Level 4 schools are the state's lowest performing schools based on an analysis of four-year trends in absolute achievement, student growth, and improvement measured by MCAS. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) assesses the results from English Language Arts (ELA), mathematics, and science MCAS to determine the Composite Performance Index (CPI), the percentage of students scoring at the Warning/Failing level, the percentage of students scoring Advanced, and the annual student growth percentile for the years available (ELA and mathematics only) for improvement trends over four years. For high schools, dropout and graduation rate indicators are also incorporated into the calculation.
The Framework for District Accountability and Assistance and state law both call for the use of multiple indicators to identify schools as candidates for Level 4 accountability, assistance, and intervention activities. DESE identifies schools that are both low performing on MCAS over a four-year period and not showing signs of substantial improvement or strong positive annual student growth over that interval.