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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Student Assessment

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


Our special Board meeting on Monday, October 19, will again focus on student assessment, in preparation for the Board's upcoming November vote on whether to adopt the PARCC test. Please note that the special meeting will begin at 4:00 pm, one hour earlier than normal. We also will devote a portion of Tuesday morning's meeting to this important topic.


  • We will show you representative questions from last spring's test. On October 23 the consortium will be publicly releasing a large number of items from each grade's tests, along with scoring information and sample student responses. In response to a question raised at our last meeting, I have enclosed a chart comparing the item release policies for MCAS and PARCC.

  • The Board will be briefed on recent research projects conducted under the auspices of the Executive Office of Education.

  • Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos Santiago will discuss K-12 student assessment issues from the perspective of our state universities and colleges.

  • Jeff Nellhaus, director of assessment at PARCC, Inc., will discuss the research conducted by the consortium during the 2014 field test and the 2015 operational test and how the findings are informing ongoing test development work.

  • Tuesday Bob Lee of our student assessment services office will present a state-level overview of the results from last spring's PARCC administration. We expect to release school and district summary reports in early November, once districts have had a chance to verify their data. I am enclosing the complete Assessment and Accountability Data Review and Release Schedule for this fall, which is also posted on our website. Technology costs: The Board requested more detailed information on the status of technology in schools and on the cost of needed upgrades. I expect to send this to you by email over the holiday weekend.

Other notes

  • Other studies: In addition to the consortium and EOE studies that we will discuss at the October meeting, there are several other studies in the pipeline that will be of interest. The Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO) are collaborating on an independent review of PARCC and its alignment to our curriculum frameworks. Bellwether Education Partners is conducting a review of the consortium's governance structure and long-term sustainability. I will provide you with the results of these studies as soon as they are available.

  • Relationship of PARCC and MCAS scores: In response to a question raised at last month's meeting, I am enclosing a chart showing to what degree the variance in PARCC scores is related to prior year MCAS scores.

Finally, I would like to remind you that we will hold our last public comment session relating to the PARCC decision on Monday, November 16, at Malden High School from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.


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Assessment and Accountability Data Review and Release Schedule
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Item Release Policies and Plans for Massachusetts Assessments
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Variance in PARCC scores predicted by prior MCAS scores

Last Updated: October 9, 2015
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