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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Report on Scheduling of Comprehensive Audits and Reviews

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
October 9, 2015

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The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education engages in numerous district and school reviews for a wide variety of purposes throughout the year. It is the Department's goal to ease as much of the burden these reviews place upon districts and schools as possible, while also maintaining the high quality of these reviews so that we may fulfill our legal and public obligations.

To this end, the legislation that called for the creation of the Department's Office of School and District Accountability (now called the Center for District and School Accountability, hereinafter CDSA) requires CDSA to ensure that no school or district is audited during the administration of any statewide assessments, and shall coordinate with other entities in the department to ensure that a school or district is not subject to multiple comprehensive audits or reviews by the department or any accrediting body within a 9 month period unless the board specifically votes to do so on an emergency basis (M.G.L. c. 15, § 55A).

To help facilitate scheduling, the Department has created a database of all comprehensive reviews year by year, including five-year charter renewal reviews, Comprehensive Program Reviews (CPRs) by our Program Quality Assurance office, district accountability reviews by our Center for District and School Accountability (CDSA), and accreditation reviews by the outside agency New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). The reviews scheduled by the above offices included several potential overlaps in 2015-16 that were resolved as discussed below.

Districts that Agreed to an Overlap

Two superintendents were notified of scheduled reviews overlapping in a nine-month window and chose to proceed with both reviews. Changes in the dates of CPRs were made to accommodate the districts. The districts are:

  • North Attleborough (CPR and NEASC)
  • Tantasqua (CPR and NEASC)

Overlaps resolved within ESE

The Program Quality Assurance office and Charter School Office worked together to resolve potential overlaps for their scheduled reviews by:

  • scheduling a charter review to put it outside the nine-month window, though still in this year (Innovation Academy Charter).

In addition, when selecting the districts for the 20 district accountability reviews required by state law, CDSA used the comprehensive reviews schedule as an element of its selection criteria and worked with the Program Quality Assurance office to resolve one potential overlap. Specifically, the CPR of one district, Southbridge, was postponed to the 2016-2017 school year to allow a CDSA district review.

Overlaps Within NEASC

Boston has a NEASC review this year (2015-16) at Boston Latin School overlapping the nine-month window from a NEASC review that was done last year (2014-15) at Boston Latin Academy. NEASC is a private membership organization that is not under the Department's jurisdiction.

Taken together, these efforts have resolved all conflicts under the control of the Department.



Last Updated: October 14, 2014
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