SQF Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the School Quality Framework?

    The School Quality Framework is the district’s new system to measure school quality that takes into account the whole school, not just standardized test results. Schools are assigned a score from 0-100 based on measurements in five areas: Student Performance; Teaching and Learning; Family, Community, and Culture; Leadership and Collaboration; and Student Access and Opportunities. From this, a school quality tier from 1-4 is determined for the purpose of school choice. Tiers will be updated every two years to ensure greater predictability of school choices for families.

    How will the SQF help families?

    The School Quality Framework provides families with a more robust level of information on how schools perform on a broad range of measures. Families can dig deep into data on the aspects of a school that are most important to them – from academic achievement to quality teaching or school culture. Access to this expansive amount of data will help families make better-informed school choices.

    What is the purpose of the SQF?

    In response to calls to find a better way to measure school quality beyond test scores, the Boston School Committee in 2013 assembled a group of community members and experts who created a new framework that measures quality by focusing more on student growth and looking at key aspects of a school’s culture. It also provides families greater transparency of a school’s overall quality.

    How is the new BPS school quality tier system different from the state accountability levels?

    The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) uses standardized test scores to largely determine a school’s level, in comparison to the performance of other schools statewide. Current State accountability information is available on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Web page. The School Quality Framework assigns an individual score to a school, based on a more comprehensive and holistic view of school quality. This broader range of areas now used to measure school quality includes student growth, school climate, and the closing of the achievement gap, among many others.

    Will all BPS schools receive a School Quality Framework Tier?

    Most elementary, middle, and K-8 schools receive a school quality tier under the new framework. However, there are some schools, such as early education centers as well as special education and alternative schools, that are not given a score because they do not have students who take standardized tests or they are specialized schools.

    Where can I find this information about school choices?

    Families and students in all grades can explore their school options by visiting Discover.bostonpublicschools.org. Here, they can generate their customized choice list and dig deeper into the many parts of a school’s quality score, allowing them to research how each school performed in these different areas and to make school selections based on their specific needs and interests. All SQF data, including high school data, will be updated and publicly available via www.discover.bostonpublicschools.org.

    What is the Turnaround School Override Policy?

    The School Quality Framework Policy dictates that regardless of Quality Score, any school determined by the State to be a level 4 or 5 (Turnaround) will automatically be given Tier 4 status for assignment purposes. Families can learn more about these schools’ quality data through the School Quality Reports on www.discover.bostonpublicschools.org