Commissioner's Weekly Update - August 23, 2013
Spring 2014 PARCC Field Test:
Today, ESE emailed superintendents and charter school leaders in districts where one or more of their schools were randomly selected to participate in this year's Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) field test in English language arts/literacy and mathematics in grades 3-11. Pearson, the field test contractor, will follow up with a second email to those school leaders by Sept. 4 to provide additional details about the test administration, including the names of individual schools selected to participate. Our expectation is that schools selected to participate in the field test will do so. In the event that some schools are excluded from the field test for extraordinary circumstances, Pearson will need to select additional replacement schools in September or October. Those replacements schools may come from either districts notified today or ones that are not yet in the sample.
PARCC's goal in selecting districts and schools to participate was to draw a representative sample. For Massachusetts, nearly two-thirds of schools statewide (about 1,250 out of more than 1,800 schools) were chosen for the field test. The advantage of this sample size is that more schools and students are able to experience this new testing program while we limit the number of classrooms within each school that will have to participate. If you have any questions about the field test, please contact ESE at email@example.com.
MA is Tops in Nation on 2013 ACT:
Congratulations to Massachusetts students in the graduating class of 2013 who earned the top score in the nation on the ACT test. Massachusetts 2013 public and private high school graduates had an average composite score of 24.1 out of a possible 36. Forty-six (46) percent of Massachusetts graduates met all four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks, up from last year (44%) and above the national average (26%). For more information on the ACT results, go to http://www.doe.mass.edu/news/news.aspx?id=7644.
Update on Anti-Bullying Law:
The Fiscal Year 2014 budget, adopted in June by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Patrick, included amendments to the Massachusetts anti-bullying law (M.G.L. chapter 71, section 37O). Those amendments extend protections to students who are bullied by a member of the school staff, who are defined to include but are not limited to an "educator, administrator, school nurse, cafeteria worker, custodian, bus driver, athletic coach, advisor to an extracurricular activity or paraprofessional." The amendments are available online at School Bullying School Staff Clarification; School Bullying Staff Clarification; and Expansion of School Staff in School Bullying Law.
Districts and schools must update their Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plans, anti-bullying policies, and district policies pertaining to the conduct of teachers and students to reflect the changes required by the law, and inform school staff, students, and parents of these changes. ESE will update its Model Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan to reflect these amendments in September.
For Your Info:
- Statewide Legal Holidays and Major Religious Observances: Each year, ESE produces a memo containing a list of statewide legal holidays and major religious observances. This information assists district and school officials in planning the school calendar and making accommodations to students and staff who observe religious holidays. To see the memo, go to http://www.doe.mass.edu/resources/holidaymemo.html.
- New Sample PARCC Items: PARCC has released new sample test items for both English language arts/literacy and mathematics. To view the new sample items, go to http://www.parcconline.org/samples/item-task-prototypes. PARCC will release additional paper-based items in October 2013. PARCC will also re-release all sample items on its technology platform in November 2013 to provide an early opportunity to experience the tools and functionality of PARCC's computer-based testing.
Subscriber Information: Superintendents, principals, and charter school leaders will receive the update automatically. For others wishing to subscribe, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org 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)