BPS Schools Show Improvement

Challenge: majority of BPS rated schools remain low-performing

Student performance at a number of BPS schools improved in 2016 according to a September 26 report by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The improvement includes 12 schools rising to Level 1 status, but low performing schools remain a challenge across the District. This year 57 BPS rated schools (55.3%) are classified as low-performing, (Level 3 or below), down from 66 BPS schools (64.1%) in 2015.

BPS 2016 Accountability Levels
Level # Enrollment % of Enrollment
Level 1 21 9,522 18.65%
Level 2 25 14,214 27.84%
Level 3 45 21,274 41.67%
Level 4* 10 4,789 9.38%
Level 5 2 1,251 2.45%
Grand Total 103 51,050 100.00%
*Includes Mattahunt Elementary which is under review and at risk of being downgraded to Level 5

Boston currently operates 125 public schools, 103 of which were assigned a state Level in 2016. The excluded schools provide adult education, various support programs, early education, are Horace Mann in-district charter schools, or are too new to have four years of data.
While BPS contains 6.4% of schools assigned a 2016 performance level statewide, its share of the state’s low-performing schools is 19.5% a slight decrease from 20.3% in 2015. In the current school year, 27,314 students attend a low-performing school, which represents 53.5% of the BPS student body attending schools assigned performance levels.

Massachusetts School Levels
Starting in 2012, schools were assessed on a Progress and Performance Index (PPI) based on four years of MCAS scores, dropout rates, and graduation rates, among other measures:
• Level 1- Top 80% of student performance statewide and meeting all goals
• Level 2- Top 80% of student performance statewide, but not meeting all goals
• Level 3- Lowest 20% of student performance statewide
• Level 4- Selected by the Commissioner of DESE, representing no more than the bottom 4% statewide
• Level 5- State Receivership

The most significant change this year was Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy, and the Clap Elementary School being assigned Level 2 status. All three schools were previously Level 1 schools and are consistently high performers. However, because some students in each school did not participate in the PARCC assessment, the schools failed to meet the 95% participation rate for all demographic groups that is needed to maintain Level 1 status. The change in accountability level is due to the participation rate and not a lower performance by those students who did take the test.

Level 4 and 5 Schools
Brighton High School and Excel High School were moved to Level 4 status, which means the BPS now must develop a Turnaround Plan in order to improve performance. Additionally, the Mattahunt Elementary School has been deemed “Level 4-under review” after failing to improve performance during three years in turnaround status. This school is being considered for state receivership, which has already occurred at the Dever Elementary and UP Academy Holland Elementary.

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