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Commissioner's Weekly Update - August 16, 2013

PARCC Field Testing:

In spring 2014, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) will administer a field test in English Language Arts/Literacy (ELA/L) and Mathematics to more than 1.35 million students in grades 3-11 across 14 participating member states, including Massachusetts. The sample of students drawn for participation in Massachusetts will equal roughly 15 percent of the statewide enrollment in grades 3-11. ESE will notify districts of their selection beginning late next week. The testing contractor, Pearson, will then send a second communication by the end of August to those districts to provide more details about the field test, including the schools that have been selected, the grade(s)/subject(s), the number of classrooms, the administration mode (computer or paper), and the dates of the testing windows. We will also schedule several conference calls to answer any questions that district staff may have.

The field test is an important milestone in the development of our next-generation assessment system. The purpose of the field test is to understand how test items perform, to see how well those items measure student performance based on the new Common Core State Standards, and to inform test development in preparation for the planned operational launch of PARCC in the 2014-15 school year. No student selected to participate in the field test will take the entire PARCC test in both ELA/L and Mathematics. Most students who are selected will take either the performance-based or end-of-year assessment in one subject. A smaller number of students will take both the performance-based and end-of-year assessments in one subject.

As a reminder, PARCC will not generate any student, school, district, or state-level assessment or accountability results from the field test. The field test is an opportunity for states and the testing contractor to enhance the development of the operational test. It is also a chance for schools to experience the new test-through the field test or a practice test that all schools may access-a year before the operational launch. If you have any questions, please contact ESE's Student Assessment unit at

The Career Development Education Guide and Glossary:

There is an emerging consensus that academic proficiency alone is no longer enough to prepare students for success in the 21st century economy. All students, not just those enrolled in vocational programs, can benefit from opportunities to explore career options and experience work-based learning. Following up on last year's report from the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education's Task Force on Integrating College and Career Readiness Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document, ESE is developing a series of guides to support career development experiences for all students. The first in this series is the Career Development Education (CDE) Guide/Glossary, which provides a framework and resources for educators, employers and other practitioners on a variety of CDE activities. The guide can be downloaded from our website, or if you would like hard copies, please contact Shailah Stewart at

Educator Evaluation Update, District-Determined Measures:

An update has been provided to all superintendents and Race to the Top charter school leaders on timelines and expectations for implementing District-Determined Measures (DDMs) and the Student Impact Rating of the educator evaluation system. Revisions to reporting timelines have been made, in response to feedback we have heard regarding the challenge of implementing DDMs. ESE is continuing to support districts by aligning resources to deepen the integration of the implementation of the Curriculum Frameworks and the Educator Evaluation Framework. We are committed to working with MTA, AFT-MA, MASS, and MASC to develop model contract language on rating educator impact on student learning growth. The DDM update can be found here Please contact Ron Noble at 781-338-3243 or with any questions.

For Your Info:

  • In order to continue its support to current and future educators of mathematics who are taking the MTEL #03, #53, or #47 tests, ESE has made available a limited number of free three-month subscriptions to a web-based tutorial program by ALEKS software. The subscriptions are available on a first-come first-served basis while supplies last. After an initial adaptive diagnostic assessment, ALEKS will provide each participant with a summary report that can guide the participant's use of the learning mode tutorial. The program provides detailed explanations and opportunities for practice, and tracks the mastery of concepts and skills. To take advantage of this opportunity visit:


Subscriber Information: Superintendents, principals, and charter school leaders will receive the update automatically. For others wishing to subscribe, send an email to with the following information in the body of the email: subscribe ESEUpdate Your Name. (Example: subscribe ESEUpdate John Smith) To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with the following information in the body: unsubscribe ESEUpdate Your Name. (Example: unsubscribe ESEUpdate John Smith)

Last Updated: August 27, 2013
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