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Best School Districts for Your Buck in Massachusetts

by Kamran Rosen

It’s the American Dream: a beautiful home in an affordable community, where parents can feel comfortable raising their kids. And for many families, this means finding a place with a great school district.

But in some cases, that’s easier said than done. Even in Massachusetts, a state known for the quality of its education, the most sought-after school districts often are in the wealthiest towns. And that means the best schools can come with a hefty price tag.

Yet school quality doesn’t always correlate with housing costs. There are many affordable cities with great schools, and many towns where better schools offset the moderate premium of living there.

We set out to help families find these hidden gems. Using school quality and cost-of-living measures, NerdWallet has discovered the Massachusetts school districts that best represent the most “bang for your buck.”

Interested in future NerdWallet studies? Click here to have updates sent directly to your inbox. 

Here’s how we determined the best school districts in Massachusetts:

  • Standardized test scores. This was a combination of 10th grade Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System scores and SAT averages in 2012.
  • College readiness. We combined equally weighted scores for the graduation rate and the percent of high school graduates seeking higher education in 2012.
  • Class size. We factored in the student-to-teacher ratio for our selected school districts.

We evaluated 226 unified and secondary school districts in Massachusetts. All data are from the U.S. Census Bureau or the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. To see the full data set, click here.

Comments (1)

Superintendent Jackson and the School Committee have been telling this story for years. Maybe yet another source will drive this point home. Do we spend a lot of money on our schools? Yes. Do we get great performance and value for those dollars? Absolutely! Our school system IS the golden goose in this Town. We deprive it of its required nourishment at our great peril.

Bill Dowd | 2014-10-01 10:39:41