Profiles Help - About the Data
Public Schools & Districts
All Massachusetts districts and schools with sufficient data are classified into one of two accountability categories: districts and schools requiring assistance or intervention, and districts and schools without required assistance or intervention.
Reason for classification
School of recognition. A subset of schools classified as not requiring assistance or intervention are recognized for their academic accomplishments. Schools of recognition are identified for high achievement, high growth, and exceeding targets.
Meeting targets. A district or school is identified as meeting targets if they have a criterion-referenced target percentage of 75 percent or higher and have not otherwise been identified as having low overall performance, low subgroup performance, low graduation rates, or low assessment participation.
Partially meeting targets. A district or school is identified as partially meeting targets if they have a criterion-referenced target percentage below 75 percent and have not otherwise been identified as having low overall performance, low subgroup performance, low graduation rates, or low assessment participation.
Focused/targeted support. A school is identified as in need of focused/targeted support if it: is among the lowest 10 percent of schools statewide, as measured by the accountability percentile; has one or more subgroups with a subgroup percentile of 5 or below; has a low graduation rate for all students (below 66.7 percent); and/or has low assessment participation (below 95 percent) for all students or for one or more subgroups in one or more subjects. A district is identified as in need of focused/targeted support if it has a low graduation rate for all students (below 66.7 percent), and/or has low assessment participation (below 95 percent) for all students or for one or more subgroups in one or more subjects.
Broad/comprehensive support. A school is identified as in need of broad/comprehensive support if it is designated underperforming or chronically underperforming by the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. A district is identified as in need of broad/comprehensive support if it is designated underperforming or chronically underperforming by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Progress toward improvement targets
The criterion-referenced target percentage combines information about achievement, growth, high school completion, English learner progress, advanced coursework completion, and chronic absenteeism into a single number between 0 and 100. For a group to be considered to be meeting targets it must have a criterion-referenced target percentage of 75 percent or higher.
An accountability percentile between 1 and 99 is reported for most schools. This number is an indication of the school's overall performance relative to other schools that administer similar assessments, and is calculated using data for all accountability indicators. Accountability percentiles are not calculated for districts, or for any school without sufficient achievement and growth data in English language arts and mathematics.
Determination of need for special education technical assistance or intervention
The U.S. Department of Education requires Massachusetts to determine which districts (including single school districts) have specific needs for technical assistance or intervention in the area of special education. A district’s determination is based on four categories: Meets Requirements (MR); Needs Assistance (NA); Needs Intervention (NI); and Needs Substantial Intervention (NSI). This designation helps signal whether outcomes for all students in the district indicate progress, including that of students with disabilities, or whether technical assistance and/or intervention is needed to improve outcomes for all children, especially students with disabilities. For most districts, the special education determination is aligned with accountability results, with adjustments made for districts with specific identified special education compliance issues.
A glossary of accountability reporting terms is available at http://www.doe.mass.edu/accountability/glossary-reporting-terms.docx. Additional information about the district and school accountability and assistance system is available at http://www.doe.mass.edu/accountability/.
District and School Report Cards
Title I Status. Whether the school or district receives Title I funds. Schools and districts with large populations of students from low income families receive federal Title I grant money to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards.
Students and Teachers
Students with Disabilities. Students with special needs who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
Economically Disadvantaged. Students who receive assistance though the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Transitional Assistance for Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC), the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) foster care program, or MassHealth.
High Needs. Students who belong to one or more of the following groups: students with disabilities, current or former English learners, and/or economically disadvantaged students.
Full-Time Equivalency. The number of full-time teaching positions in the school or district. Some teaching positions are part time and therefore are reported as a decimal (for example, 0.8).
Teacher Qualifications. The percentage of teachers who are licensed and the percentage of teachers who are considered experienced, meaning they have been teaching in a Massachusetts public school for at least 3 years. Note that in Commonwealth charter schools, not all teachers are required to hold a teaching license.
Advanced Coursework. Courses that are considered advanced include Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, dual enrollment, and other challenging classes in a variety of subjects.
MassCore. MassCore is a state-recommended program of study that outlines the minimum core courses needed to meet four-year college and workforce expectations. MassCore includes four units of English, four units of mathematics, three units of a lab-based science, three units of history, two units of the same foreign language, one unit of the arts, and five additional core courses.
Student Attendance and Discipline
Chronic Absenteeism. The percentage of students who miss 10 percent or more of the school year (for example, 18 or more days in a typical 180-day school year).
Student Discipline. The percentage of students who are suspended, expelled, or removed from regular classroom activities as a result of negative behavior.
Success After High School
High School Outcomes. Graduation, dropout, and college-going information is reported for schools and districts that serve grades 9 through 12.
Student Performance on State Tests
Achievement. Students' MCAS scores.
Student Growth. The student growth percentile (SGP) shows how one student's MCAS score compares with other students with similar prior MCAS scores. A school or district's SGP represents the average growth for the school or district.
Dollars Spent per Student. Amounts vary based on enrollment, staffing, special programming, and the needs of the students in the school.
Progress Toward Improvement Targets. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) sets annual improvement targets, or goals, for every district and school. Targets are set for achievement, growth, English learner progress, chronic absenteeism, high school completion, and advanced coursework completion. Schools and districts are expected to make annual progress toward these targets in order to improve student performance, and DESE reports on each school's and district's progress each year.
Accountability Percentile. Accountability percentiles indicate how a school is performing overall compared with other schools. A school's percentile is calculated by combining information related to achievement, growth, English learner progress, chronic absenteeism, high school completion, and advanced coursework completion. Schools with higher percentiles are generally higher performing, and schools with lower percentiles are generally lower performing. Districts do not receive an accountability percentile.
Overall Classification. Schools and districts are placed into two categories: those that require assistance or intervention from the state, and those that do not. A small number of schools and districts, including those that are new or very small, are classified as having "insufficient data."