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Office of Planning and Research to Close Proficiency Gaps

ESE Research Update, November 2010

Research from ESE

  • Student Mobility in Massachusetts Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document. This education research brief clarifies the new measures of student mobility developed by ESE, explains the causes and consequences of student mobility, and describes the 2008-2009 school year student mobility demographics and their MCAS performance. Roughly ten percent of the student population was mobile during the 2008-2009 school year, with more than half low-income and primarily in the early elementary and high school grades. Additionally, mobile students were not as successful as non-mobile students on the MCAS, even after controlling for low-income status.

Reports from ESE

  • Evaluation of the Commonwealth Pilot Schools Initiative: Key Finding Following Three Years of Study Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document. The UMASS Donahue Institute implemented a mixed methods study that integrated school, student, and educator-level data, interviews and surveys of school leaders, staff, and supporters, and school documents. The evaluation found varied improvement in school visions, cultures, and practices, staffing changes that required considerable accommodation at the district-level, and lost momentum in the Initiative's final year.

  • Evaluation of the Commonwealth Pilot Schools Initiative: Analysis of School-Level MCAS Results Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document. In this evaluation, the UMASS Donahue Institute reported on the extent to which student achievement at the five participating schools improved during their tenure in the Initiative. The evaluation found that three schools increased performance in English language arts and only one school reported consistent positive growth in mathematics.

Research on Massachusetts Education Policy

  • Charter School Caps and Strings Attached: The Achievement Gap Act of 2010 and Charter Policy. This white paper, published by the Pioneer Institute, examines the Act Relative to the Achievement Gap, the conditions attached to the charter school cap raise, the recent politics of charter schooling in Massachusetts, and provides recommendations for policy changes for chartering in the state. Among the several recommendations, the authors suggest lifting the overall cap on charter schools, creating a separate body to make recommendations to the state Board, and revoking statutory language pertaining to waitlists and backfilling.

  • How High Schools Become Exemplary: Ways That Leadership Raises Achievement & Narrows Gaps by Improving Instruction in 15 Public High Schools Download PDF Document. This report features presentations at the Fifth Annual Conference of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University in 2009. Schools in Massachusetts reported gains on the MCAS in grades eight and ten, and reduced gaps among racial/ethnic groups. Among all states, student achievement rose when leadership teams focused on improving classroom instruction. Successful leadership teams crafted mission statements, used research-based literature to define high quality teaching and student work, and engaged the entire school faculty.

  • A New Era of Education Reform: Preparing All Students for Success in College, Career and Life. In this report, the Rennie Center summarizes key findings from a statewide survey of charter school leaders, principals, and superintendents about 21st century skills. The survey found that incorporating 21st century skills into teaching and learning is a priority for most districts and most leaders believe that all public schools should be required to integrate 21st century skills into learning.

  • Public School Funding in Massachusetts: Where we are, What has Changed, and How we Compare to Other States Download PDF Document. In this report, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center describe the state's long-term spending trends in elementary and secondary education before the fiscal crisis that began in 2009. The paper analyzes how much Massachusetts spent per student, public education's share of the total economy, the sources of funding, and where the state ranked among the nation. The report found that Massachusetts ranked high in per-pupil spending but low in total education spending as a percentage of the state economy.

  • Yes We Can: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males. The Schott Foundation for Public Education reports on the graduation rates and achievement levels of black males in the nation. For the 2007-2008 school year cohort, the nation's graduation rate for black males was 47 percent, compared to 52 percent in Massachusetts. In the grade 5 NAEP, 9 percent of black males scored at or above proficient nationally, compared to 14 percent in Massachusetts. Conditions for success include equitable resources to support all students, universal and high-quality early education, programs to address student and school needs caused by poverty, and state accountability to ensure student achievement progress.

Last Updated: November 10, 2010
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