Exam Schools

BPS has three exam schools – Boston Latin Academy, Boston Latin School and the John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science. All three accept new students for grades 7 and 9. The O'Bryant School also accepts a few new students for grade 10. Admission is based entirely on a student's grades and test scores from the Independent Schools Entrance Exam (ISEE).

Application Process

The application process for the exam schools includes test scores from the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE), Boston residency, and student grade information.

ISEE Make-up Test

The registration period for the November 7th ISEE administration is closed.  BPS will offer a make-up test on Saturday, November 21, 2015 at Boston Latin School.  Students must be residents of Boston and enrolled in grades 6, 8, or 9 to take this exam.
The ISEE Bulletin is available in multiple languages and may be downloaded and printed by clicking the links below.
  • The ISEE make-up test is walk-in registration only. Boston students may attend the make-up test and register on site. Please refer to the residency and student identification requirements.
  • The ISEE administered by the Boston Public Schools consists of four subtests: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, and Mathematics Achievement. The Middle Level test is used for candidates entering grade 7 and the Upper Level test is used for candidates entering grades 9 and 10.
Application to the BPS exam schools requires both the student and parent/guardian to reside in the city of Boston. Parents of students attending private schools, parochial schools, METCO program schools, charter schools, schools outside the City of Boston, and students being home-schooled must complete the residency verification process in person by Friday, November 6, 2015.
  • The residency verification must be completed even if you have other children enrolled in the Boston Public Schools, are a current city employee, or if the child was previously enrolled in the BPS.
  • If residency is not verified by the required deadline, the student will not be allowed to take the ISEE and will not be eligible for admission to a Boston exam school.
  • Parents of current BPS students are not required to complete the verification process; however, please be sure to update your home address and contact information at a BPS Welcome Center if there are changes.
BPS Residency Policy
Residency Verification Locations & Schedule

Student grade information is used to calculate a Grade Point Average (GPA) and accounts for 50% of the criteria for admission. Candidate Release Forms will be distributed in early January 2016 for the collection of student grades and to rank exam school choices.
  • The GPA is based on marks in ELA/English and Mathematics from the previous school year (grade 5 or 7) and from the first two marking periods of the current year. 
  • For students with grade 5 academic records from the Boston Public Schools, the Spring term marks will be used to calculate the GPA. For students applying to grade 10 at the John O’Bryant School, only the current year marks will be considered.

Testing with Special Accommodations

Special accommodation testing is available for students who are unable to take the ISEE under standard conditions because of a documented learning difference or language ability.

To apply for a special accommodation due to a physical or learning disability, your child's school must submit a request form and a copy of his/her Individualized Education Program (IEP), 504 Plan, Neuro-Psychological Evaluation, or physician's letter documenting a health concern. The request form, which can be found via the link below, must include the parent's or guardian's original signature.

To apply for testing accommodations for English Language Learners (ELLs), the parent or guardian must submit a request form which can be found via the link below. Students who are not currently enrolled in the Boston Public Schools are required to take an English Proficiency Test on Saturday, October 24, 2015 to determine eligibility. ELL accommodations include the use of an approved word-to-word dictionary and extended time. Current Boston Public Schools students are not required to take the English Proficiency Test.

A limited amount of bilingual word-to-word dictionaries will be available in select languages and will be provided on a first come first served basis. To ensure the use of the word-to-word dictionary, please bring your own copy which is subject to inspection by the BPS. Approved bilingual dictionaries are limited to those that provide word-to-word translations and do not include definitions. Parents may purchase a dictionary from the following list of authorized distributors:

Please note that special accommodation testing will be held at Boston Latin School only. If you plan to request special accommodations for the ISEE, please make sure to select the Boston Latin School – Special Accommodations test center.

Please send all requests to the following address:

Maria Vieira
Boston Public Schools
Enrollment Planning & Support
2300 Washington Street
Roxbury, MA 02119

All requests must be submitted by October 2, 2015 to make arrangements for the November 7 exam. Confirmation letters will be mailed home during the last week in October detailing approved accommodations. Please be advised that special accommodations will not be granted at the test site without a confirmation letter from Enrollment Planning & Support.
Student Identification
All students must present positive identification at the test center. Examples of acceptable student identification include a passport, green card, or BPS One Card with photo. The passport and green card may be expired; however, the document must display a recent photo of the child.

If the student does not have photo identification, students may present any two items from the following list:
  • Social Security Card
  • Report Card
  • Birth Certificate
  • School ID
Students will not be admitted to the test center without proper identification under any circumstance.

Test Day Checklist 

In order for students to test on November 7th, your child must bring the following materials to the test center:
  1. ISEE Test Admission Ticket
  2. Student Identification
  3. Residency Verification Receipt (not applicable to current Boston Public Schools students)
  4. Five sharpened No. 2 pencils and an eraser
ISEE National Test Option
Families applying to private and independent schools, in addition to the Boston exam schools, should consider taking the ISEE at a national test site. A national test administration also includes an essay portion which many private and independent schools require as part of their application process (the BPS test administration does not include the essay). It is the parent’s responsibility to schedule, pay, and assure that their child tests no later than Saturday, November 21, 2015. Please remember to select the Boston Exam Schools, school code 888888, when you register for a national test. Test scores must be received by the BPS by Friday, December 4, 2015.

To view a list of national ISEE locations and to register for an exam, please visit www.iseetest.org. Please note that students may sit for one test administration within a six month period. If national testing is selected, parents are not required to register for the November 7th ISEE with Boston Public Schools.

For More Information

Contact BPS Enrollment Planning & Support at 617-635-9512
Email Maria Vieira at mvieira@bostonpublicschools.org

Contact Us

Enrollment Planning & Support

(617) 635-9512