In Boston, nearly 25% of public middle and high school students attend exam schools, but these schools are much less diverse than the school district as a whole.
A new study looks closely at the entrance exam used to select students for these schools and at ways the admissions process could be changed to to make the schools more diverse without sacrificing academic selectivity.
Publicly funded exam schools educate many of the world’s most talented students. These schools typically contain higher achieving peers, more rigorous instruction, and additional resources compared to regular public schools. This paper uses a sharp discontinuity in the admissions process at three prominent exam schools in New York City to provide the first causal estimate of the impact of attending an exam school in the United States on longer term academic outcomes. Attending an exam school increases the rigor of high school courses taken and the probability that a student graduates with an advanced high school degree.