BOSTON

Citywide Education Progress Report

Key Takeaways: Student and School Outcomes

Low-income students in the city perform slightly better than their peers nationally on state assessments, but the rate at which they do so has declined slightly over time. Reading and math proficiency rates for all students in the city did not show statistically significant improvement between 2011-12 and 2014-15. In 2013-14, Hispanic students were enrolled in advanced math coursework at a lower rate than the total high school population.

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Is the education system continuously improving?

► Between 2011-12 and 2014-15, the city’s graduation rate improved slightly but remained below the state average.

Data: Percent of first-time 9th grade students graduating in four years, citywide and statewide.
Source: EDFacts Initiative, U.S. Department of Education, Assessment and Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rates Data, 2011-12 to 2014-15.


► Between 2011-12 and 2014-15, the city’s math proficiency rate trends mirrored the state’s. In 2014-15, the city’s proficiency rate was 17 percentage points below the state’s.

Data: The city’s estimated gains in proficiency rates across elementary and middle schools, standardized at the state level and controlling for student demographics.
Source: Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 2011-12 to 2014-15.


► Between 2011-12 and 2014-15, the city’s reading proficiency rate trends mirrored the state’s. In 2014-15, the city’s proficiency rate was 20 percentage points below the state’s.

Data: The city’s estimated gains in proficiency rates across elementary and middle schools, standardized at the state level and controlling for student demographics.
Source: Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 2011-12 to 2014-15.


Do students have access to a high-quality education?

► The Education Equality Index (EEI) identifies how students from low-income families are performing in cities and schools across the country. See this interactive tool to explore individual school performance.

Data: The Education Equality Index (EEI) was supplied by Education Cities and GreatSchools. See their site for more detail.

Sources: Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 2010-11 to 2014-15; National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2010-11 to 2014-15.

► Students from low-income families in the city are performing somewhat better in math and reading than low-income students in the average city. EEI scores in Boston have decreased by 2% over time.

Data: The Education Equality Index (EEI) was supplied by Education Cities and GreatSchools. See their site for more detail.

Sources: Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 2010-11 to 2014-15; National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2010-11 to 2014-15.

►In 2013-14, students who identified as Native American, Asian American, Pacific Islander, or of two or more races (shown above as “Other”) had disproportionately high enrollment in high school advanced math coursework. Hispanic students had disproportionately low enrollment.

Data: Enrollment of students in math courses above Algebra II. Rates calculated by dividing the number of students enrolled in advanced math by the number of students in the school. Sub-group rates determined at the school level.
Source: U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, Civil Rights Data Collection 2013-14.


Data & Scoring

Where did we get this data?

► State performance data from 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, and 2014-15.

► The federal data sources EDFacts and the Civil Rights Data Collection.

What makes the data citywide?

► We include all charter and district schools within the municipal boundary of a city. In Houston, Indianapolis, Memphis, New Orleans, and San Antonio we use school data from multiple districts within the municipal boundary.

Background

About Boston

Boston Public Schools (BPS) has long been a leader in school autonomy and choice. Both the first charter school and the first district autonomous school opened in 1993. BPS also has in-district charter schools, Horace Mann charter schools, and Innovation schools. Massachusetts has high academic standards and strong authorizing practices for charters, which have set a high bar for accountability.  All schools in BPS have a great deal of autonomy over staffing and budgeting. While education leaders across sectors collaborate regularly, community-level politics between the charter and district sectors are still challenging.

School Choice in the City

All charter schools are open enrollment. In 2014-15, BPS implemented a "home-based" assignment plan for K–8 students, which offers families a list of district school choices that includes all the schools within a mile of their home, plus high-performing options.

Governance Model

In 1991, a seven-member Boston School Committee was formed to oversee BPS schools and hire the superintendent. The mayor appoints new School Committee members from candidates recommended by a Citizen’s Nominating Panel comprised of parents, school staff, and community representatives. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is the sole charter authorizer in the state. In-district Horace Mann charters are additionally approved by the Boston School Committee.

2016 District and Charter Student Body

Enrollment: 65,461 students (BPS and charter schools)
Race and ethnicity: 42% Hispanic, 35% black, 14% white, 9% other
Low-income: 70% free and reduced-price lunch (participating in one or more of these state-administered programs: SNAP, TAFDC, DCF foster care, and MassHealth).

2017 School Composition 

Note: Enrollment data for both charter and district schools. Demographics data for BPS schools only.
Source: Boston Public Schools, 2016.
School data from researcher analysis of public records, 2016-17.

The Center on Reinventing Public Education is a research and policy analysis center at the University of Washington Bothell developing systemwide solutions for K–12 public education. Questions? Email crpe@uw.edu.