Office of Planning and Research

Research Agenda

October 2018

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.

Goal: Prepare all students for success after high school

  • High quality college and career pathways
  • Time to postsecondary degree
  • Career outcomes for K-12 students
  • Vocational-technical schools
  • High school graduation and supports
  • Advanced coursework
  • Adult Basic Education
  • Out-of-school youth
  • Charter schools
  • Other choice options
  • Gifted and talented students

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 is posted at Commissioner's webpage.

ESE's research agenda is driven by our strategic plan. The following questions guide all of 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?

After a decade of developing research partnerships, we have established solid relationships with universities, researchers, and other vendors on nearly all of our major research questions. We 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. Beyond that, we do not anticipate entering into new research partnerships in 2018-19.

Please contact Carrie Conaway with questions.

Last Updated: October 15, 2018

Contact Us

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

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.