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New BPS Exam School Policy Increased Diversity in Admission Invitations for SY 2022-23
BOSTON — May 11, 2022 — Boston Public Schools (BPS) Superintendent Brenda Cassellius today released data showing that the district’s new exam school admissions policy increased the socioeconomic, geographic, and racial diversity of students who were invited to attend the district’s exam schools for the 2022-2023 school year.
“The driving focus of our work at BPS over the past three years has been to increase access to a wide variety of opportunities for all of our students, especially those who have encountered barriers for far too long,” said BPS Superintendent, Dr. Brenda Cassellius. “It is incredibly gratifying to know that the policy is working as intended and as a result, more Boston students have an equitable chance to get an excellent education.”
An analysis by the BPS Office of Data and Accountability showed that the new Exam School policy increased the diversity of those invited to attend the district’s three exam schools - Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy, and the John D. O’Bryant School of Math and Science. When compared to grade 7 invitations sent for the 2020-2021 school year, historically underrepresented groups of students received an increased percentage of invitations: students experiencing housing insecurity, in the care of the Department of Children and Families or living in housing owned by the Boston Housing Authority (+6 percentage points); economically disadvantaged students (+10 percentage points); English learners (+5 percentage points); and students with disabilities (+3 percentage points). Approximately 76% of invitations went to students of color, an increase of 16 percentage points from SY20-21 invitations.
For SY22-23 admissions, there were a total of 1,283 eligible applicants in 7th grade. Of the total eligible applicants, 1,000 students (78%) received invitations to an exam school for 7th grade. 85% of invited students received an invitation to their first-choice school, 11% to their 2nd choice school, and 4% to their third-choice school. Overall, there were 462 invitations to Boston Latin School, 321 to Boston Latin Academy, and 217 to the John D. O’Bryant School. For grade 9, 43% or 424 of the 984 eligible applicants were invited to an exam school.
“The new admissions policy provides a transformational opportunity for many students to attend our exam schools who otherwise may not have had the chance,” said Jeri Robinson, School Committee Chairperson. “This new policy opens the door for many of our students while still ensuring the high levels of rigor for which the exam schools are known.”
Exam School invitations were sent to students in Grades 7 and 9 on April 29, 2022. These are the first invitations to be issued under the new Exam School Policy, which was thoughtfully crafted by a city-wide School Committee task force, recommended by Superintendent Cassellius to the School Committee and approved by the Boston School Committee in July 2021. The goal of the new admissions policy is to increase access to the district’s exam schools for all Boston children by removing barriers and increasing opportunity. The data from this year’s exam school invitations demonstrates that the new admissions policy increased the socioeconomic, geographical and racial diversity of students who received invitations to the District’s exam schools. A student population that reflects our City’s rich diversity improves the educational experience of all Boston students.
The 2022-2023 school year for BPS students starts on September 6, 2022.