Racial Equity
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Group

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Percent of Students Passing Grade 3 Reading, 2021

What does this measure?

The percentage of students considered proficient on one of the state's 3rd grade English Language Arts tests, either the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) or the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).

Why is this important?

Early literacy skills are critical to a successful school experience. Third grade is considered an important milestone in a student's career in terms of reading proficiency and is correlated to whether a student will graduate high school. Up through 3rd grade, students are learning to read; after 3rd grade, they must be able to read in order to learn. There are persistent gaps in academic achievement among students of different races, ethnicities and incomes. Notably, racial gaps persist even among students of similar socioeconomic backgrounds.

How is our region doing?

In 2021, 58% of 3rd graders in MetroWest were considered proficient in reading, up 5 percentage points from 2017. This was higher than the 2021 statewide rate of 51%, which also increased 4 points since 2017.

Students in MetroWest from economically disadvantaged backgrounds had a reading proficiency rate of 33% in 2021, compared to 68% of those who were not economically disadvantaged. The proficiency rate was highest among the region's Asian students (70%), followed by students who were white (64%), Black or African American (38%) and Hispanic or Latino (31%). Rates for all groups in MetroWest were slightly higher than those at the state level, but the region's racial and ethnic disparities were similar to Massachusetts as a whole. Since 2017, proficiency rates improved between 1 and 5 points for all groups in the region.

Among individual districts, the rate was highest for 3rd graders in Southborough (90%), Harvard (83%), Westwood (81%) and Dover (80%).

Proficiency rates were lowest in Framingham (35%), Marlborough (39%), Milford (41%) and Waltham (42%) - most of which have more diverse and more disadvantaged student bodies.

Why do these disparities exist?

Studies point to a variety of factors believed to contribute to disparities in test scores and other measures of student achievement. School systems in the United States are highly segregated, and students of color disproportionately attend schools with high proportions of low-income students who may not have benefited from early learning opportunities at the same rate as other students. Schools also have different levels of resources ranging from qualified/experienced teachers to advanced courses to facilities and technology, and schools with large Black and Latino populations often have lower levels. In addition, teachers across all school systems tend to be disproportionately white, and teaching practices and curriculum may not be culturally relevant to students of color.

Notes about the data

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education did not administer Spring 2020 MCAS for the 2019-2020 school year due to the cancellation of state assessments and school closures related to COVID-19. As assessments vary among states, it is not possible to include comparable data for the nation in this indicator. Data from earlier years is not comparable due to changes in the state test. Massachusetts students are considered "economically disadvantaged" if they receive assistance though the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Transitional Assistance for Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC), the Department of Children and Families' (DCF) foster care program, or MassHealth insurance.

Percent of Students Passing Grade 3 Reading, 2021
All StudentsAsianBlack or African AmericanEconomically DisadvantagedHispanic or LatinoNot Economically DisadvantagedWhite
Massachusetts51%67%32%31%28%65%60%
Region58%70%38%33%31%68%64%
Middlesex County59%70%40%32%31%70%66%
Norfolk County64%70%37%40%44%71%68%
Worcester County49%69%34%30%27%63%56%
Acton-Boxborough School District68%79%30%28%60%72%63%
Ashland School District63%77%26%22%72%71%
Bedford School District78%78%58%43%82%80%
Bellingham School District47%33%33%54%49%
Carlisle School District73%73%73%
Concord School District76%85%60%62%70%77%77%
Dedham School District62%57%45%44%68%69%
Dover School District80%91%83%80%
Foxborough Regional Charter52%84%36%31%65%62%
Framingham School District35%59%28%19%17%52%46%
Franklin School District67%81%43%45%72%69%
Harvard School District83%85%84%
Holliston School District73%90%53%57%75%72%
Hopkinton School District76%87%24%42%80%73%
Hudson School District47%21%18%61%52%
Lexington School District73%84%26%42%59%76%70%
Lincoln School District57%31%40%48%61%69%
Littleton School District69%79%50%71%70%
Marlborough School District39%55%30%23%50%59%
Maynard School District61%38%36%69%68%
Medfield School District77%44%80%80%
Medway School District74%35%79%73%
Milford School District41%36%24%25%61%50%
Millis School District58%47%27%61%63%
Nashoba School District68%52%45%70%69%
Natick School District70%69%40%52%74%71%
Needham School District70%69%47%43%32%73%72%
Sherborn School District76%74%78%
Southborough School District90%95%92%90%
Sudbury School District68%88%50%41%55%72%66%
Walpole School District72%70%40%44%42%77%77%
Waltham School District42%78%29%24%22%55%58%
Wayland School District76%90%36%53%81%78%75%
Wellesley School District77%78%53%69%79%76%
Westborough School District68%76%41%38%73%69%
Westford School District75%83%59%77%72%
Weston School District77%72%90%79%76%79%
Westwood School District81%84%54%60%83%81%

Source: Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education




Number of Students Passing Grade 3 Reading, 2021
All StudentsAsianBlack or African AmericanEconomically DisadvantagedHispanic or LatinoNot Economically DisadvantagedWhite
Massachusetts32,2813,2951,8998,0034,18324,24521,108
Region17,4552,5357363,0241,47914,38011,244
Middlesex County8,8421,4923631,3227407,5015,498
Norfolk County4,5137092086312283,8732,997
Worcester County4,1003341651,0715113,0062,749
Acton-Boxborough School District2551073918246110
Ashland School District1263310711678
Bedford School District1664071015597
Bellingham School District661455255
Carlisle School District484338
Concord School District168116814160123
Dedham School District103821128279
Dover School District60105945
Foxborough Regional Charter761627185824
Framingham School District23013176439166143
Franklin School District220172310197183
Harvard School District585542
Holliston School District1521898143116
Hopkinton School District2068255201108
Hudson School District951568080
Lexington School District36214461617344155
Lincoln School District6656106040
Littleton School District931568676
Marlborough School District1471159468778
Maynard School District58954949
Medfield School District1467139131
Medway School District109610397
Milford School District128442278691
Millis School District59845151
Nashoba School District1491210137122
Natick School District272332214250204
Needham School District296339166280229
Sherborn School District383532
Southborough School District1222011789
Sudbury School District180236136167129
Walpole School District202166198183164
Waltham School District1741484241131100
Wayland School District177284913168123
Wellesley School District259461011248168
Westborough School District19185181117386
Westford School District2549319235145
Weston School District91189118252
Westwood School District1762676169131

Source: Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education




INDICATORS
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity
Children Living in Poverty
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity
Single-Parent Families
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity
Disengaged Youth
Reports of Domestic Violence
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments
Households Without Vehicles
Means of Transportation to Work
Households With Internet Access
Voter Participation Rate
Average Charitable Contribution
People Without Health Insurance
Drug Poisoning Mortality Rate
Crimes Against People
Incarceration Rates, by Race/Ethnicity
Change in Total Population
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity
Foreign-Born Population
Language Diversity
Population by Age
Change in Population by Age/Gender
Seniors Living Alone
People with Disabilities
Change in Total Jobs by Sector
Unemployment Rate
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity
Share of Workers who are Professionals, by Race/Ethnicity
Average Salary by Sector
High-Tech Jobs
Female to Male Earnings Ratio
Prekindergarten Participation
School Spending Per Student
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Group
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group
Chronically Absent Students
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group
Education Levels of Adults
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity
College Admission Rate, by Race/Ethnicity
People Living in Poverty
People Living in Poverty, by Education Level
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity
Households Receiving Temporary Assistance
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity
Median Household Income
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity
Living Wage
80/20 Income Ratio
Access to Financial Services, by Race/Ethnicity
Homeownership Rates
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity
Cost of Homeownership
Cost of Homeownership, by Race/Ethnicity
Cost of Rent
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity
Homelessness
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity
Incarceration Rates, by Race/Ethnicity
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity
Share of Workers who are Professionals, by Race/Ethnicity
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Group
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity
College Admission Rate, by Race/Ethnicity
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity
Access to Financial Services, by Race/Ethnicity
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity
Cost of Homeownership, by Race/Ethnicity
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity


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