Sunday, October 30, 2016

Grade 10 MCAS 2017 Test Design Now Available

The Department's Student Assessment website is continually updated with newly released information regarding MCAS and other student assessments.  Grade 10 MCAS test design information is currently available for ELA, and math.  Grade 5, 8 and 10 MCAS science information is also available.  Blueprints for grade 3-8 Next Generation MCAS assessments will be forthcoming.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Public Forums on Changes in Light of the Federal Every Student Succeeds Act

The Department will be updating its accountability system in light of ESSA revisions.  As ESE starts to draft the Commonwealth's ESSA plan, ESE will hold five public forums to gather feedback. Register here for one of the following events, all of which will run from 6-7:30 p.m.

·         Monday, November 14, second floor of the Bolling Building, 2300 Washington St., Roxbury
·         Monday, November 21, Oak Middle School, 45 Oak St., Shrewsbury
·         Tuesday, November 29, Brockton High School, 470 Forest Ave., Brockton
·         Thursday, December 1, Holyoke High School, 500 Beech St., Holyoke
·         Tuesday, December 6, Collins Middle School, 29 Highland Ave., Salem

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

How are graduation cohort rates calculated?

MA ESE calculates graduation cohorts two ways, using both a 4 year and 5 year cohort graduation rate.  Students are assigned to a cohort based on when they enter a MA school system in grades 9-12.  Once a student is assigned a cohort, their cohort never changes, even if that student transfers schools or is retained.  Click here to find more information about graduation rate data:

To calculate the 4-year graduation rate, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) tracks a cohort of students from 9th grade through high school and then divides the number of students who graduate within four years by the total number in the cohort. In other words the rate provides the percentage of the cohort that graduates in 4 years or less. For example, the formula for the 2011 cohort is:
# of students in cohort who graduate in 4 years or less
a black line
[# of 1st time entering 9th graders in 2007–08] − transfers out + transfers in

ESE understands that many students need longer than fours years to graduate from high school, and that it is important to recognize the accomplishment regardless of the time it takes. Therefore, ESE will publish a 5-year graduation rate when data become available and additional rates as policy and program needs may warrant.
The 5-year rate for the 2010 cohort will be calculated as:
# of students in cohort who graduate in 5 years or less
a black line
[# of 1st time entering 9th graders in 2006–07] − transfers out + transfers in

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

New Data Available in the MA DESE Security Portal

MA DESE has posted 2016 annual dropout and cohort graduation rate data in the Security Portal for district and school review.  Districts can make corrections via the October SIMS submission by October 27, 2016.  Final dropout and graduation rates will be made public in January 2017, following the verification of the October 2016 SIMS collection.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

MA DESE Student Assessment Update

2016-17 state testing window can be found here:

Become familiar with changes to the test design for the grades 3–8 ELA and Mathematics tests and the transition plan for the Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) tests, and share information with your staff.
  • ELA: Students will be assessed in writing in response to text at all grade levels, instead of participating in a separate composition test at certain grades (note, however, that the grade 10 ELA Composition will remain). More information, including the new test designs, will be posted later this fall.
  • Mathematics: Test design changes are being finalized, and the new test designs will be posted later this fall.
Information for planning for computer-based testing for the Next Generation MCAS can be found here:

Accommodations and accessibility information for students with disabilities on the Next Generation MCAS can be found here, as well as dates for upcoming October workshops on testing accommodations: