Boston

‘Extremely Regretful': BPS Miscalcuated GPAs Used to Apply to Exam Schools

About 20 students were mistakenly told they were eligible to apply, and over 40 were told they were not eligible when they actually were, according to The Boston Globe

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Boston Public Schools miscalculated grade point averages for about 70 students, according to The Boston Globe, leading to some students being informed they were eligible to apply for exam schools when they did not, in fact, meet the necessary criteria for admission.

The Globe obtained a letter it said is being sent out to families this week explaining that they made a mistake calcualting GPAs for rising 7th graders. About 20 students were told they were eligible to apply when they were not, and up to 47 were wrongly informed they were not eligible when they actually were.

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“Although we work with an external auditor to ensure the accuracy of our data, neither the external auditor nor BPS’ Office of Data and Accountability (ODA) caught the error before notices were sent out,” the letter to parents said. “We understand that this news may be concerning.”

Families were reportedly notified last week if they were eligible to apply for one of the city's three exam schools -- Boston Latin Academy, Boston Latin School and the John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science. All three schools accept new students for grades 7 and 9, and students must have a B or higher GPA to be considered.

The 9th grade students GPAs were reportedly not affected.

New eligibility notices are expected to be sent out later this week, the Globe reported.

"It is extremely regretful that the difference in calculations was only caught after the communication went out," Mayor Michelle Wu said when asked about the mishap on Wednesday. "Thankfully, this is early in the process, relatively speaking, so it wasn't after applications were processed and invitations to admissions had to be changed. But we still know that it is extremely disruptive to families."

She said school officials have been reaching out individually to families to clarify what happened and apologize. They're also working to make sure this doesn't happen in the future.

"It can be quite an intense time for our young people and their families," Wu said. "We know this confusion doesn't help as families are trying to make their decisions."

The Boston School Committee voted in 2021to change the exam school admission process in an effort to diversify the student body and take the weight of admissions off its entrance exam. The new policy focused admission more on academic achievement in the classroom and less on the admissions test. The admissions test was suspended during the coronavirus pandemic and school officials said that led to a more diverse student body.

This isn't the first time Boston Public Schools have had issues with mistakenly accepting or rejecting students from its exam schools. Back in 2020, 62 students were denied by schools they should have bene accepted to, and 67 were accepted for schools they didn't qualify for.

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