Thursday, November 8, 2012

MA DESE DART Analysis Tool: Comparing Schools & Districts

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has added a new information tool to the district and school level data available on their website under DART (District Analysis and Review Tool) - Analysis. This tab allows one to view districts or schools most comparable to his or her child(ren)'s own based on the district or school's grade span, total enrollment and special populations. According to the DESE, the school districts most comparable to Lynn are: 
  • Boston
  • Chicopee
  • Everett
  • Fall River
  • Lawrence
  • Lowell
  • Malden
  • Revere
  • Springfield 
  • Worcester
A school district like Swampscott, on the other hand, is most similar to districts such as Ashland, Bedford, Dracut, and Seekonk.

The analysis tool also allows you to see the district's as well as the comparable districts' total enrollments and low income, special education and English Language Learner populations. MCAS proficiency rates and growth scores for these districts are provided as well. See here for an example:

The tool provides even more detail as it allows you to look at comparisons for individual schools based on the same criteria (total enrollment, special population, grade span). It is interesting to note that within districts, schools that cover the same grade spans will have different comparable schools based on their specific populations. For example, some of Marshall's (Lynn) comparable schools are Roosevelt Middle School (New Bedford), Sullivan Middle School (Worcester) and Breed Middle School (also Lynn) while Pickering's most comparable schools include John T Reid Middle School (Pittsfield), Gardner Middle School (Gardner) and Mary E Wells Jr. High (Southbridge).  Further a school like Sisson had comparable schools in towns like Attleboro, Dennis-Yarmouth and Weymouth while Ford had comparables in cities such as Brockton, Chelsea and Lawrence. 

To view comparables for your school or district, see

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