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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Discussion of Next-Generation Accountability System Design

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Jeff Wulfson, Acting Commissioner
Date:
December 8, 2017

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Since the approval of the Massachusetts state plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in September 2017 and the release of the 2017 student assessment results, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) has been refining plans for the new district and school accountability system. At the December 19, 2017 meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board), we will discuss the implementation of the Department's approved accountability system.

Background

State and federal laws require that the Department implement a system of district and school accountability. Prior to 2012, the Commonwealth's schools and districts were assessed based on both the state's five-level framework for accountability and assistance and the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. From 2012 to 2016, Massachusetts operated under a flexibility waiver from the U.S. Department of Education, which permitted us to implement a single, unified accountability system that maintained our state's high standards and expectations and met both federal and state requirements. The enactment of ESSA in 2015 and our state's transition to a Next-Generation MCAS assessment have given us the opportunity to rethink the design of our accountability system.

Overall System Design

The framework for our new accountability system allows the Department to identify schools that require assistance or intervention, as well as schools that are demonstrating success. It maintains a single statewide accountability system that meets both state and federal education requirements. Highlights of the new system include:

  • The inclusion of additional accountability indicators, which will provide information about school performance and student opportunities beyond test scores;
  • A focus on raising the performance of each school's lowest performing students in addition to the performance of the school as a whole; and
  • The discontinuation of accountability and assistance levels (Levels 1 to 5), which will be replaced with accountability categories that better define the progress that schools are making and the type of support or assistance they may receive from the Department.

I wish to acknowledge and thank the many educators and other stakeholders who have provided us with their counsel and advice during this process.

Senior Associate Commissioner Russell Johnston and Associate Commissioner Rob Curtin will be at the meeting on December 19 to present the new system design and respond to your questions.

Attachment:

Download PowerPoint File
School/District Accountability System PowerPoint


Last Updated: December 11, 2017
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