Academic Achievement

Relative to other states, student performance in Massachusetts is very strong—ranking among the highest in the nation. Fourth graders and 8th graders stand 17 and 20 percentage points, respectively, above the national average for students at or above the proficient level on the NAEP math exam. The national average is 42% for 4th graders and 34% for 8th graders.

Academic Achievement for Low-Income and Minority Students

Massachusetts earns a very high grade on academic achievement for low-income and minority students. Thirty-five percent of low-income 4th graders score at or above the proficient level on the NAEP math exam. The national average is 25%.

Return on Investment

Student achievement in Massachusetts is very high relative to state spending after controlling for cost of living.  

Truth in Advertising: Student Proficiency

Massachusetts posts excellent marks on the credibility of its student proficiency scores. The grade is based on the difference between the percentage of students identified as proficient in reading and math on the 2011 state exams and the percentage identified as proficient on the 2011 NAEP reading and math tests.

Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness

Massachusetts earns a very high grade preparing its students for college and careers. Twenty-eight students out of 100 pass an AP exam, and students have a good chance for college attendance by age 19.

21st Century Teacher Force

Massachusetts does a good job of creating a strong teacher workforce. The Bay State is particularly adept at identifying effective teachers. 

Parental Options

Massachusetts performs well providing parents with strong school choice options. It has a decent charter school law and allows some school choice amongst traditional public schools. 

Data Quality

Massachusetts earns an above average grade collecting and reporting high-quality education data. The state provided funding for a longitudinal data system but does not provide parents with information on their children’s performance. 


Massachusetts receives a very poor grade employing technology to provide quality instruction and personalized learning. Students do not have access to high-quality digital learning options. 

International Competitiveness

Massachusetts earns an excellent grade preparing its students to compete in a global economy, scoring the highest marks in the country in this category. Forty-seven percent of students are proficient in reading and math compared with an international standard, and 16 students out of 100 pass an AP STEM exam, the highest in the country.

Fiscal Responsibility

Massachusetts receives low marks on fiscal responsibility. Only 61% of the state’s pension is funded.