2015 Condition of Education in the Commonwealth Report

January 2015

2015 Data Report

The 2015 Data Report identifies and measures state-level indicators linked to outcomes to inform decision-making among Massachusetts education leaders. These indicators focus on critical stages in learning and development from school readiness and early learning to the emergence of a strong and productive workforce. Important indicators in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are highlighted at each stage, and specific attention is leveled at the need for prepared and effective educators to support student progress throughout our entire education system. Indicators are selected because of their evidentiary base and alignment with Massachusetts’ reform agenda and updated at least every two years. This report provides a critical overview of our public education system, while presenting data and information to encourage more nuanced discussions of potential strategies for improving student learning outcomes.

2015 Action Guide—Achieving the Vision: Priority Actions for a Statewide Education Agenda

In this report, we present three of the most critical challenges facing our public schools—areas where greater investments, strategic expansion of effective practices, and thoughtful collaboration can bring us closer to achieving our statewide vision of excellence for every child. Indeed, the purpose of this report is not to generate new policy ideas but rather to help decision-makers and the general public better understand practices that are already in place and appear to be working. We began with the data, zeroing in on the areas where student outcomes are lagging. We then asked what remedies to similar performance gaps have been successfully implemented in Massachusetts and have the potential, if brought to scale, to solve our most pressing challenges.

The Rennie Center identified three areas in which statewide action can build on existing, effective practice to generate significant improvements in student outcomes.

  1. Expand early childhood programming: Develop a community-based, mixed-provider approach to expand access to quality prekindergarten options so that more Commonwealth students have access to these foundational learning experiences.
  2. Develop a robust statewide approach to student support: Invest in broader implementation of holistic assessments of student well-being in addition to effective multi-provider models that allow schools and their partners to address a full range of student strengths and needs.
  3. Replicate innovative early college designs: Prepare more students for the 21st century by expanding models that blend high school and college coursework, providing students with the momentum and support they need to persist to a college degree.