Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ) was designed to provide an elite, high-tech education for the most academically gifted students in Northern Virginia. Since its inception, TJ applicants had been sorted first by test scores and grades, with scores weighted at 80 percent and grades at 20 percent. In an attempt to close the excellence gap, the admissions guidelines were revised in 2004 to include a sliding scale, so students with less than stellar test scores could be included in the semifinalist pool as long as their grades were high enough. Despite the changes, however, there was no statistically significant increase in the number of students admitted to TJ from underrepresented groups. To learn more, read the full article, “A Stubborn Excellence Gap.”

—Education Next

Last updated July 5, 2018