Year 6 Project Overview: Massachusetts Equitable Access

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MA ESE) updated their Equity Plan in July 2017. One of the ways in which MA ESE is helping districts to identify gaps in equitable access to effective educators is through the MA ESE sponsored Student Learning Experiences (SLE) survey/report. Because research points to the validity and reliability of student perception data to gauge school and educator quality, MA ESE has provided this report to support schools in their ongoing assessment of school and educator quality. The SLE report also provides data on student placement, which can be used to determine if effective educators are serving high need students.

NCC assisted MA ESE with the launch of the SLE in Year 5, and now has been asked to assist MA ESE in their work with districts to become fluent in the use of the updated SLE report. MA ESE designed an Equity Lab, offered to the 25 largest urban districts in the state, in fall 2017. This Equity Lab was designed to help district representatives develop fluency in the process of identifying gaps in equitable access to effective educators at the district and school levels and plan strategies to address these gaps. The goal of the Equity Lab was for districts to get a head start in identifying equity gaps, formulate their district equity plans, and be prepared to submit their plans as part of their Title I application in the 2018-2019 school year.

NCC assisted MA ESE by providing consultation on the design of their Equity Lab for districts to develop fluency and ability to formulate district equity plans in the future. NCC will collect information from participating districts in the spring to assess their progress and use of tools and knowledge gained. This information will inform MA ESE’s planning for district support next year.

At MA ESE’s request, NCC will provide consultation and support in:

  1. The development and implementation of surveys of the urban Local Education Agencies (LEAs) that participated in the Fall 2017 Equity Labs to identify how LEAS shared and used what they learned in their districts. The results of the survey will inform MA ESE’s future planning of equity labs for LEAs statewide.
  2. Setting the requirements for LEA equity plans, developing a review rubric for LEA equity plans, using communication protocols for sharing with LEAs the results of the equity plan review, and advising LEAs about how to improve their equity plans if they were not strong.

Progress to Date

NCC consulted with MA ESE about ways to extend educators’ use of the SLE report and resources offered by MA ESE. Specifically, NCC provided recommendations for: 1) a reflection tool that would be used by participants periodically throughout the Equity Lab for them to note salient points they are learning and ways they can share and use that learning in their districts, and 2) informing participants at each Equity Lab about data collection efforts underway at MA ESE and how these data may be used to strengthen their efforts.

Research, Resources and Collaborations

Contact Person

For more information, contact Susan Villani at

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