Friday, August 18, 2017

MCAS Data Release Update

This week, the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released additional MCAS data for grades 3-8, and grade 10.  This release included:
  • Raw scores for grades 3-8 in ELA and math
  • Complete results for grade 10 in ELA, math and science (including SGPs)
  • Assessment participation data
  • Essays for grades 4 and 8
In addition to the release of data, some test items were released on their partner site.

The data available this week is in addition to earlier releases of data, which included the Edwin Standards Analysis and Item Analysis reports.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Every Student Succeeds Act

This week, the Department presented their revised ESSA plan before the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.  The plan will go into effect during the 2017-18 school year, and outlines the accountability recommendations for schools and districts, as well as the Department's plan to support underperforming schools and subgroups.  The ESSA plan and the state's transition can be found here.  Information on other states' submitted ESSA plans can be found at the federal Understanding ESSA website.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

What You Need to Know about 2017 ACCESS Scores

In 2016, WIDA introduced its revised assessment of English language proficiency, or ACCESS for ELLs 2.0.  Compared with previous standards and assessments, ACCESS 2.0 requires students to demonstrate a higher level of achievement of English proficiency.  The MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has advised districts and schools to "base instructional and reclassification decisions for the 2017-18 school year on ACCESS 2.0 results that are equivalent to the previous ACCESS 1.0 results."  The Department has provided a crosswalk of scores (see below) and districts and schools can also use the WIDA Score Lookup Calculator to convert ACCESS 2.0 scores to previous ACCESS 1.0 results.

Here's what districts and schools need to know about the 2017 ACCESS results:
  • ACCESS 2.0 assessment is more closely aligned with current WIDA standards and 2017 scores will more accurately reflect the language skills an ELL student will need in order to be successful after they exit English language support programs
  • Students need to attain a 4.2 overall, and a 3.9 Composite Literacy score to exit ELL status
  • Some students' ACCESS scores may go down in 2017, and fewer students overall may qualify to exit their status as "ELL".  However, despite the decrease in scores, students may have still made progress in learning English since last year.  Progress indicators will be made available later in the summer 2017.  You can expect that students in upper grades and at higher English proficiency levels will be most affected by the score changes.
  • WIDA has developed parent handouts on these score changes available here.
  • Handouts and videos on sharing this information with teachers are available here.
  • You may use either the Department's "Concordance Table<>" or the WIDA Score Lookup Calculator <> to determine what last year's scores would have been with the new score scale applied. Educators can then compare scores from 2016 to 2017 on the same scale and determine where students made progress.

Additional information can be found:

Monday, August 7, 2017

Request for Feedback: School and District Profiles

The Department is asking users of the School and District Profiles site to complete a brief online survey to share their likes and dislikes. In addition, staff would love to talk with active Profiles users either by phone or in person to hear more. To participate in a Profiles focus group, please send an email to