ESE Research Update, August 2012- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Office of Planning and Research

ESE Research Update, August 2012

Research from ESE

  • Massachusetts Expanded Learning Time (ELT) Initiative Case Studies 2010-2011 ELT Report. On behalf of ESE, Abt Associates examined the implementation of the Extended Learning Time Initiative, with case studies of the practices observed at three participating Massachusetts ELT schools. Although the researchers report considerable variation in practice between schools, among the findings common to all three schools were an instructional focus on MCAS preparation during core academic instruction and academic support times (perhaps due to the spring timing of study visits), use of data to guide instruction, and a positive perception by students and teachers of enrichment instruction.

Research on Massachusetts Education Policy

  • The Academic Achievement of Latino Students in Boston Public Schools. This paper by the Gastón Institute examined the MCAS performance of Latino students enrolled in Boston Public Schools from 2006 to 2009. Boston's Latino students were the district's largest ethnic subgroup and had the highest rates of poverty, mobility, and absenteeism. Although Latino students made the largest proficiency gains between 2006 and 2009, overall the subgroup's MCAS scores were the lowest in the district.
  • A Changing Bureaucracy, The History of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. This white paper from the Pioneer Institute surveys the history of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in light of its expanded responsibilities after the 1993 education reform law and discusses challenges the agency faces in, for example, holding schools and districts accountable while also providing support, supervising the establishment of charter schools, and creating and implementing a system of teacher evaluation.
  • Educating the Next Generation of Massachusetts Teachers: Building Effective Partnerships in Preparation and Support. In this paper the Rennie Center outlines a new three-year model for post-baccalaureate teacher preparation and development via Professional Development Schools, aimed at improving the quality of the educator workforce statewide. Their model promotes activities and strategies with strong evidence of improving teacher preparation and/or practice.
  • Mass Math + Science Initiative. Commissioned by Mass Insight Education, this evaluation report discusses the impact of the Mass Math + Science Initiative (MMSI) on students' participation and success on Advanced Placement exams. The preliminary findings indicate that MMSI is associated with an increase in the number of AP exams taken by students overall and by African-American and Hispanic students in particular. MMSI is also associated with increased numbers of students achieving AP scores of 3 or higher.
  • School Choice Survey. A phone survey of 500 likely Massachusetts voters, conducted by the DAPA Research Team on behalf of the Pioneer Institute, found that a majority favored policies allowing charter schools to operate with greater flexibility regarding increased enrollment, tax credits, and school vouchers. 52 percent of respondents rated Massachusetts schools a 5 or above on a 7-point scale of quality.
  • Taking Root: Massachusetts' Lessons for Sustaining the College- and Career-Ready Agenda. One of Achieve's 4 case studies of effective state education reform efforts, this report examines the conditions that have sustained successful reform in Massachusetts over the last 15 years. Among the effective strategies Achieve identified in Massachusetts are: external champions of change committed to implementation over time, strong political and educational leadership, transparency, and early and frequent engagement of stakeholders.
  • Urban and Rural Poverty and Student Achievement in Massachusetts. In this white paper, the Pioneer Institute examines public education in Massachusetts for low-income students through the lens of urban and rural populations, finding that in the last decade rural low-income students have seen stronger academic improvement than low-income students living in urban communities, a reversal of earlier trends.

Last Updated: August 10, 2012

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