The Condition of Education in the Commonwealth project provides an annual, evidence-based review of student progress and proficiency throughout the education pipeline from birth into adulthood. Massachusetts has a well-earned reputation as a national leader in student achievement based on a substantial commitment to its public education system dating back to the Education Reform Act of 1993. However, efforts to address continuing challenges—ranging from a lack of school readiness to a lingering proficiency gap to the need to ensure all students are college and career ready—have led to increasingly sophisticated, but, at times, disjointed approaches to reform. While each new initiative bears promise, long-term success for all students requires the development and constant maintenance of a more comprehensive vision. Effective reform results from understanding our current status as a state, monitoring changes over time, and acting on new information describing both our strengths and deficits. The Condition of Education project asks whether our entire education system is properly structured to ensure all students succeed.
The 2013 Condition of Education Data Report identifies and measures state-level indicators 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 are updated annually. This report presents data and information to encourage more nuanced discussions of potential strategies for improving student learning outcomes.