The state has achieved better outcomes through an enterprise performance management system that engages state leaders in using performance data to continuously improve results.
2. Performance Management
In 2019, the Governor appointed an Assistant Secretary to lead the Office of Program and Performance Management within the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. The role leads the Office of Performance Management and Oversight, which measures the performance of all public and quasi-public entities engaged in economic development, tying its financial and programmatic support to economic outcomes on behalf of the state.
The state uses innovation to achieve its priority goals and improve results for residents.
The Strategic Innovation team within the Massachusetts Governor’s Office is tasked with implementing cross-agency collaboration, capacity building, and performance improvement for the Governor’s top priorities, such as the COVID-19 Eviction Diversion Initiative, Student Learning Time requirements, and the Future of Work initiative. Members of the Strategic Innovation team are embedded into various agencies to manage data implementations, create greater efficiencies, produce cultural change, and advance innovation and strategic thinking.
The state has data policies that outline the principles, people, and activities that govern its data collection and use.
6. Data Policies
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Researcher’s Guide to Massachusetts State Education Data contains data-sharing information about “what data is available, how to obtain and interpret it, and, ultimately, [how] to generate better research projects and more accurate and useful results” for improving student outcomes in the state. The guide has links to data sets such as aggregate data at the school and district levels, as well as information on confidential student-level data, non-confidential student-level data, and educator data. The department’s data-sharing memorandum of understanding template and corresponding approval process reiterates the confidentiality of student-level data.
Issue Areas: Economic Mobility, Education
7. Data Infrastructure
The state has improved outcomes through technology infrastructure that allows it to efficiently collect, inventory, and share data.
Issue Areas: COVID-19, Economic Mobility, Education, Health
8. Data Use
The state has improved outcomes by combining and analyzing cross-agency data to inform policy, budget, or management decisions.
8. Data Use
In 2020, Massachusetts launched the Eviction Diversion Initiative (EDI) led by the Department of Housing and Community Development to support tenants and landlords during the financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. EDI was developed and is managed by a cross-agency team that uses data from the state’s shelter services, rental assistance programs, trial courts, regional administering agencies (RAAs), housing consumer and education centers, community mediation services, legal services, and Mass211 call centers to assess rental assistance demand and prevent eviction.
By pulling datasets from across different divisions and organizations, EDI senior staff have been able to better understand the multi-faceted dimensions of eviction diversion and track the success of its programs more holistically. The dedication of these resources necessitated robust data collection, analysis, and visualization. EDI’s internal dashboard is an integrated data tracking tool used daily to monitor program performance and data-driven decision-making. The EDI public dashboard is updated monthly to provide transparency and accountability and share progress with the public, legislature, and other key stakeholders.
The Massachusetts Economic Research Department is a team within the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) that analyzes economic data and labor market information on Massachusetts, including employment and wage data, unemployment rate, short-term and long-term projections, industry and occupational statistics, and other workforce statistical information by labor market areas. Senior leadership at EOLWD uses this data to proactively respond to Massachusetts’ workforce needs in education, skill development, and industry changes. This data analysis is also accessible to the public through over 20 public economic tools and 25 public dashboards that are updated regularly.
Issue Areas: COVID-19, Workforce
9. Evaluation Leadership & Governance
The state has a leadership and governance structure with the authority to use evaluations to improve results.
9. Evaluation Leadership & Governance
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Office of Planning and Research is led by a Chief Strategy and Research Officer who is responsible for improving the use of data and research findings to influence policy and program decision-making. The Chief Strategy and Research Officer monitors progress toward the department’s goal of preparing all students for success after high school, along with the other five priorities detailed in the department’s strategic plan. The position oversees all activities related to research, performance management, research partnerships, and strategic planning.
Issue Areas: Education
10. Evaluation Policies
The state has evaluation policies and a learning agenda that outline the principles, people, and activities to use evidence to improve results.
In 2021, DESE used state funds to award almost $900,000 in evidence-based early literacy grants, which required that schools implement evidence-based practices in “culturally responsive and sustaining high-quality literacy instruction.” Also in 2021, DESE adopted a new statewide definition of evidence. DESE included the definition in plans required by the Student Opportunity Act (SOA). As part of the SOA, “districts are required to submit three-year, evidence-based plans aimed at closing persistent disparities in achievement among student subgroups.”