The new admissions system will still weigh test results and grades, but, following a model pioneered in Chicago, it will also introduce ways to select applicants who come from poor and disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Under the new system, the applicant pool will be divided into eight groups based on the socioeconomic conditions of their neighborhoods. The admissions team will consider applicants within each group, admitting the top students in each tier in roughly equal numbers.
Brabrand said the more-representative nature of TJ’s newest class will have everyday benefits as students interact in classrooms, in hallways and on the playing field, learning to understand and love people different from themselves. And, he added, these advantages will persist into students’ professional lives.
“These kids are going to be more equipped, with their diverse backgrounds and stories, to really bring a holistic look at the power of science and technology to improve our country and our world,” he said.
Boston Public Schools have for years misused the test results that help determine admissions to its coveted exam schools, in a way that makes it harder for “underrepresented” students to win admissions, according to the organization that administers the controversial exam.
The fairness of the admissions process to the three exam schools—Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy, and the John D. O’Bryant School of Math and Science—has been a contentious subject in recent years. Several civil rights groups and community organizations have argued that the admissions process, based half on student grades and half on their scores on the test, called the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE), has disadvantaged low-income students, particularly Blacks and Latinos.
An in-depth report on the state of specialized high schools across the nation.
reformers might do better instead to look to Chicago’s use of area-based geographical tiers. One advantage of this system is that it retains the high-stakes entrance examination but takes inequality into account by having students with similar backgrounds compete against each other rather than pooling students from all backgrounds into one group.
The most radical option is for cities to simply abolish their selective high schools.
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.