What Houston Schools Require the ISEE? What is the ISEE?

What is the ISEE?

The ISEE is a private school entrance exam for students entering middle and high school
The ISEE is a private school entrance exam for students entering middle and high school

The Independent School Entrance Exam, or ISEE, is a series of placement tests primarily used for admissions to private schools. The ISEE is geared towards students applying for the fifth grade and above, and there are three versions of the test: ISEE Lower Level, ISEE Mid Level, and ISEE Upper Level. The ISEE Lower Level is taken by students entering grades 5 and 6, Mid Level for those entering grades 7 and 8, and Upper Level for 9th grade and above. Most schools require the ISEE exam, though many will also accept scores from the High School Placement Test, or HSPT, in lieu of the ISEE.

How is the ISEE Scored?

The ISEE is unique in terms of standardized testing in that it scores students based on stanines, which determine how your student performed relative to other students. The lowest stanine is a 1, and the highest stanine is a 9. The following is a table adapted from the ERB, the entity which administers the exam, and details how stanines roughly correspond to percentiles.

Stanine Percentile Rank
1 1-3
2 4-10
3 11-22
4 23-39
5 40-59
6 60-76
7 77-88
8 89-95
9 96-99

What is a Good Score on the ISEE?

A “good” score is relative to the school you wish to apply to. Each school has its own set of standards, so a 7 at one school may be sufficient for admissions while another may require an 8. Contact your specific schools to find out about their ISEE averages, though as a general rule of thumb, stanine scores of 7-9 are generally considered above average.

How many times can I take the ISEE?

In effect, you can only take the ISEE once. Though you can technically retake the exam, the ERB reports only your lowest score to schools, so retaking the ISEE is not advantageous. Make sure you’re prepared for the test the first time around!

What schools require the ISEE?

We’ve compiled a list of popular Houston private schools that require the ISEE. Note that this information may change, and the schools may require other tests in addition to the ISEE, so double-check with the schools you attend to apply to for the most up to date and accurate information.

School ISEE
St. John’s Y
Kinkaid Y
Strake Jesuit  Y1
Awty Y
John Cooper Y
St. Agnes Y
Emery/Weiner Y
The Village Y
St. Stephen’s Y
Duchesne Y
The Woodlands Preparatory Y
British School of Houston N
Robert M. Beren N
St. Thomas N2
Rosehill Christian Y3
Houston Christian Y
Incarnate Word Y1

1 Will accept the HSPT in lieu of the ISEE

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2 Requires the HSPT

3 Will accept PSAT, SAT, or ACT scores in lieu of the ISEE

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