Assessment & Accountability

The Assessment & Accountability department supports the data needs of students, families, and staff by:

  • Overseeing all school, department, district and state assessment processes, including building, maintaining, and analyzing assessments
  • Providing support and training on assessment systems, assessment literacy, and various assessment-related technology
  • Preparing reports for various stakeholders
  • Overseeing myriad data for the district, including attendance, college-going, behavior, and teen health survey.

The department utilizes various tools and services to help school and department teams monitor student progress in an effort to make evidence-based decisions about instruction, student support, and school climate. It is our goal to work with school and program leaders to build a strong culture of data use.

district plan graphic2023-24 District/School Climate Survey

Cambridge Public Schools strives to provide high quality learning experiences that meet the needs of all of our scholars and build welcoming schools. Families, students, and staff had the opportunity to share their feedback in the first District Climate Survey since 2020. The feedback will inform decisions and contribute to the ongoing implementation of the District Plan.

The survey was open from Monday, November 27 to Friday, December 15. The district saw record participation with over 68 percent of families and caregivers completing the survey. The district partnered with Panorama Education for the survey. Panorama safeguards participants privacy, keeping their responses confidential.

Key Findings and Next Steps

Please see Panorama-generated reports for the family survey, staff survey (school-based and district-based/principals), and students (grades 3-5 and grades 6-12). Key findings are summarized below.

Overall

  • Across the topics asked in 2019, the data were fairly consistent with current outcomes.
  • On School Climate, families had the most favorable responses of any stakeholder group, particularly those in elementary grades.
  • On the topic of Belonging, students in grades 3-5 had the most favorable responses of any stakeholder group.
  • Families of Multilingual Learners and students who are Multilingual Learners had extremely favorable responses across all topics, consistent with findings from 2019.

Families

  • Families generally had favorable responses across all three topics; in the area of “Barriers to Engagement,” the busyness of families’ schedules was the main barrier to families/caretakers being more involved in their children’s school, similar to 2019.
  • Families’ perceptions of school climate places CPS in the 70th percentile nationally.
  • Within climate, families responded most favorably about schools valuing the diversity of children's backgrounds and least favorably to how motivating classroom lessons are, consistent with CPS findings in 2019.
  • Families’ perceptions of school fit are in the 60th national percentile, with families largely seeing their school as a good fit given their cultural background.
  • Overall favorability is strongest in elementary grades and weakest in grades 6-12, consistent with national data and CPS findings from 2019. Favorability also differs across race/ethnicity, income, and home language.

Staff

  • In general, staff express trust and respect in their working environment and find their work meaningful.
  • However, significant numbers of staff are exhausted, stressed, overwhelmed and frustrated.
  • Moreover, the majority of staff are reporting insufficient levels of feedback / coaching in their work.
  • Across the board, members of Unit A (teachers) and those who “prefer not to answer” have the least favorable responses. Survey takers were able to select "choose not to respond" when asked about identifying their demographics.

Students

  • In the area of school climate, students were least favorable about the degree to which student behavior gets in the way of learning.
  • Students report that it is important to do well in school, though they see less application of what they learn in their daily life.
  • Students report that teachers encourage them to both persevere and explain their answers, but also are less favorable about the degree to which teachers have universally high expectations of them.

Upcoming Town Hall

The district will host a town hall on Monday, March 18 to go over the findings, share next steps, and answer questions. More details about the time and location will be shared soon.


1 2019 was the last year in which CPS administered school climate surveys.

2 Survey takers were able to select “choose not to respond” when asked about identifying their demographics.
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