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Office of Planning and Research


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Success After High School

OPR's mission is to help ESE and the field implement effective policy and programs and make effective resource use decisions to improve student outcomes.

The Latest from our Team

  • The ESE Strategic Plan outlines the work ESE is doing to reach our goal of success after high school for all students
  • The research agenda details what ESE wants to learn in order to improve program implementation and outcomes
  • In our reports section, find the latest on education policy issues and state education programs in Massachusetts
  • Planning for Success is a collection of resources for district and school improvement planning
  • The VISTA survey is the most current and comprehensive set of findings on what educators are saying about the Commonwealth’s education priority areas
  • Use the DART (District Analysis and Review Tool) to explore ESE data (achievement, post-secondary, English Learners, finance, staffing, and more) over time, and compare your district or school to others across the state

ESE Research Update, Spring 2017
Research and Reports from ESE

In November 2016, AIR and the Institute for Strategic Leadership and Learning published a Turnaround Practices Field Guide that details common elements of effective turnaround efforts. The researchers selected four schools, differing in size and student demographics. The four schools had all exited Level 4 and continued to improve academic performance after exiting, and they exhibited one or more aspects of the four Turnaround Practices. Several themes emerged from their improvement stories, including "highly consistent, aligned, and rigorous instructional practices." The guide also distilled strategic lessons from how effective turnaround efforts proceeded during their first 100 days, such as "establish collaborative teaming structures to improve instruction" and "hir[e] a proven principal, who in turn has the autonomy to bring in an administrative team and hire teachers."

ESE commissioned the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute (UMDI) to conduct an evaluation of the Advancing STEM AP program, where ESE has partnered with Mass Insight Education to increase access, participation, and performance in AP science and math courses. In February 2017, UMDI released a report based on a 2016 educator survey Download MS WORD Document. Through the program, AP math, science, and English educators participated in professional development intended to help them improve teaching in their AP courses. In total, 229 educators responded to the survey. Around 80 percent of teachers reported that they moderately or substantially improved their content knowledge or pedagogical skills through the program. About 60 percent said that they moderately or substantially improved their ability to serve underrepresented students.

In February 2017, the Department published a Low-Income Student Calculation Study Download MS WORD Document . The report explored the impact of the Commonwealth's recent shift in how it measures student poverty. Previously, data on students' low income status was collected locally via individual paper forms. Now the Department identifies students as "economically disadvantaged" if they can be matched electronically as enrolled in select state assistance programs. Although the new approach identified fewer students in poverty than the previous one, the Legislature adjusted state budget rates for fiscal year 2017 to accommodate for the decreased counts. The new measure also identified recent immigrants-likely disproportionately refugees and undocumented immigrants-at lower rates than the previous approach, causing changes in the share of state aid allocated to districts that serve those students. The report recommends improvements to the matching process and additional research to address the underrepresentation of immigrants in the current measure.



Last Updated: March 31, 2017
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