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BPS finds an exam for the exam schools

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.

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Comments

Just. STOP. testing.

Reserve a modest percentage of seats for private/parochial/transfer students to apply for. Then award the rest to a percentage of the top students from each school.

Some schools not as "good" as others? Well, FIX THAT.

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So you are always gonna need some sort of standardized test.

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You don't need a test.

Besides, proof of this?

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If you are taking the top 10% of each school, grade inflation is irrelevant.

Students aren't competing against other schools. They are competing within their own school.

That is the entire point of junking the tests.

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If students are chosen for these schools according to their class rank WITHIN their own school (say the top 5% from each school are offered admission) ... how does "grade inflation" possibly matter?

Grade inflation would have to be uneven "within" the school to matter. Not "between" the schools.

And that's only if differential grade inflation even exists *within* each school, which is something that you would need to document.

You might want to rethink your response according to basic statistical principles.

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But you can get straight As in a BPS for showing up, staying quiet, and just trying. Not so much at a catholic school. Just trying shouldn’t be able to cut it at an exam school

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Sounds like somebody who's unaware of the grade inflation at local parochial schools aimed at getting kids into an exam school.

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You would still be competing against others within that school for spots.

Ditto for any private school or public school.

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Are you joking!? Catholic school kids typically lag far behind public school kids in math and science. Your parents may pay to get you good grades in Catholic school, but once you get to university, students actually have to do the real academic work themselves.

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who need certain grades to meet NCAA clearinghouse requirements. Different schools do different things in regards to athletes in my experience with BPS.

But that is High Schools so I guess I don't know to document "grades" within middle schools. I do know that not all of the best athletes go to Boston Latin so maybe no test would be better.

But I wasn't responding based on an exact percentage like you said. The OP stated just a percentage. Either way if Boston Latin just took the top 5% from every school it wouldn't be Boston Latin anymore.

Bottom line is I think you need a test. It doesn't have to count for 90% or even 25% of an admission standard but there needs to be some sort of test.

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Unless you are saying that you want to perpetuate a system where opportunity is unequal, why wouldn't you just take the best from each school?

That establishes equity. Why do you think that kids who are disadvantaged aren't as smart as kids whose parents pay tutors to prep them for tests? I've tutored both and ... they are probably smarter than the pay for results kids.

You don't solve problems of inequity by heaping more inequity on top. If you are afraid that "latin wouldn't be latin", then level the playing field so the smartest kids get in, not the wealthiest.

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And maybe I should clarify that I’m not saying what I think Boston Latin should do, I’m saying what I think Boston Latin wants to do. I’m not sure they want to solve problems of equity, they want to be the best high school in the country (based on traditional college enrollment #s, test scores, etc)

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... on the public dime.

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then level the playing field so the smartest kids get in, not the wealthiest.

This is exactly what should happen. Admit the kids with a combo of the best grades and the best scores on a fair exam that covers material that everyone has been taught. Bingo!

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LOL!

You need to learn some stuff about what "equity" means.

Start here: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/equalityequity

TL/DR the "smartest" kids aren't the kids who happen to be born to wealthy parents who can support their school work, use privilege to get them into "good" schools, and hire them tutors.

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You don't live in Boston, why should we have to read your opinion on what happens at the Exam Schools in Boston? It is has been clearly pointed out to me that I should not butt in on matters within the Corporate Bounds of the City of Boston, why should you?

I really have no say in the matter in theory, even though I went to one of those "grade inflating" parochial schools, and then Latin, but you know I was one of those incredibly rich kids living in early 80's Dot where we jetted off St. Maarten or Monaco depending on the season giving no thought to hard work and the determination we needed to thrive since Mumsy and Daddy paid for it all.

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They have good reading comprehension classes for those who struggle. You can do it. We are pulling for you.

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Let’s say schools rank students 1-100 (best student is #1 to worst student #100 based on grades) Boston latin knows that student #30 at school A might get into an Ivy League School while student #10 at school B might not be able to get into any college. If you make Boston Latin take the top 15% at each school, they will be taking students who will bring their ranking down nationally. BLS doesn’t want that.

Maybe grade inflation is the wrong words to use here if school A isn’t “inflating” their grades. It may just be an “inferior” school. And that discussion goes down an entirely different wormhole...

You also have catholic schools with their different grading systems.

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1/7th to 1/8th of the day at a Catholic elementary school is spent on spells and potions (Sorry Religious Instruction).

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Great way to set kids up to fail. How do you know the “top students” from each school want to even attend the exam schools?

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Simple.

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Totally simple!

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Plenty of Boston, tax-paying families send their kids to private or parochial schools for the elementary grades. (Saving the city millions, by the way.) When it comes time to admit kids to the exam schools, if you live in Boston, you should have the same shot at an exam school seat, whether you went to BPS or somewhere else for elementary.

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They are offering the Exam School Initiative program to BPS students starting on 7/6, through the end of August, and they have not released the test content or sample problems to anyone else yet.

So the rising 6th graders in the BPS ESI program will have a head start on learning the new test material.

When is BPS going to make the new test content available to all families applying to the exam schools?

The test is going to be given in less than four months.

How does this level the playing field? How is this even legal?

All rising 6th grader should be able to have the same access to this information, not just those invited to the ESI program. Why are people being kept in the dark?

Do parents have to hire a lawyer to get BPS to be fair to all students applying this year?

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Some people seem to forget--or don't know--that the exam only counts for 50% of the way students are ranked. The other 50% is GPA. This is supposed to even the playing field between public and private school kids. A smart public school kid might do worse on the exam because of their terrible education but... they probably got all A's.

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I certainly hope BPS had the courtesy to let the high priced tutors in West Roxbury help pick out the new test. I'd hate for them to lose their edge.

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Didn’t take long for the
Westie haters to show.

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And as the parents of West Roxbury see attending BLS as a birthright for their children, a comment about the ways they try to secure said birthright should have been expected.

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On your child’s education is now a crime?

Would you apply the same thought to parents of METCO students? No that would be “racist”.

Being a good parent isn’t a fault.

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Well, that didn't take long. But I will take your thoughts on METCO as being racist, though.

And for the record, walking around the 02131 this spring, I've noticed a lot of signs for graduates of METCO high schools. That has got me thinking about the geographic spread of families in the program. I'd love to see that data. That said, are you denying the link between West Roxbury and the exam schools?

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Roxbury Latin?

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I graduated in the late 90s. It’s long history was of meritocracy and giving the average person a chance for their child to succeed if they had potential.

Since the quota has been removed it has turned into a semi-public private school. That’s a fact. Maybe you think it should be, or maybe you think it shouldn’t be but that’s the way it is.

I think Latin has gotten away from its roots. Think of the relative poverty of Ben Franklin himself. You need testing, you need to take the most promising students or they won’t make it. The hardest part of Harvard is said to be getting in, the hardest part of Latin is being there.

Perhaps adding a weight for coming from a BPS school would be a good compromise. Test, grades and a weighting. Since it’s not based on race it would pass constitutional muster.

The good thing is these days BLA and the O Bryant are both top notch so there’s at least other options.

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To BPSs budget and class size when precocial parents enroll their kids into BPS for 5th grade.

Boston residents are ENTITLED to a public education. This would overwhelm an already struggling system.

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If you send your kids for one or two years it would count less than those in BPS since k2.

Why shouldn’t a BPS school prioritize a student coming from another BPS school? There’s already “Pathway Schools” within the lottery system.

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