Exam Schools Frequently Asked Questions

  • In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on student learning, the Boston School Committee approved the suspension of the entrance exam for Fall 2021 admissions. Administering an exam during the public health pandemic in a way that meets public health guidance would be difficult, particularly given the uncertainty related to the progression of the COVID-19 virus. For more information on the new admissions criteria and application process, please review the FAQ provided below:

Use of Zip Codes

  • Why are you using zip code to assign priority to students as part of the temporary assignment process?

  • My family is homeless. How will this work for me as it relates to the order of zip codes by median family income with children under 18?

  • How is median family income with children under 18 determined within zip codes?

  • Is the Zip Code Rank List by Household Income available now?

  • How will you ensure that there isn't fraud regarding the zip codes?

Use of MCAS

  • Can I submit test scores from an assessment other than MCAS?

  • Will you be using the Scaled Score for MCAS or percentile ranking?

  • What will be used for students who did not take MCAS?

  • Do students who did not take MCAS have an advantage over students who did?

Use of GPA

  • Which GPA will be used for Exam School eligibility?

  • Will Advanced Work Class (AWC) classes be weighted within the GPA calculation?

  • How will you adjust for grade inflation?

  • If my child's GPA is higher than other applicants, will they receive a higher priority in the pool?

The Invitation Process

  • Is the invitation process basically a lottery?

  • How will the school district confirm the admission process works correctly, and there are no errors?

  • Why are there 10 rounds for the 80% of invitations?

  • Why are zip codes part of the invitation process at all?

  • Why is BPS allocating seats across 29 zip codes rather than its own 6 zones?

  • How do you settle on the 20/80 split?

The Application Process

  • Will there be sibling preference in exam school assignments?

  • What if my family moves to a new neighborhood (zip code) around the time for invitation decisions?

  • What if my family moved to Boston this year, and my child doesn't have prior report card grades from a Boston school?

  • What is the process for residency verification?

  • Is there an appeal process if my child does not qualify for the applicant pool based on your criteria or does not receive an invitation?

  • Will families have access to the student's rank within their school and the city?

  • What option is available to homeschool students? As the instructor, am I still able to provide the marks for my child's application?

  • Will the exam schools have a waiting list?

  • How would the school confirm that my child is performing at grade level ("verification that the student is performing at grade level based on the Massachusetts Curriculum standards")?

  • What is the process for submitting my child's grades or assessment scores for consideration?

  • Will BPS students receive a priority?

  • What option is available to students attending schools that do not provide traditional letter grades or participate in MCAS testing?

  • Why is BPS unable to administer the MAP test at all or remotely?

  • What other recommendations are included in the proposal?

  • Why are current grade 8 exam school students not allowed to apply for admission?

Communications and Community Engagement

  • How will families be notified of the new admissions process?

  • Will the district provide information sessions for the public?

  • Will the exam schools have open houses?