Reader Question: Separate Assessments For Twins At Visiting/Testing Day?

Reader question: Are twins are tested/evaluated separately or together as part of the admissions process?


Anne Simon, Beyond The Brochure Co-Author and former head of Wildwood Elementary School, answers the question:


Answer: If the school has a one-on-one or paper and pencil assessment, of course the twins will be evaluated separately. If they are observed in a playgroup situation, an interesting question arises.


There will probably be more than one group time for these playgroups. There are usually too many children to have one playgroup for observation of applicants. Several groups are usually formed at different times for these kinds of assessments. This would offer an opportunity for twins to be in separate groups.


Teachers and administrators often circulate and observe children at play, taking notes on how they see the potential students: how do they separate from parents; what activities are they drawn to; how do they interact with materials and equipment available; how do they get along with other children; do they prefer individual or group activities; are they joiners or leaders? There will probably also be stations with more ‘academic’ projects where teachers will work individually with applicants to assess their prior knowledge.


If the twins are headed into separate classrooms, it makes sense to have them in separate observation groups. If there is only on grade per class and they will be together if admitted, then I expect the school will want to see them together. It is generally the school’s call, but parents certainly should have a voice in the matter.


What is important is for each child to have a chance to show who he/she is in the best light, but also one that is realistic and replicates the setting the child will find if entering the school. Remember that the goal of the admissions process is to put together a balanced group of students who will work and play together over time.


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Christina Simon: Los Angeles, California, United States I'm the mom of two kids who attended The Willows School in Culver City and Viewpoint School in Calabasas. My daughter is a graduate of Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism ('23) and my son is a sophomore at UPenn/Wharton ('26). I live in Coldwater Canyon with my husband, Barry, and our dogs. Contact me at

2 thoughts to “Reader Question: Separate Assessments For Twins At Visiting/Testing Day?”

  1. Hi Anon 1:41: Here's Anne's response to your question/comment above:

    I have seen schools willing to admit one twin and not the other, but there is usually a very obvious reason why this might be the case. I have had to make this difficult decision once, and that was because one twin had clearly evident special needs that my school could not accommodate. Also, some schools who have only one class per grade level have a policy of not having siblings in the same class. These are things that parents should openly discuss early on with the admissions folks so as not to head down a road to heartbreak. In most circumstances, schools are accepting the family as well as the child(ren), and they will welcome all or none.
    Thanks for the question!

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