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Office of Planning and Research

Research Agenda

April 2022

DESE's goal is to prepare all students for success after high school. We are implementing five strategies aimed at reaching that goal, and we're learning more about a number of related topics.

Strategy 1: Strengthen standards, curriculum, instruction, and assessment

  • Curriculum framework implementation and curriculum programming
  • Competency Determination (high school graduation requirement)
  • Students with disabilities
  • English learners
  • Digital learning
  • Assessment

Strategy 2: Promote educator development

  • Educator preparation
  • Educator workforce diversity
  • Impact of educator effectiveness initiatives

Strategy 3: Support social-emotional learning, health, and safety

  • School climate
  • Social and emotional learning (SEL)
  • Interventions and supports
  • Student discipline

Strategy 4: Turn around the lowest performing schools and districts

  • State accountability and support system
  • Sustaining school improvement over time
  • Labor market issues
  • State systems improvements

Strategy 5: Enhance resource allocation and data use

  • DESE data tools and supports
  • District monitoring

A summary of the agency's initiatives in support of these strategies can be found at Strategic Plan Summary .

DESE's research agenda is driven by our strategic plan. The following questions guide all our research across our goal and five strategies:

  • Are our initiatives correlated with stronger outcomes for participating students and/or educators? Where possible to determine, did participation in the initiative cause the observed outcomes?
  • How does implementation of our initiatives vary across schools, districts, educator preparation programs, etc.? What does this tell us about strategies for effective implementation?
  • What is the field's perception of our initiatives?

Additionally, for 2022, DESE's Office of Planning and Research (OPR) has worked with DESE program offices to identify their current high priority research questions, the answers to which could assist the agency in providing the most effective, highest quality services to the students, families, and educators of the Commonwealth. We are sharing the DESE 2022 Research Priorities in the hopes of generating relevant research projects that can help inform decisions and improve services.

DESE will bid any opportunities where the state is seeking a vendor for research work and/or a grant-writing partner through the state's procurement system, CommBuys.

Please contact the Office of Planning and Research with any questions.

Last Updated: May 17, 2022

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

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TTY: (800) 439-2370


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