Racial Equity
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Subgroup
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Source: Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education

What does this measure?

The percentage of students considered proficient on one of the state's third grade English Language Arts test, 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 third grade, students are learning to read; after third 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.

How is our county performing?

In 2023, 40% of Worcester County third graders were considered proficient in reading, down 13 percentage points from 2019 and lower than the state passing rate of 44%. Proficiency was lower among Hispanic or Latino students (20%), economically disadvantaged students (23%), and African American or Black students (32%) compared with students who are White (46%), not economically disadvantaged (56%), or Asian students (64%). Proficiency rates declined from 2019 among all groups; however, African American students in Worcester County had a reading proficiency rate that was four percentage points higher than similar peers at the state.

Among school districts in the County, three had overall proficiency rates of 70% or more while 10 had proficiency rates lower than 30% in 2023. Rates were highest in Southborough (78%), Harvard (71%) and Petersham (70%), and lowest in Southbridge (8%) and Seven Hills Charter Public (15%).

It is important to note that standardized educational tests like the MCAS do not offer a full picture of the performance and/or abilities of a student. It is crucial to contextualize these data in contrast with other social factors that can have a deep impact on student performance and learning.

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 nationwide. Most school systems in the United States are highly segregated, and Black and Latino students disproportionally attend schools with high proportions of low-income students and lower levels of resources such as access to early learning opportunities, experienced teachers, advanced courses, and modern technology and facilities. In addition, teachers across all school systems in the nation tend to be disproportionately White, and the cultural relevance of teaching practices and curriculum may vary.

Notes about the data

As assessments vary among states, it is not possible to include comparable data for the nation or other areas in this indicator.

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.

Data prior to 2017 is not comparable due to changes in the state test.

Percent of Students Passing Grade 3 Reading, 2023
All StudentsAsianBlack or African AmericanEconomically DisadvantagedHispanic or LatinoNot Economically DisadvantagedWhite
Worcester County40%64%32%23%20%56%46%
Worcester School District25%31%30%18%15%46%32%
Athol-Royalston School District19%14%20%26%19%
Clinton School District27%19%14%40%35%
Fitchburg School District30%50%29%24%21%47%44%
Gardner School District21%17%13%34%25%
Northbridge School District39%35%33%42%40%
Southbridge School District8%7%4%13%15%
Spencer-East Brookfield School District28%21%9%36%33%
Webster School District18%11%13%44%21%
Westborough School District57%68%25%25%26%63%59%
Massachusetts44%63%28%25%22%60%53%
Additional Worcester County school districts
Quabbin School District41%27%36%51%42%
Seven Hills Charter Public15%8%11%20%36%10%
Abby Kelley Foster Charter Public District36%38%35%21%36%37%
Ashburnham-Westminster School District42%38%43%43%
Auburn School District54%34%52%65%56%
Berlin School District69%76%75%
Blackstone-Millville School District50%39%29%61%56%
Boylston School District74%78%74%
Brookfield School District59%50%65%64%
Douglas School District33%15%40%39%33%
Dudley-Charlton Regional School District44%34%36%49%45%
Grafton School District58%62%21%33%64%57%
Harvard School District71%79%76%76%
Hopedale School District44%23%48%47%
Leicester School District39%23%21%53%45%
Leominster School District40%47%49%27%23%59%52%
Lunenburg School District46%28%64%55%43%
Mendon-Upton School District49%29%53%47%
Milford School District25%90%42%18%15%35%29%
Millbury School District47%39%45%50%47%
Narragansett School District31%24%29%37%32%
Nashoba School District64%82%39%33%68%65%
North Brookfield School District23%11%35%26%
Northborough School District64%73%40%43%71%64%
Oxford School District42%36%30%47%47%
Petersham School District70%92%71%
Shrewsbury School District64%72%57%38%35%71%65%
Southborough School District78%92%80%100%78%69%
Sturbridge School District57%39%57%61%59%
Sutton School District49%16%58%47%
Uxbridge School District36%19%0%44%41%
Wachusett School District55%90%39%32%35%61%57%
Quaboag Regional School District33%30%38%35%
West Boylston School District36%14%47%42%
Winchendon School District37%38%21%34%40%
Berlin-Boylston School District63%36%60%68%64%

Source: Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education




Number of Students Passing Grade 3 Reading, 2023
All StudentsAsianBlack or African AmericanEconomically DisadvantagedHispanic or LatinoNot Economically DisadvantagedWhite
Worcester County3,4973491599483992,5342,334
Worcester School District4172984231110186160
Athol-Royalston School District20102916
Clinton School District371672128
Fitchburg School District1228775504745
Gardner School District372471327
Northbridge School District562153550
Southbridge School District129436
Spencer-East Brookfield School District351422129
Webster School District271271516
Westborough School District16577310715572
Massachusetts28,1492,9731,5757,0823,44421,05718,417
Additional Worcester County school districts
Quabbin School District722045265
Seven Hills Charter Public1137741
Abby Kelley Foster Charter Public District4327283157
Ashburnham-Westminster School District66145260
Auburn School District10123117884
Berlin School District242221
Blackstone-Millville School District572143650
Boylston School District373632
Brookfield School District2271518
Douglas School District33442929
Dudley-Charlton Regional School District11434128096
Grafton School District1432384135105
Harvard School District51115135
Hopedale School District3333027
Leicester School District391142829
Leominster School District176920734010297
Lunenburg School District511074041
Mendon-Upton School District7877167
Milford School District759530134555
Millbury School District571454344
Narragansett School District361342329
Nashoba School District1319125119113
North Brookfield School District10278
Northborough School District1172217910074
Oxford School District431862534
Petersham School District141212
Shrewsbury School District27111683514236122
Southborough School District1153681110761
Sturbridge School District72986362
Sutton School District4434138
Uxbridge School District42703540
Wachusett School District271973014241229
Quaboag Regional School District28131525
West Boylston School District2432122
Winchendon School District352531031
Berlin-Boylston School District55565042

Source: Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education







INDICATORS TREND
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments 1
Increasing
Average Charitable Contribution 0
Maintaining
Households With Internet Access 1
Increasing
Protected Land 10 Not Applicable*
Voter Participation Rate -1
Decreasing
Voter Registration Rate 0
Maintaining
Arrest Rate by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Change in Total Population 1
Increasing
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Foreign-Born Population 1
Increasing
Language Diversity 1
Increasing
Population by Age -1
Decreasing
Households by Type 0
Maintaining
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Median Household Income 0
Maintaining
Household Income by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
80/20 Income Ratio 0
Maintaining
Income in Relation to Poverty Level 0
Maintaining
People Living in Poverty 0
Maintaining
People Living in Poverty, by Education Level 1
Increasing
People Living in Poverty, by Age 1
Increasing
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Overall Housing Cost Burden -1
Decreasing
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Median Home Value by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Homelessness 10 Not Applicable*
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Household Receiving Temporary Assistance 0
Maintaining
Households Without Vehicles 0
Maintaining
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Change in Employment by Sector 10 Not Applicable*
Change in Average Salary by Sector 10 Not Applicable*
Female to Male Earnings Ratio 0
Maintaining
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Employer Size 1
Increasing
Business Ownership, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Self-Employment Revenue 0
Maintaining
People Entering/Leaving County for Work 1
Increasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Preterm Births 10 Not Applicable*
Infant Mortality by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels -1
Decreasing
Prevalence of Children with Asthma 1
Increasing
People with Disabilities 1
Increasing
People Without Health Insurance -1
Decreasing
Cancer Incidence 0
Maintaining
Diabetes Incidence -1
Decreasing
Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions 1
Increasing
Opioid Overdose Mortality Rate 1
Increasing
Children Living in Poverty 0
Maintaining
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Economically Disadvantaged Students 1
Increasing
Disengaged Youth -1
Decreasing
Prekindergarten Participation -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 10 English, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 10 Math, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate, by Student Group 1
Increasing
Arrest Rate by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Household Income by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Median Home Value by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Business Ownership, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Infant Mortality by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 10 English, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 10 Math, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate, by Student Group 1
Increasing





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