Understanding TACHS - the entrance exam for Catholic High School

Admissions
Testing. David Fischer/Getty Images

One type of private school is a Catholic school, for some Catholic schools in certain areas of New York, students must take the TACHS, or the Test for Admission into Catholic High Schools. More specifically, Roman Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn/Queens use the TACHS as a standardized admissions test. TACHS is published by The Riverside Publishing Company, one of the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt companies.

Purpose of the Test

Why does your child have to take a standardized admissions test for a Catholic high school when she has been in Catholic primary and middle schools since 1st grade? Since curricula, teaching and assessment standards can vary from school to school, a standardized test is one tool admissions personnel use to determine if an applicant can do the work at their school. It can help point out strengths and weaknesses in the core subjects like language arts and mathematics. The results of the test together with your child's transcripts give a complete picture of her academic achievements and preparation for high school level work. This information also helps the admissions staff recommend scholarship awards and make curriculum placement.

Test Timing & Registration

Registration for taking the TACHS opens August 22 and closes October 17, so it is important that families work to register and take the exam within the given time frame.

You may obtain the necessary forms and information online at TACHSinfo.com or from your local Catholic elementary or high school, as well as from your local church. The student handbook is also available in the same locations. Students are required to test within their own diocese, and will need to indicate that information when they register.

Your registration must be accepted prior to taking the test, and acknowledgment of registration will be given to you in the form of a 7-digit confirmation number, also known as your TACHS ID.  

Testing is administered once a year in the late fall. The actual test takes about 2 hours to complete.  Tests will begin at 9:00 am, and students are encouraged to be at the test site by 8:15 am. The exam will run until approximately 12 noon. The total time spent on the test is about two hours, but the additional time is used for providing testing instructions and pauses in between the subtests. There are no formal breaks.

What Does the TACHS Assess?

The TACHS measures achievement in language and reading as well as mathematics. The test also assesses general reasoning skills.

How is extended time handled?

Students who need extended testing time may be granted time accommodations under specific circumstances. Eligibility for these accommodations must be determined in advance by the Diocese. Forms can be found in the student handbook and Individualized Education Program (IEP) or evaluation forms must be included with the eligibility forms and state the approved extended testing times in order for the student to qualify.

What should students bring to the test?

Students should plan to bring with them two Number 2 pencils with erasers, as well as their Admit Card and a form of identification, which is typically a student ID or library card. 

Are there any restrictions on what students may bring to the test?

Students are not allowed to bring any electronic devices, including calculators, watches, and phones, including smart devices like iPads. Students may not bring snacks, drinks, or their own scrap paper for taking notes and working out problems. 

Scoring

The raw scores are scaled and converted into a score. Your score compared to other students determines the percentile.  High school admissions offices have their own standards regarding what score is acceptable to them. Remember: testing results are just one part of the overall admissions profile, and each school may interpret results differently.

Sending Score Reports

Students are limited to send reports to a maximum of three different high schools to which they intend to apply/attend. Score reports arrive in December for the schools, and will ship to students in January by way of their elementary schools. Families are reminded to allow for at least one week for delivery, as mail times may vary. 

 

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Kennedy, Robert. "Understanding TACHS - the entrance exam for Catholic High School." ThoughtCo, Jul. 2, 2017, thoughtco.com/understanding-tachs-entrance-exam-2774690. Kennedy, Robert. (2017, July 2). Understanding TACHS - the entrance exam for Catholic High School. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/understanding-tachs-entrance-exam-2774690 Kennedy, Robert. "Understanding TACHS - the entrance exam for Catholic High School." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/understanding-tachs-entrance-exam-2774690 (accessed May 26, 2018).