The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Proposed Amendment to Regulations on Accountability and Assistance for School Districts and Schools, 603 CMR 2.00 (Limitation of Certain Provisions for 2016-17 School Year)
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
February 17, 2017
I am presenting to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education a proposed amendment to 603 CMR 2.00: Accountability and Assistance for School Districts and Schools. I will be asking the Board to vote on February 28, 2017 to solicit public comment on the proposed amendment.
Among other matters, the regulations describe the Commonwealth's framework for district accountability and assistance, and the process for placing schools into Levels 15. The proposed amendment would allow the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to refrain from placing certain schools into Levels 13 at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year.
Massachusetts schools enrolling students in grades 38 had the option of administering either MCAS or PARCC assessments over the last two school years. These schools are now transitioning to the next-generation MCAS, which will be administered for the first time in the spring of 2017. In light of these changes, the Board voted in November 2015 to hold these schools harmless in the state's accountability system. Given that vote, the varied assessments that have been administered over the last three years, and our anticipated transition to a revised system of accountability and assistance as required by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), I am proposing to reset the accountability baseline for schools administering the next-generation MCAS tests this spring, under the terms detailed below.
Schools enrolling students in grades 38 would not be placed in Levels 13 of the framework for district accountability and assistance for the 2016-2017 school year, provided that the school maintains at least 90 percent participation for each student group in each subject on the spring 2017 assessments and, if the school goes through grade 12, the school does not have persistently low graduation rates for one or more student groups.1 Assessment results will be reported publicly, and the 2017 next-generation MCAS results for grades 38 will serve as the baseline for future accountability reporting.
The first district and school accountability determinations under our revised system of accountability and assistance will take place in the fall of 2018. At that time, we plan to use assessment results and other indicators from 2017 and 2018 to make accountability determinations, with the intention of building up to a system that includes four years of data.
At the high school level, traditional MCAS tests will be administered as usual in 2017, and assessment and accountability results will be reported as they have in the past. High schools serving only grades 912 will continue to be placed into an accountability and assistance level based on their PPI and school percentile data, with adjustments for those schools with persistently low graduation rates, or low or very low assessment participation.
With the Board's approval, the Department will solicit public comment on the proposed amendment. I will also share the proposed amendment with the Board's Advisory Council on School and District Accountability and Assistance at their next meeting on April 12, 2017, for the council's review and comment. After reviewing all the comments and determining whether further changes are needed, I plan to bring the amendment back to the Board in April 2017 for final adoption.
A redlined version of the regulations is attached, along with a motion to solicit public comment on the proposed amendment. Senior Associate Commissioner Russell Johnston and Associate Commissioner Robert Curtin will be at the Board meeting on February 28 to answer your questions.
Proposed Amendment to Regulations on Accountability and Assistance for School Districts and Schools, 603 CMR 2.00 (Limitation of Certain Provisions for 2016-17 School Year) - clean version
Proposed Amendment to Regulations on Accountability and Assistance for School Districts and Schools, 603 CMR 2.00 (Limitation of Certain Provisions for 2016-17 School Year) - strikethrough version (redlined version)
1 "Persistently low graduation rate" is a federally defined term (below 67% for 4-years and below 70% for five years over a period of years).