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Knowledge From the Field

Toward Closing the Achievement Gap: A One-Year Progress Report on Education Reform in Massachusetts

Published: November 2011

Publisher(s): Race to the Top Coalition

Author(s): Pauley, Elizabeth

Funder(s): Boston Foundation

View Report (48 pages; 2.01MB; PDF)

Area of Focus: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act; Low-Performing Schools


The report highlights early outcomes from implementation of the Education Reform Act of 2010 and Race to the Top. Focusing on turnaround, charter, and innovation schools, the report identifies progress and challenges and provides recommendations.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

+The state developed and began implementing turnaround plans for the 34 lowest-performing schools, and in one year, student performance increased, as measured by academic proficiency and growth rates.

=The state identified high-performing “proven providers” and awarded 16 new charters, mostly in Boston.

=Eighteen in-district “charter-like” schools, called innovation schools, opened to serve specific populations of students and implement new programs, models, and structures.

=Achievement gaps persist between white students and African American and Hispanic students and between low-income and non-low-income students.

-Large numbers of Level 3 schools (one level above “turnaround schools”) appeared to lose ground, with increased percentages of students scoring “Warning/Failing” in English and math.

Focus: Massachusetts

Subjects/Keywords: Achievement Gap; American Recovery and Reinvestment Act; ARRA; Charter School; Innovation; Low-Income; Low-Performing School; Minority; Reform

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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