BPS last week announced it will use an exam developed by NWEA, an Oregon-based testing non-profit, for the city's three exam schools: Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy and the O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science.
NWEA’s test is an untimed, computer adaptive Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) Growth assessment in math, reading and language usage. Items on MAP Growth are strongly aligned to the Massachusetts Curriculum Framework grade-level standards, with a wide range of cognitive demand. Throughout the review process, NWEA provided compelling evidence that the assessment is valid for use with diverse student populations as evidenced by a breadth of bias reviews and statistical analyses. ...
BPS has worked to expand equitable access to the exam schools, particularly for Black and Latinx students who have historically been underrepresented. The MAP Growth assessment provides data during the school year that shows how student learning is progressing, lending the insight educators can trust to meet the needs of learners as they teach. The assessment also includes several built-in accommodations for students with disabilities and English learners. These factors create visibility to critical learning needs of students, so they can get the right degree of support.
BPS uses entrance-exam scores and grades to determine who gets into the three schools, mainly in seventh grade, but also in ninth and, for the O'Bryant, tenth grade. The district had long used a test called ISEE, but broke up with its vendor for good earlier this year.