the number of minority students at University High School.

“It’s not going to change any of the entrance requirements,” Grijalva said. “They’re still going to have to do their test, they’re going to have do an essay. This is just going to be another layer to aid administration in assessing whether a minor, if perhaps their score was a little bit lower than some of the others in the cohort, if they feel with this test that they would be able to adjust easily to the rigor and the workload.”

Governing Board member Cam Juarez says with minority students at University High School, the problem is not always getting into the school, but sticking with it.

 “Even if you do have students that have had amazing GPAs at their schools, when they get to this particular high school, the retention is difficult to keep up with some of our minority students,” Juarez said. “So after maybe a semester, or even a whole school year, they decide that they’re going to go to a traditional high school.”

Students applying to University High School will still need a 3.0 GPA and to do well on the entrance exam. But if it’s approved, a good score on the motivation test would help their chances of admission if they come up short in the other categories.

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