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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Proposed Revisions of Curriculum Frameworks for English Language Arts and Literacy and Mathematics - Recommendation to Solicit Public Comment

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
November 18, 2016

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At the meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on November 29, 2016, I will ask the Board to vote to solicit public comment on the proposed revised Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for English Language Arts and Literacy and Mathematics. With the Board's approval, we will invite broad public input, make any necessary edits, and then bring the final revised frameworks to the Board for adoption in March 2017.

Background

At the Board's special meeting on October 24, 2016, Senior Associate Commissioner Heather Peske described Phases I and II of the framework revision process: the Department's initiatives between January and October of this year to involve educators from K-12 and higher education in reviewing the 2011 frameworks and suggesting revisions based on five years of implementation. The Board also received a documentation report on the standards review process written by Abt Associates. The Department's ELA and math staff members spoke about the substance of the proposed revisions and provided examples of changes made to preserve the high ambitions and improve the coherence and clarity of the documents. We appreciated your thoughtful questions and suggestions. The Department staff has made further revisions based on your comments. These are described in Attachment 2.

Next Steps

We are ready to move into Phase III of the framework revision process, releasing the drafts for public comment. The Department plans to release the following documents to help educators and others understand the scope and content of the revisions:

  1. Full drafts of the revised Curriculum Frameworks for English Language Arts and Literacy and Mathematics with revisions highlighted and changes tracked. These documents include the standards, introductory material, and supplementary appendices. (Attachments 3 and 4)
  2. Grade-by-Grade Detailed Standards Revisions in ELA/Literacy and Mathematics. These documents show the original wording of standards that have been revised, the revised versions of the standards, and the rationale for the revisions. (Attachments 5 and 6)
  3. Quick Reference Guides to the proposed changes, Improving the Massachusetts English Language Arts and Literacy and Mathematics Standards. These two-page documents are designed to introduce the proposed revisions to teachers and administrators and encourage participation in the public comment survey. (Attachments 7 and 8).

With the Board's approval on November 29, the Department will solicit public comment through an online survey with one section for ELA/literacy and one for mathematics. This survey will be organized to collect quantitative and qualitative data on the degree to which respondents judge the standards to be ambitious, appropriate for the grade level, coherent, and clear. Respondents will also be able to write comments on the standards or other features of the frameworks, such as introductory materials or appendices. This survey will be available from December 1, 2016 to February 17, 2017 and will be announced in the Commissioner's Update in early December. In addition to the online communications and survey, our staff will make presentations on the major changes to a number of state and regional organizations and professional organizations.

Staff will monitor and document public comment as it arrives from December through February, summarize the findings, and make edits as appropriate. I expect to present a summary of the public comments, along with the final revised frameworks, to the Board for adoption at the March 28, 2017 meeting. After the Board has adopted the revised curriculum frameworks, we will post them on our website and publicize them statewide and provide implementation support to districts. For example, from spring through summer 2017, the Department will conduct regional and online statewide professional development sessions about the new standards.

Senior Associate Commissioner Heather Peske and other staff members who have been engaged in this work will be at the Board meeting to answer your questions.

Enclosures:

1.
 
Motion to solicit public comment
2.
Download MS WORD Document
Responses to the comments and questions raised by the Board in October
3.
Download MS WORD Document
Full draft of revised Curriculum Framework for English Language Arts and Literacy
4.
Full draft of revised Curriculum Framework for Mathematics
5.
Download MS WORD Document
Summary of Grade-by-Grade Detailed Revisions in English Language Arts and Literacy
6.
Download MS WORD Document
Summary of Grade-by-Grade Detailed Revisions in Mathematics
7.
Download MS WORD Document
Quick Reference Guide, Improving the Massachusetts English Language Arts and Literacy Standards
8.
Download MS WORD Document
Quick Reference Guide, Improving the Massachusetts Mathematics Standards


Last Updated: November 22, 2016
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