Wednesday, April 26, 2017

SEI Surveys

The Department is surveying teachers and administrators in order to collect the data that will inform future sheltered English immersion projects and guidance. Each survey will prompt the reader to share the instructional planning processes and instructional practices that they commonly use or observe. The surveys are anonymous. The teacher survey is for SEI educators, coaches and specialists. District and school leadership – please take the administrator survey.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Special Education Leadership Institutes

The Department's Special Education Planning and Policy unit is working with three contractors to offer training for special education district leadership staff. Each leadership institute is free, will start in July or August, and will have at least 62 contact hours over the course of the school year. The institutes offer opportunities to apply concepts of systemic change, to better understand legal requirements and the implementation of evidence-based practices for creating inclusive environments, and to network.

 The four Special Education Leadership Institutes are organized by audience as follows, and more information is available at the links provided:
1.       Experienced special education directors, provided by WestEd. 
2.       New special education directors (less than five years experience), provided by ACCEPT Collaborative.  
4.       Special education team leader, provided by the Collaborative for Educational Services.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

School Climate Questionnaire Included with MCAS:

For the last 15 years, the 8th and 10th grade MCAS exams have included questionnaires that generally focused on academics and students' classroom experience. This year, the fifth, eighth and tenth grade MCAS exams include a questionnaire focused on school climate. One of ESE’s strategic priorities is to support students’ social-emotional learning, health, and safety, and the agency is piloting the school climate questionnaire as a way to collect more information on those areas. Students' responses to the questionnaire do not affect their MCAS scores, and students are free to answer all, some, or none of the questions on the questionnaire. Afrequently asked questions document about the questionnaire is posted online. Parents who would like to see the questionnaire should contact their principal or superintendent.

District and school leaders who would like more information on this year’s MCAS questionnaire project can contact Shelagh Peoples of the Office and Planning Research at

Monday, April 10, 2017

HS Dropout Analysis Data Now Available

Last week the Department released its updated high school Dropout Analysis tool for 2015-16.  Data is available for schools and districts with a minimum of 20 dropouts in the 2015-16 school year.  The analysis provides both aggregate and subgroup data across a range of indicators, including: attendance, course performance, behavior, demographics, age, Mass Core completion, and course credits.  The tool is intended to be used to determine the size of particular groups of dropouts for strategic planning and intervention purposes.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Key Changes to Educator Evaluation Data

Last month the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to amend educator evaluation regulations.  The amendment, which was based on public comments, removes one of the student impact ratings.  Teachers will no longer be asked to make a judgement about their impact on student learning (e.g. high, moderate or low), however student learning impact is still included as an indicator within the evaluation framework's four standards.

To learn more about these and other changes to the educator evaluation regulations, you can read the more detailed memo from Commissioner Mitchell Chester:

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Board Approves New MCAS Performance Level Descriptors

Last week, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved the revised descriptors for the new Next Generation MCAS assessment performance levels.  Scores will fall into the following four categories: Exceeding Expectations, Meeting Expectations, Partially Meeting Expectations, Not Meeting Expectations.

The legacy grade 10 MCAS will continue to use the existing descriptors (Advanced, Proficient, Needs Improvement, Warning) until the Next Generation grade 10 MCAS is adopted.

More information on the new descriptors can be found here: