A Primer on the BPS School Quality Framework

Recently, we received a question from a BPS parent asking about the BPS School Quality Framework and why a school’s quality “tier” or ranking may have changed from the last school year. We are sharing an edited version of the question and our response to shed light for other families who may have the same question.

Q: We are looking for information on the BPS tier system. Our child’s school recently moved tiers and we would like to know why. Can you provide any guidance?

A: While the BPS employs a formula that is described here and here, it is still a bit tricky at times to figure out how their system of scoring works.

The BPS tiering system is based on a number of criteria, with the largest weight being given to the “growth” realized in MCAS scores (versus the actual scores themselves) whereas the state provides school rankings based on actual MCAS scores ─ with growth factored in among other considerations.

Based on the most recent updates to the BPS website, you can see your child’s most recent school tier as well as that school’s overall quality score (out of a possible 100 points).

You can also visit an individual school’s profile pages on the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website to see how the state is ranking your child’s school, as this ranking is different than the ranking provided by the BPS. After entering the school’s name, the ranking is found toward the bottom of the page under the header, “How is our school doing under the state’s accountability system?”

Per the state’s ranking system, there are five levels of accountability within two categories: those schools that do not require state assistance or intervention, and those schools that do require intervention (due to lower levels of student performance). The levels, in order from the highest ranking to the lowest, are as follows: 

  • Schools that do not require state assistance or intervention
    • School of Recognition
    • Meeting Targets
    • Partially Meeting Targets
  • Schools that do require state assistance or intervention
    • Focused/Targeted Support
    • Broad/Comprehensive Support

You may want to ask your child’s principal about your school’s overall score, which may have caused the school’s tier level to change from last year, as there are other factors involved in BPS scoring, including school climate and whether a school is closing achievement gaps.

Do you have questions for SchoolFacts Boston? Please feel free to email us at info@schoolfactsboston.org and we will reply with the facts.