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Measuring Educational Progress through the Common Data Report


  • State education agencies wanted more accurate and reliable data to compare across six New England states.
  • Abt provided support to improve the quality and comparability of educational data.
  • With Abt’s support, the NESSC Common Data Report was released in 2021.
The Challenge

The level of understanding regarding the progress being made by students in secondary school can vary from school to school and state to state. In order to collect and present data trends across Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut, the New England Secondary School Consortium (NESSC) formed in 2009. Each year, NESSC and partners update the Common Data Project Annual Report to provide insight and direction to administrators, schools, and families. Data collection was particularly critical to understanding how the COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted and disrupted learning for millions of students in the six states.

The Approach

In partnership with the NESSC and the Great Schools Partnership, Abt collected and analyzed educational data (e.g., high school graduates, college enrollment rates) for the 2021 Annual Report. To examine educational equity, the Abt team disaggregated data by economic disadvantage, English learner status, disability status, gender, race and ethnicity.

The Results

Key findings from the report were released in 2021. Highlights included:

  • High school graduation rates continue to increase,
  • Four-year graduation rates are up to 90 percent for multiple groups,
  • Achievement gaps persist for historically disadvantaged students, and
  • COVID-19 has deepened some existing educational disparities (e.g., college enrollment rates of English learners and economically disadvantaged students).