Friday, March 31, 2017

Reminder to Administer an Infrastructure Trial (CBT)

The infrastructure trial acts as a “dry run” to prepare for computer-based testing by simulating testday network utilization and administration protocols. This will help to confirm that TestNav is configured to run successfully on student devices, the network is functioning as expected, and that staff and students are familiar with assessment features and protocols. 
The Department strongly recommends running an infrastructure trial prior to live testing. Information on conducting an infrastructure trial, including the Guide to the Infrastructure Trial, can be found here.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Digital Literacy and Computer Science Framework Implementation Panel

The Department is seeking 30-35 stakeholders to serve on the Digital Literacy and Computer Science Framework Implementation Panel that will help districts implement the 2016 Massachusetts Digital Literacy and Computer Science Framework by making recommendations on licensing, professional development, and communications needs related to the plan. To apply to serve on the panel, please take this survey before Friday, April 7, 2017.   

Panel members could be:
·         educators who teach computer science or digital literacy at the elementary, secondary, or collegiate level;
·         educators of students with disabilities or of English learners; 
·         educators who have incorporated digital literacy or computer science into other subjects;
·         district and school administrators;
·         community members, parents, librarians, and others who help support students' computer science and digital literacy skills;
·         business representatives who hire and train employees in computer science and related fields; and
·         researchers in computer science and digital literacy. 

The panel will meet for 10 full days in Waltham between May 2017 and April 2018, and up to seven of those days could be regularly scheduled school days. School district employees should ensure their administrator supports their participation before applying. Pending funding, panelists will be awarded professional development points, stipends for summer work, and reimbursement for substitutes and travel. For more information, contact Anne DeMallie.

Friday, March 24, 2017

ACCESS for ELLs Data Validation Window for Paper- and Computer-Based Tests

From March 27-April 5, data validation will be required for schools that administered ACCESS tests. In preparation for reporting accurate 2017 ACCESS results, test coordinators will be asked to log on to WIDA AMS to review and, if necessary, correct any discrepancies in their student data. Data corrections made after the April 5 deadline will be available only at school or district expense. The procedure for correcting your school’s student records is available in the ELL Assessment Update: Data Validation for Paper-Based and Computer-Based ACCESS for ELLsPlease contact Student Assessment Services with any questions about ACCESS for ELLs testing at or by phone at 781-338-3625.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Pilot on Early Childhood Data

The Department is looking for districts and schools to participate in a pilot program of a potential data element that would collect information on incoming kindergarten students' early childhood experience. The pilot will run from April through October and will help ESE determine the feasibility of including such an element in future Student Information Management System (SIMS) data collections. The Department has scheduled two hour-long conference calls for people interested in learning more about the data pilot and what participation would entail. The calls will be at 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 23, 2017 and 11 a.m. on Friday, March 24, and participants are asked to register in advance for the call they wish to join.

Anyone with questions can reach out to Jane Haltiwanger in the Office of Student and Family Support or 781-338-6314.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Test Administration Manuals Available to Download

Spring 2017 MCAS test administration manuals for principals and test administrators are now available on the Department’s website. New for 2017, there are separate manuals for the high school tests and for the grades 3–8 tests. For grades 3–8, there is one Test Administrator’s Manual (TAM) for computer-based testing and two TAMs for paper-based testing (the grades 4–8 PBT TAM includes instructions for the grades 5 and 8 STE tests, but the grade 3 TAM does not). High school manuals are posted here, and grades 3–8 manuals can be found here.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Massachusetts Analysis of Dropout Data Tool: 2014-15

MA DESE has developed an Excel tool to support the analysis of grade 9-12 dropouts.  This tool, available on the department's College and Career Readiness page, allows districts to analyze the characteristics of dropouts during the 2014-15 year, including age, demographics, and enrollment data.  The tool provides data on each of those early warning ABC factors- attendance, behavior and course accumulation- which research has shown to be key predictors of student success in high school.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Preliminary Timeline for Next-Generation MCAS Data Released

The MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has released a preliminary timeline for the release of assessment data from the Spring 2017 Next Generation MCAS for grades 3-8 in ELA and math.  As a new test, the data may be delayed due to the standards-setting process for identifying the thresholds for each achievement level.  At this time, the Department plans to release multiple-choice results to districts in June,  fully preliminary results in August, and results to parents in October.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

MA First in the Nation for AP Results

MA topped the U.S. this year for the number of students achieving a Level 3 or higher on Advanced Placement (AP) exams- a first for the state!  MA also celebrates the highest five and ten year growth in the percentage of graduates earning a 3 or higher.  Approximately 44.1% of MA class of 2016 took at least one AP exam.