Explainer: Accountability in MA

Ever wondered how Massachusetts ranks and sorts public schools? Check out our two-page CEPP Explainer on the Massachusetts Accountability System.


In fall 2018, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education implemented a new accountability system developed to meet the requirements of state law and the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

This system replaced the Level 1-5 designations that have been used since 2012. The new system includes different indicators and measures, but continues to rank each school on the measures and evaluates schools against targets set by DESE. These targets are primarily based on MCAS English, mathematics and science test scores but also include improvement of English learners and rates of chronic absenteeism. High schools also have an indicator related to the percent of students who complete advanced coursework.

Targets will be set for two groups: all students and students scoring in the lowest 25% on the MCAS. Each school will have an Accountability Percentile based on the rankings and a Targets Met score based on how close the school is to each target. Each school will be placed in a category based on these scores.

Want to see where your school and district was placed under this system? Check out the DESE accountability reports here.

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