Welcome to MassReportCards, Pioneer Institute’s one-stop-shop for basic public school performance research. Here you can learn about your local public schools and school district, find out how well they perform, compare them with other schools from across Massachusetts.
This site was designed for parents who want to understand educational options for their children, for teachers and administrators who want to know how their schools stack up, for researchers looking for hard data, or for the concerned citizen who wants to know the effectiveness of their tax dollars with respect to education spending.
If we want to make our schools better, parents, policymakers, citizens, and the media need access to real quantitative data so that we can see which schools should be emulated and which need help to improve.
All data is from the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, except the NAEP scores.
- Enrollment: http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/statereport/enrollmentbygrade.aspx
- Student Profile
- Race/Ethnicity: http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/statereport/enrollmentbyracegender.aspx
- Selected Populations: http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/statereport/selectedpopulations.aspx
- Finance: http://www.doe.mass.edu/finance/statistics/
- NAEP: http://www.nationsreportcard.gov
How To Read the School Report Cards
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) makes a mountain of data available on their website. Mass Report Cards collects and presents some of those data to help the public better understand the vital issue of K-12 school performance.
The website consists of five data applications. List below.
Before diving into the details, let’s look at Massachusetts K-12 education from 30,000 feet.
MCAS NextGen Scores
Starting in elementary and middle schools in 2017, and high school in 2019, the state moved to the new online NextGen MCAS, or MCAS 2.0.
This data applications allows you to see the percent of students who scored at each achievement level, and to sort the data grade, subject, public versus charter public, and by individual school.
MCAS Legacy Scores
The primary outcome of the Education Reform Act of 1993 was the creation of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System. Starting in 1998, students began taking the MCAS standardized tests.
This data applications shows the historic MCAS data, where you can review the scores for all public and charter public schools, sorted by grade, subject, school type, and district.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), often called the Nation's Report Card, tests students in math and reading every two years.
We have data from 2003 - 2019, for 4th and 8th graders, for all states. You can see rankings, percent changes over time, and score trends for all states, grades, and subjects.
Performance on standardized achievement tests, like MCAS, strongly correlates to whether the students are in what MA DESE calls a “selected population”. The factors most affecting performance, on average, are a student’s economic situation and whether English is their first language. This is a well-documented fact across the country. What is most important for this analysis, however, is which schools outperform these expectations.
Mouse over the circles on the scatter chart to see details about the school. You can filter results by Selected Populations, School Type, County, Subject, and Grade
Detailed data about school finance is available on the DESE website for the past five years.
Visit this application to see total expense trends per district, per pupil expenses, and a breakdown of expense per year by school function.