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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Support to Districts to Integrate Curriculum Frameworks and Educator Evaluation Framework; and Final Adoption of Technical Amendment to Educator Evaluation Regulations

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
December 6, 2013

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Superintendents, principals, and teachers agree that aligning curriculum and instruction to the 2011 curriculum frameworks and implementing the new educator evaluation framework are two important and worthwhile endeavors - and that it is challenging to implement these and other initiatives simultaneously. This memo describes two steps the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is taking to support districts in addressing these challenges:

  1. Supporting districts to integrate the implementation of the Curriculum Frameworks and educator evaluation
  2. Providing additional time through final action on a proposed amendment to the timeline requirements of the Educator Evaluation Regulations

I. Supporting Districts to Integrate Implementation of Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and Educator Evaluation

At the September 2013 Board meeting, we reviewed the timeline for implementing educator evaluation and the expectations for districts and RTTT charter schools. At the November 2013 Board meeting, I described educator evaluation implementation efforts aligned to the Curriculum Frameworks and presented data from the November Curriculum Summit. In this memo, I explain some of the approaches the Department has taken and will be taking to support integration of these initiatives. By integrating these major reform efforts, we aim to strengthen instruction through educator evaluation that supports continuous improvement and to emphasize practices that lead to student mastery of the standards in the new frameworks.

District-Determined Measures (DDMs): Focus on the Five

During the 2013-2014 school year, all districts are piloting at least one potential District-Determined Measure in each of five areas. Districts will be identifying or developing measures (DDMs) to assess student learning for educators in all grades and subject areas, the results of which will lead to opportunities for robust conversations about student achievement, and ultimately improved educator practice and student learning. The required pilot areas, four of which were selected to align with key curricular shifts presented in the new Curriculum Frameworks, are:

  • Early grade (K-3) literacy
  • Early grade (K-3) math
  • Middle grade (5-8) math
  • High school writing to text
  • Traditionally non-tested grades and subjects (e.g., fine arts, music, physical education)

The Department's Educator Evaluation team and Curriculum and Instruction team are collaborating to provide the field with a range of supports focused on integrating the Educator Evaluation framework and the new Curriculum Frameworks in the five DDM pilot areas.
The attached table provides a summary of the integration work.

Two examples illustrate our effort to support district integration of curricular and instructional improvement efforts and educator evaluation:

Example #1: Curriculum and Planning and Connections to District-Determined Measures
In the past year, the Department's Curriculum and Instruction team, in collaboration with educators across the state, has developed and released over 80 Model Curriculum Units (MCUs) that span grades PreK-12 in mathematics, English Language Arts, history & social science, and science, technology and engineering. The units are designed to provide models for creating curriculum units using the "Understanding by Design" process. These units also include a curriculum-embedded performance assessment, lesson plans, and digital resources. See this link for more information: http://www.doe.mass.edu/candi/model/.

As districts implement these MCUs, the Department is supporting the districts to make the connections to educator evaluation. The Department's Educator Evaluation team developed a guidance document, Using Current Assessments in District Determined Measures: Leveraging the Curriculum-Embedded Performance Assessments from the Model Curriculum Units Download PDF Document  Download Word Document. It outlines a three-step process to help districts develop a District-Determined Measure that builds on current assessments, including the assessments in the Model Curriculum Units. The Curriculum Summit that we sponsored in early November featured an opportunity to learn more about the Model Curriculum Units and the process for using the assessments in the Model Curriculum Units to develop District-Determined Measures.

Example #2: Embedding the Curriculum Frameworks within the 5-Step Cycle for Educator Evaluation
The Department's Quick Reference Guide: Educator Evaluation and the Curriculum Frameworks, posted at Educator Evaluation webpage, supports district and school leaders to think through how implementation of the curriculum frameworks can be considered throughout the educator evaluation process. For example, when setting professional practice and student learning goals, educator goals could include the development of curriculum maps and units, common assessments, scoring rubrics, and performance indicators aligned to the frameworks.

The Department's guidance document, Aligned Activities: Implementing Educator Evaluation and the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, elaborates on integrative activities such as:

  • Developing SMART goals that are both horizontally and vertically aligned within the district and tied to the implementation of the curriculum frameworks; and
  • Video-recording instruction of standards-based units and using those videos for discussion in team meetings, faculty or department meetings to reflect and discuss educator practice connected to the rubrics.

Additionally, the Department plans to publish samples of student learning goals that are aligned with the implementation of the curriculum frameworks.

II. Amendment to the Educator Evaluation Regulations

The educator evaluation regulations that the Board adopted in June 2011 anticipated and incorporated specific deadlines for completion of various components of the new requirements. Our experience over the past two years has convinced us that additional time - beyond the initially anticipated deadlines - is necessary for districts to be able to implement the new evaluation requirements thoughtfully. At the September 2013 Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meeting, the Board invited public comment on a proposed amendment to the Educator Evaluation regulations, 603 CMR 35.00, that will provide the Commissioner with the authority to adjust implementation timelines as warranted. I will ask for a final vote on the amendment to the regulations at the December 17, 2013 Board meeting.

Background; Proposed Amendment

In June 2011, the Board adopted new regulations to guide the evaluation of educators, 603 CMR 35.00. Stakeholders including superintendents, principals, and union leaders agree the Educator Evaluation framework represents work well worth doing, but have requested additional time to implement with fidelity and to promote sustainability of these efforts. I agree that we should provide flexibility with respect to timelines, where appropriate, to enable schools and districts to implement this important initiative effectively. For example, I believe it is wise to reserve the 2013-14 school year for researching and piloting DDMs. This will allow districts an opportunity to engage educators in identifying and selecting DDMs, and to test assessment administration strategies in a no-stakes environment.

The regulations provide for a staggered rollout for the new educator evaluation system. While many of the dates in the regulations have been met, some dates need to be modified. For example, the regulations require that by September 2013, all districts must identify and report to the Department a district-wide set of student performance measures for each grade and subject that permit a comparison of student learning gains. Yet, as districts began the task of identifying at least two measures of student growth to match with each educator, it became clear that additional time was needed.

As a result, in September 2013 I proposed an amendment to the regulations that would allow me to adjust dates in the regulations for good cause. The proposed regulation reads as follows:

35.11: Implementation and Reporting

(10) The Commissioner may, for good cause, modify the dates set forth in these regulations, including establishing new schedules for implementing regulatory requirements. Good cause may include the need to provide districts additional time in order to pilot for a limited period certain provisions of the regulations. The Commissioner shall provide notice of all such changes. The proposed regulation is responsive to the field and provides appropriate flexibility.

Public Comments

We did not receive any comments on the proposed amendment to 603 CMR 35.00 during the public comment period. Consequently, I am recommending no changes to the proposed amendment.

Enclosed are the final regulations with the changes indicated by underline. Also enclosed is a clean copy of the final regulations as they would appear if approved. I recommend that the Board adopt the amendment as presented. If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact Associate Commissioner for Educator Quality, Heather Peske; or Deputy Commissioner Alan Ingram; or me.

Attachments:

Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Educator Evaluation and Curriculum Frameworks Integration Table
 
Final Educator Evaluation Regulations - 603 CMR 35.00 - tracked Download PDF Document  Download Word Document and clean Download PDF Document  Download Word Document versions
 
Motion


Last Updated: December 11, 2013
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