Boston: Exam school test administrator clashes with BPS over use of admissions test

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.

Elite or elitist? Lessons for colleges from selective high schools

An in-depth report on the state of specialized high schools across the nation.

NYC specialized high schools are the only “one-exam-only” admissions in 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.

The Education Exchange: Making Exam Schools More Diverse in Boston

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.

https://www.educationnext.org/education-exchange-making-exam-schools-more-diverse-boston-goodman/

Exam High Schools and Academic Achievement: Evidence from New York City

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.