Commissioner's Weekly Update - May 26, 2017
Sharing Practices Related to Students Who Are Above Grade Level:
The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education would like to learn more about how districts serve their students who perform above grade level academically. To that end, ESE is collecting information from all districts about their programs and supports for advanced students. The Department would appreciate it if districts leaders or their designee would complete this short form, which should take seven minutes or less, no later than June 5, 2017. The Department hopes to report findings to the Board at their June 27 meeting.
Seeking Input on Next-Generation MCAS Parent/Guardian Reports:
As ESE prepares to communicate the first round of next-generation MCAS results to parents in the fall, staff has created an online survey to gather feedback about the potential design of the parent reports. The survey questions ask for a response to a number of features, such as new graphics. Anyone interested in providing feedback can do so at http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3553793/Next-Gen-MCAS-Parent-Guardian-Report-Feedback. The survey will be open through June 6.
The next-generation MCAS tests were administered for the first time in grades 3-8 English language arts and mathematics this spring.
Financial Literacy PISA Results:
Massachusetts students' scores on the financial literacy portion of the 2015 Program for International Student Assessment put the state ahead of the United States as a whole and ahead of 12 out of the 15 nations and large regions that took this optional part of the test.
The test is given every three years to a sample of 15-year-olds in participating countries and economies. The 2015 PISA focused on science, reading and mathematics, and those results were released in 2015. The test also included a financial literacy assessment that was optional for countries and economies, and those results were released May 24, 2017.
If Massachusetts were a nation, it would have had the fourth highest score among the 15 nations and large regions that took the test, behind China (represented by four provinces), Belgium's Flemish community, and a collection of seven Canadian provinces.
For additional information about PISA, visit the National Center for Education Statistics' website.
Districts interested in providing more financial literacy education are invited to work with the state treasurer's office to hold a Financial Education Fair, in which participants simulate day-to-day budgetary decisions based on assigned occupations and financial situations. More information on organizing a fair and applying for funding is available online.
Accountability and Assistance Advisory Council to Meet:
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education's Accountability and Assistance Advisory Council will meet from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Thursday, June 1 at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel, 181 Boston Post Road West, Marlborough. Topics for discussion include changes to 2017 accountability reporting, Massachusetts' Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plan updates, and ESSA's requirements related to low-performing schools.
The Department is working to improve communication with school districts, parents, policymakers, and the general public. Please take two minutes to complete this survey. The feedback will help inform ESE's communication strategy.
For Your Info:
- Governor visits schools: Governor Baker and Education Secretary James Peyser visited Bentley Elementary School in Salem on May 24 and the Springfield Empowerment Zone on May 16. As part of both visits, the Governor asked educators about the autonomies at their schools and the improvements taking place. Bentley is a former Level 4 school that became a Horace Mann (sometimes called an "in-district") charter school and is now a Level 1 school. The Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership is a collaboration among the Springfield Public Schools, the Springfield Education Association, and ESE to improve education in the Level 4 middle schools that serve most of the city's middle school students.
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