Exam Schools

  • The Boston Public 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 schools accept new students for grades 7 and 9. The O’Bryant School also accepts a limited number of new students for grade 10.

    Students who are interested in attending an exam school must complete an application process that includes taking an exam, submission of grades, and ranking the schools in order of preference. Parents of students not currently enrolled in BPS are also required to confirm Boston residency at a BPS Welcome Center. Additionally, we encourage you to use this website as a resource for updated information as well as this list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). If you have additional questions, you may contact the exam school admission team by emailing exam@bostonpublicschools.org.

    Historically, BPS has used the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE). The current contract with Educational Records Bureau (ERB), the organization that administers the ISEE test, expires on June 30, 2020. Due to the contract ending, BPS has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) to secure a new admissions test for the next admissions cycle, which begins September 2020.  We intend to announce a new admissions test by this summer. Please refer to the “Exam School RFP Process” link on the left panel for more information. 

    Exam Schools RFP

    Superintendent Cassellius’s letter to the Boston Public Schools Community

     


    Information about the Current Admission Cycle for School Year 2020-2021 Enrollment

    Criteria for Admission:  The student’s scores on the admission test count for 50% of the admissions decision.  The student’s Grade Point Average counts for the other 50%.

    Ranking School Choices:  The Exam School Admissions Office has distributed school choice forms to collect ranked preferences between the three exam schools. You are also able to rank other BPS school options on this form, if you so choose. Parents are able to apply to one, two, or all three exam schools for grade 7 and 9 admission. Students currently in grade 9 may only apply for grade 10 admission at the John D. O’Bryant School. Ranking your exam school preferences is not an indication of invitation to an exam school. We collect school rankings from all applicants prior to sending out invitations.

    Notification of Invitation: Admission decisions are sent to families in mid-March to both the mailing address and parent email address on file. The decision letter will include the student’s test scores, calculated GPA based on marks submitted by the applicant’s school, how the student ranked among other applicants, and their admission status.

    Admission decisions are final.  Currently, BPS exam schools do not have waitlists. BPS does not offer an appeal process since admission is strictly based on student academic performance. 


    Information about the Next Admission Cycle for School Year 2021-2022 Enrollment (current 5th, 7th, and 8th graders)

    During the 2019-2020 school year, BPS administered the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) for BPS 6th graders during the school day. Beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, although a new test will be in place, the test administration during the school day will expand to include both BPS 6th and 8th graders. The school-based test is not mandatory and only families interested in applying to the exam schools need to take this test. Registration for in-school testing is not required however, we encourage families to register to ensure a smooth test day for all students. BPS will continue to offer additional testing days on the weekend for all students. Registration for the weekend test dates is required.  

    Once testing dates for Fall 2020 and the registration process have been finalized, the information will be publicized and posted at www.bostonpublicschools.org/exam. 

    Register for the Exam School Entrance Test

    Eligibility

    Students must be currently enrolled in grades 6, 8, or 9 in order to take the exam and apply for admission to the BPS exam schools. 

    How to Register

    Test registration materials will be made available across the City of Boston for the next admission cycle, beginning in September 2020. We will continue to provide updates on this process throughout the winter and spring at www.bostonpublicshools.org/exam. Please check back for updated information.


    Request Testing Accommodations (for students who have Limited English Proficiency and who have a disability)

    Test accommodations are any modifications made to the exam or testing conditions that allow students with disabilities or with limited English proficiency to fully participate in testing. Common accommodations include extending the length of time students receive to complete the exam and having a small group of 10 or fewer students in the test room. The English Learner (EL) test accommodation allows for the use of a bilingual dictionary and/or extended time on an exam.

    Eligibility:

    • To request test accommodations based on a disability, the student must have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan.
    • To request the English Learner (EL) test accommodation based on limited English proficiency, students not currently enrolled in BPS are required to take an English Proficiency Test provided by the BPS Newcomer Assessment Office to determine eligibility. Current Boston Public Schools students must have an English Language Development (ELD) level 1-5 to be eligible for this accommodation.

    Residency Verification

    Parents of students who are not currently enrolled in the Boston Public Schools are required to complete the Residency Verification Process in person at a BPS Welcome Center in order for their student to be eligible to take the admissions test.

    Students who must complete the Residency Verification Process include:

    • Students attending private school
    • Students attending parochial school
    • Students attending METCO program schools
    • Students attending Commonwealth Charter schools (excludes UP Academy, Boston Green Academy, and other “in district” BPS charter schools)
    • Students attending schools outside the City of Boston
    • Students being home-schooled must demonstrate that both the student and parent/guardian live in the city of Boston through the residency verification process

    If the student attends a public school outside of the Boston Public School district, we will require a letter from the respective Superintendent from that city or town stating that they are aware of Boston residency, as per our requirement, but attending their public school. The letter must be original, notarized, on school district letterhead, and must be presented in person with the BPS required residency documents during the verification period. (Not applicable for students attending METCO program schools.) 

    Note: The residency verification must be completed even if you have other children enrolled in the Boston Public Schools; your student is receiving special education services from BPS; you are a current city employee; or if your child was previously enrolled in the BPS.

    The dates for the residency verification period will be made available on bostonpublicschools.org/exam. Please check back for up-to-date information.  If the residency verification process is not completed by the required deadline, the student will not be allowed to take the admissions test and will not be eligible for admission to a Boston exam school.


    Test Preparation

    We know some parents are already thinking about how to help their child prepare for the admissions process and some may have already begun test preparation. The best test prep is daily attendance in school and learning grade-level reading and math. For those who are already participating in test prep programs, we encourage you to speak with the provider to ensure the materials are appropriate for your student’s grade and aligned to Massachusetts learning standards.

    The Exam School Initiative (ESI), a program managed by the Office of Opportunity Gaps, strives to increase diversity in the three Boston exam schools – Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy and the John D. O'Bryant School of Math & Science. The annual program assists invited students in preparing for the admissions test. ESI runs for two-weeks in August with fall refresher courses in the weeks leading up to the admissions test.

    This year, BPS will continue to run ESI, and aims to make the program available to more students, particularly Black, Latinx, English Learner, and low-income students. Enrollment is by invitation only and aims to have proportional representation from every school across the district. BPS schools have been asked to nominate students according to the following prioritizing criteria: 1) students of color, 2) students who are economically disadvantaged, 3) students with ELA and Math grades between a A and B or 4 and 3 (depending on how the school grades), and 4) students with high performance on standardized tests such as MCAS or BPS interim assessments. Following nominations, families will receive invitation letters with more information on how to complete the program’s enrollment process. 

    Interested students from METCO, private, parochial, and charter schools will be selected by lottery (enter the lottery here). If you have additional questions, please contact the Office of Opportunity Gaps at examschoolprep@bostonpublicschools.org or 617-635-9419.


    Ranking Exam School Preferences and Grade Collection for the 2021-2022 School Year Enrollment

    Even though a new test will be in place, the exam school admissions process will remain unchanged. We will continue to make admissions decisions based on exam scores, Grade Point Average (GPA) calculated from student marks, and Boston residency.

    Ranking School Choices: After the test administration, in January, the Exam School Admissions Office will distribute school choice forms to collect ranked preferences between the three exam schools. You will also be able to rank other BPS school options on this form if you so choose. Parents are able to apply to one, two, or all three exam schools for grade 7 and 9 admission. Students currently in grade 9 may only apply for grade 10 admission at the John D. O’Bryant School. Ranking your exam school preferences is not an indication of invitation to an exam school. We collect rankings from all applicants prior to sending out invitations.

    Grade Collection: The Grade Point Average (GPA) is based entirely on the marks submitted by your child’s school. If your child attended a different school last year, other than a Boston Public School, please make sure the current school has a copy of the official transcript. (Note that previous year marks are not required for students applying for grade 10 admission). Student grade information is collected directly from the applicant's current school.


    Notification of Invitation

    Admission decisions are sent to families in mid-March to both the mailing address and parent email address on file. The decision letter will include the student’s test scores, calculated GPA based on marks submitted by the applicant’s school, how the student ranked among other applicants, and their admission status. Admission decisions are final.


    Resources 

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Superintendent Cassellius’s Letter to BPS Community Regarding Admissions Test Change