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).
Exam school notification
The next ISEE administration will be held on Saturday, November 8, 2014 at twelve testing locations in Boston. The BPS Independent Schools Entrance Exam (ISEE) administration consists of four subtests (essay component not included). The Middle Level test will be used for candidates entering grade 7, and the Upper Level test will be used for candidates entering grades 9 and 10. Students must register in advance and should check this site in the summer for more information. For more information about the subject areas of the exam, please visit www.iseetest.org. Boston Residency Policy
Students must be residents of Boston to apply for and attend an exam school. This means that students planning to take the test in November 2014 for admission to one of the district's three exam schools, the parent/guardian must demonstrate Boston residency in person at a Welcome Center before the student takes the exam.
Current Applicants for September 2014 – Next Steps
Students that have taken the ISEE and submitted Boston residency documents will move forward in the application process for admission to the exam schools. The next step is the collection of student grade information from the applicant’s current school for the Grade Point Average (GPA) process.
The GPA for the exam school application is based on final marks in English and Math from the previous school year (grade 5 or 7) and from the first two marking periods of the current year. For candidates with fifth grade academic records from the Boston Public Schools, the Spring term marks will be used.
Candidate Release Forms will be distributed in January 2014 through the applicant’s current school. Parents must follow directions provided by the school for the grade collection process. Schools must return all completed forms to Enrollment Planning & Support by January 31, 2014.
Decision letters will be mailed to the applicant’s home in mid-March 2014.
For more informationFrequently asked questions
Q: Is there a wait list for the exam schools?
A: No, there is no wait list for the exam schools.
Q: If invited students do not accept their seats, can my child be considered again?
A: There is no second round of consideration. BPS over-invites students to the exam schools with the knowledge that a percentage of students will decline their invitation. This practice removes uncertainty about September school plans.
Q: How does the BPS calculate the GPA?
A: The Grade Point Average is based on final marks in English and Math from the previous school year (grade 5 or 7) and the first two marking periods of the current year. Grade information must be in letter form and will be entered as submitted by the student’s current school. For candidates with fifth grade academic records from the Boston Public Schools, the Spring term marks will be used. Parents may contact their child’s school directly regarding grades before submission to Enrollment Planning & Support.
Q: When are applicants to the exam schools notified?
A: Admission letters are mailed home to families in mid-March.
Q: Will I know how my child performed on the entrance exam?
A: Yes. The admission letter will include the student’s Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) scores, Grade Point Average (GPA), and the cut-off rank for invitation to each school. To be invited to an exam school, students must perform (rank) below the cut-off for the school or schools that they have selected.
Q: Can I obtain my child’s test scores before invitations are mailed in March?
A: Parents may contact the Educational Records Bureau at 1-800-446-0320 to obtain a copy of the ISEE score report. Please be advised you may only obtain an ISEE score report if you send your child’s score to other ERB member schools. In addition, there is a fee for this service.
Q: Does the BPS use an essay, interview, or recommendations as part of the admission process?
A: No. The criteria for the exam school admissions process consists only of the ISEE scores and Grade Point Average, which equally account for 50%.
Q: How does the order of my choices between the three exam schools affect my child’s application?
A: The admission process is based on student academic performance. The acceptance process serves to invite students to their highest ranked school choice based on candidate rank, which is a composite score of a student’s ISEE score and GPA. This allows parents and students to choose a school based on their true order of preference. Acceptance into any of the exam schools is neither improved nor hindered based on the order of preference.
Q: Do I have to take the BPS November ISEE?
A: No. Families may decide to take the exam on an alternate date and location. However, the deadline for students to sit for a national test administration is November 16, 2013. Please contact the Educational Records Bureau at 1-800-466-0320 to register for a national test. There is a fee for this service.
Q: Is there a minimum ISEE score required for invitation?
A: There is no minimum ISEE score required for invitation. The benchmark for invitation varies for each exam school and changes every year depending on the pool of applicants.
Q: How many seats are available at the exam schools?
A: Seat availability at the exam schools can vary each year due to total school enrollment in the current school year. Retentions in grade and the number of students who actually accept invitations each year can affect total enrollment. In general, each school seeks to enroll the maximum number of students that can be reasonably accommodated in each building.
Q: Are the four sections of the ISEE weighted differently for each exam schools?
A: No. Each section carries the same weight.
Q: How do I interpret my child’s ISEE scores?
A: The ISEE is scored on a scale range of 760-940, with 940 being the highest score possible. The median score according to the scale range is 850. If a student receives scores above 850, the student is performing above average on the exam.
Q: When is the next ISEE test administration?
A: BPS last administered the ISEE on November 2, 2013. The dates for 2014 have not been set.