I know I've written about this before, but you'll find, through this process, things resonate more when they're more relevant.
Screens. Every screened school makes up their own and they could include: test scores, grades, attendance, additional testing, essays, interviews, portfolio reviews, auditions. And then, each school individually decides, based on what they ask for, how to analyze that data when ranking kids. Again, this should be transparent and if you don't see ranking rubrics on a website, you can absolutely ask for that info.
Last year I thought about these screens in a different way and while it's totally obvious, it kind of blew my mind.
Screens can be objective (data only) or subjective (additional info asked for). When schools are ranking solely on data, it goes by the numbers. Hard to fudge or make allowances or play with numerical facts. Screens that ask for more data have FAR MORE LEEWAY when ranking. They can ask anything, where your kid lives, goes to school, about extra curricular activities, if siblings attended, who you parents are etc., and those will can absolutely factor in.
Two citywide screened examples: Beacon and NEST.
Beacon sees report cards, writing samples, they meet kids in person and can ask anything they want during their interviews. All that collected info can be a part of their ranking process.
Starting this year, NEST is looking for data only. They're going to rank students based just on numerical info sent to them by the DOE.
Principals have more control of their potential student body when they ask for additional stuff in their screens. Principals who don't, don't.