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When the National Association of Independent Schools held its annual convention in Washington this month, members learned about a new source of information on the applicant pool for independent schools.

The Secondary School Admission Test Board, which administers the primary admission test used by many private schools, began last fall to collect more personal and family background data from test takers.

Included is information on the parents' employment, education, and income level, and on the student's ethnic background and extracurricular interests, as well as the factors they weigh in choosing a school.

The information gathered last fall will go into the first national database on applicants to independent schools, said Regan Kenyon, executive director of the ssatb

The board will provide each of its member schools with a data report that will summarize trends in the national applicant pool. For a fee, member schools will be able to order reports examining trends among their own applicants.

The ssatb also plans to offer more detailed reports, called market analysis profiles, tailored to the needs of a particular school or group of schools. For example, a group of schools might want to track the importance of a school's college-placement record among various ethnic groups or geographic regions.

The system will be similar to the student descriptive questionnaire on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, Mr. Kenyon said.

Additional information on the market analysis profiles is available from the ssatb, Suite 314, 20 Nassau St., Princeton, N.J. 08542.


Inspired by last year's report from the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development that called for developmentally appropriate education for young adolescents, nais has published the "Middle School Handbook.''

The book, written by Harry Finks, director of the middle school at Lakeside School in Seattle, offers examples and advice on such topics as curriculum, parents, advisory groups, multicultural education, and transitions to high school.

Copies of the book are available for $15 each for members and $20 for nonmembers from nais's publications department, (617) 451-2444.


Nais has also just published its annual free guide to summer programs at boarding schools across the nation. The booklet is organized by geographic region, and includes a description of each program; the names, addresses, and phone numbers of contact persons; starting and ending dates; and eligibility guidelines. It can be ordered by calling (800)541-5908.--mw

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