School Quality Measures


School Quality Measures  System 01

Through a strand of work led by professor Jack Schneider at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and a team of researchers, MCIEA is reimagining how we measure the quality of our schools and the learning experiences of our students. To achieve this goal, MCIEA solicited input from stakeholders in each consortium district to build a school quality framework that reflects what the public wants to know about their schools. The framework has been built around multiple measures, which include academic, social-emotional, and school culture indicators, in order to piece together a fairer and more comprehensive picture of school performance.

SQM checkmark blue 01Strengthening teacher practice.

SQM Framework Circle 01 New

MCIEA’s school quality framework provides educators with a wider array of information about school quality. In so doing, it generates meaningful data about student progress that can be used to reliably inform teaching and learning in the classroom.


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Restoring the broader purpose of education.

By measuring school quality in a fair and comprehensive way, MCIEA seeks to reaffirm the full mission of public education. MCIEA believes it is possible to track school quality without relying on a narrow set of indicators and in a way that reflects the unique character of each school community.


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Engaging the community in defining quality in our schools.

Students, families, educators, and community members identify what is most important to know about their students and schools. This feedback informs the MCIEA school quality measures framework and public dashboard—a visual tool to clearly communicate data on a set of multiple indicators.

MCIEA School Quality Framework

MCIEA's School Quality Measures framework aims to describe the full measure of what makes a good school, using five major categories – the first three being essential inputs and the last two being key outcomes:



  1. Teachers And Leadership
    This category measures the relevant abilities of a school’s teachers and leaders, and the degree to which they are receiving the support they need to grow as professionals. It considers factors like teacher professional qualifications, effective classroom practices, and school-wide support for teaching development and growth.

  2. School Culture 
    This category measures the degree to which the school environment is safe, caring, and academically-oriented. It considers factors like bullying, student/teacher relationships, and regular attendance.

  3. Resources
    This category measures the adequacy of a school’s facility, personnel, and curriculum, as well as the degree to which it is supported by the community. It considers factors like physical spaces and materials, curriculm variety, and family/school relationships.
  1. Academic Learning
    This category measures how much students are learning core academic content, developing their own academic identities, and progressing along positive trajectories. It considers factors like test score growth, performance assessments, engagement in school, problem solving, and college-going rates.

  2. Community And Wellbeing
    This category measures the development of traits relevant for students leading full and rewarding lives—in society, the workplace, and their private lives. It considers factors like perseverance and determination, participation in arts and literature, and social and emotional health.



For more information about each category and its indicators, check out a detailed SQM Framework Overview. The School Quality Measures reseach team includes Jack Schneider, James Noonan, Thomas Kelley-Kemple, Michael Kelly, Richard Feistman, and Andresse St. Rose. 


Building a Better Measure of School Quality by Jack Schneider, Rebecca Jacobsen, Rachel White, and Hunter Gehlbach

This article reviews the development of the school quality framework used by MCIEA and explores how it can give parents and community members a fuller and more nuanced picture of schools.


Beyond Test Scores: Introducing the MCIEA School Quality Measures by James Noonan

What makes a good school? The MCIEA School Quality Measures project considers what each unique school community brings to the table by considering multiple measures of school quality, rather than creating a rigid, zero-sum standard.


Why Multiple Measures? by Jack Schneider

This white paper discusses how existing accountability systems are not measuring all of what matters in public education, and they are holding schools accountable for only a narrow slice of their full mission. Multiple measures can ameliorate many of the most obvious flaws in present measurement and accountability systems by expanding the number of school quality indicators.


The (Mis)measure of Schools: How Data Affect Stakeholder Knowledge and Perceptions of Quality by Jack Schneider, Rebecca Jacobsen, Rachel White, and Hunter Gehlbach

Researchers conducted a randomized experiment, using a modified deliberative polling experience to test how parents and community members would respond to a broader array of school performance data. This article examines the influence of test scores and more holistic measures of school quality in shaping public understandings of familiar and unfamiliar schools.


Measuring School Quality Beyond Test Scores: Final Reports for Year 1 and 2 by Jack Schneider and Doug Gagnon

These reports document the development, field testing, and validation of a new measure of school quality in Somerville Public Schools—one that goes beyond test scores to capture a fuller range of outcomes and better reflect the work being done inside the schools.