Results from the spring 2023 MCAS, which were released Tuesday, threw the educational damage of the pandemic into stark relief: Three years after Massachusetts shuttered its schools, students have yet to recover academically. Test scores on the state math, English, and science tests largely remained well below pre-pandemic levels, and in some cases did not budge at all.
Against that grim backdrop, state Department of Elementary and Secondary education has revived its school accountability system, which uses MCAS scores and other measures, including graduation rates and chronic absenteeism, to determine what schools and districts will be targeted for support and intervention. In 2022, the state issued accountability reports, but did not measure progress. Last year’s scores were the baseline against which progress was gauged this year.
The accountability system classifies schools as either needing or not needing assistance or intervention. The state provides technical support and grants to schools; it also conducts site visits, evaluates staff, and monitors progress in other ways.
This year, the state assessed 275 schools — about 17 percent of public schools statewide with sufficient data — as “requiring assistance or intervention,” up from about 14 percent in 2019. Sixty-six schools were named “schools of recognition,” for strong performance or growth, including four each in Wellesley and Boston, and three each in Springfield and Newton.
In extreme cases, schools and districts are declared “chronically underperforming,” which triggers a state takeover, with an outside receiver appointed to take charge.
Tuesday’s data do not include whether any schools are exiting or entering “underperforming” or “chronically underperforming” status. Those evaluations will be made in coming weeks, the state said. All schools with those statuses keep them for now, and appear on the list below.
An earlier version of this story misstated the percentage of schools the state deemed in need of assistance or intervention in 2019, and should have clarified that the percentages for both this year and 2019 are out of all schools for which the state has sufficient data.