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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Studies on District Assessment Practices

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
September 11, 2015

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Assessment of students is an important component of the education process, as it allows teachers, students, and parents to understand students' strengths and weaknesses, identify instructional modifications that will support student learning, and measure progress. However, the need for data to inform practice must be balanced against the value of the information gathered and the time that assessment can take away from instruction.

During school year 2014-15, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education commissioned several studies to better understand assessment practices in Massachusetts public school districts, focusing on three research questions:

  • What are the purposes for which assessments are administered?
  • How much time is spent on district and state assessments?
  • How do districts prepare for and schedule assessments?

To answer these questions, we conducted a statewide survey of superintendents in October 2014, interviews of district and school staff in a representative sample of 35 districts in winter 2014-15, and case studies in four districts in spring 2015. Attached is a summary of findings across all three studies, as well as the individual report for each study.

At the Board meeting, Carrie Conaway, associate commissioner for planning, research, and delivery systems, will share the findings from these studies and answer your questions.

Enclosures:

 
Massachusetts Study on Assessment Practices in Districts- Phase 1 Summary
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Massachusetts Study on Assessment Practices in Districts- Interim Report
 
Assessment Practices Superintendent Survey
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Massachusetts Study on Assessment Practices in Districts


Last Updated: September 15, 2015
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