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.

    On July 2, 2020 BPS announced NWEA’s Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) Growth assessment as the new admissions test for the Boston exam schools. The exam is based on the Massachusetts standards that are taught in BPS and will cover material that students have seen in class. That means that there are no specific test preparation materials or workbooks, as were needed for the previous exam, and that students can best be prepared by attending school daily and participating in class.

    In August, a new Exam School Admissions Working Group was launched to develop a recommendation for a revised admissions criteria for this application year, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on student learning. The group includes current and former school leaders, parents, Civil Rights leaders, and alumni of the exam schools. The group is tasked with submitting a recommendation to the Superintendent by the end of September 2020, which will then be presented to the School Committee for consideration. Any decision would only be in effect for the next academic year. More information about registration and admissions criteria will be shared with the public after the School Committee approves the revised admissions criteria in mid-October.

    Information about the Next Admission Cycle for School Year 2021-2022 Enrollment


    Students must be enrolled in grades 6, 8, or 9 and live in the City of Boston in order to apply for admission to the BPS exam schools for school year 2021-2022.

    How to Register

    We will provide updates on this process as the district and state plans for school reopening and exam school admission requirements in light of COVID-19. Please check back for updated information.

    Testing Dates

    Test administration dates for Fall 2020 have not yet been determined. We are working with the Exam School Admissions Working Group to determine what a test administration session will look like in light of Covid-19. Please check back for updated information.

    Testing Accommodations (for students who have Limited English Proficiency or 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.

    Residency Verification

    Parents of students who are not currently enrolled in the Boston Public Schools are required to complete a Residency Verification Process.

    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

    As part of the verification process, parents are required to provide two Proofs of Residency that list the Boston home address, the child’s original birth certificate, the child’s immunization record, and the parent’s photo identification. 

    The dates for the Fall 2020 residency verification period are not yet available. Parents are not advised to complete a registration application with the BPS Welcome Centers at this time.

    Test Preparation

    We know families are thinking about how to help their child prepare for the admissions process. NWEA’s Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) Growth assessment is based on the Massachusetts standards that are taught in BPS and other area schools.  Because of this, there are no specific test preparation materials or workbooks, as were needed for the previous exam.  NWEA does provide a few resources on its website, including sample questions, so students can become familiar with the format of the exam and the online testing tools. You can view those here.  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),  managed by the Office of Opportunity Gaps, is a racial equity initiative that intends on expanding access to historically underrepresented students - Black, Latinx, English Learner, and economically disadvantaged students -  to the district’s exam schools: Boston Latin Academy, the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science, and especially at Boston Latin School. As a targeted strategy of the Boston Public Schools, ESI enrollment is by invitation only and prioritizes BPS students. The ESI Virtual Extension and Summer Institute have already taken place for 2020. The fall “Ramp Up” sessions have been canceled and will not take place this school year. For more information on ESI, please contact examschoolprep@bostonpublicschools.org.  


    Superintendent Cassellius’s Letter to BPS Community - April 20

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