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Commissioner's Weekly Update - August 26, 2016

Preliminary Accountability Data:

This morning, ESE provided all districts and schools with embargoed access to their full preliminary 2016 district and school accountability data via the Accountability Data application in the Security Portal.

Superintendents, charter school leaders, or other district leaders must be assigned the security role "Accountability (District Level)" to access district data. Principals or other school leaders must be assigned the security role "Accountability (School Level)" to access school data. Each district's Directory Administrator is responsible for assigning security roles to the appropriate district staff members.

School and district leaders should review the preliminary accountability data and contact ESE at or 781-338-3550 with any questions or concerns. Preliminary accountability results do not reflect discrepancies reported during last week's MCAS discrepancy reporting window and are subject to change. The Department is working to address the reported discrepancies for the official accountability release in September.

The Department has scheduled three one-hour webinars to help district and school staff interpret their preliminary accountability data. Registration is required, and information about the webinars and how to register was sent to districts this morning in an On the Desktop email.

Early Warning Indicator System Data for 2016-17 Available:

The Department is pleased to announce the release of 2016-17 school year Early Warning Indicator System (EWIS) data, including a new student-level report that provides risk levels for high school students related to postsecondary outcomes. All EWIS data are available via Edwin Analytics in the Security Portal.

At this time, EWIS data is available for districts that certified the Student Course Schedule (SCS) and/or School Safety Discipline Report (SSDR) data collections by August 8, 2016. Districts that certify SCS and SSDR by August 27 will receive EWIS data in the next release, which is expected in mid- September. Districts should also make sure they have successfully claimed students in order to view all EWIS information. Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF) –enabled districts must rollover their student information system and configure their SIF agent for the 2017 school year in order to claim their current students and view their EWIS data.

The Department invites school and district staff to register for one of two "Introduction to the Postsecondary Early Warning Indicator System" webinars. The webinars will be held at

  • 2 p.m. Tuesday, September 13 and
  • 10 a.m. Friday, September 16.

More information about EWIS is available online, and questions can be directed to

Next-Generation MCAS Update:

Existing 10th Grade MCAS May Continue an Additional Year:

Following a recommendation from the High School Testing Workgroup, Commissioner Chester plans to recommend to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education that ESE extend the legacy MCAS to the class of 2020. This means that the first class of students to take the grade 10 Next-Generation MCAS tests would be the class of 2021, this year's eighth graders. The eighth graders will take the grade 8 Next-Generation MCAS in spring 2017.

The recommendation helps ensure that students have experience with a next-generation assessment before they take the grade 10 Next-Generation MCAS, which are required to earn the competency determination required for a high school diploma.

The commissioner will bring his recommendation to the Board in September.

Update to the Board:

More information on the progress of the Next-Generation MCAS is available in Commissioner Chester's August 22, 2016 memo to the Board. It includes information on participation rates, standard setting, and the review of Massachusetts' learning standards. More detailed information will come in Student Assessment's back-to-school newsletter in September.

Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching:

Four Massachusetts educators are among the 213 recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching announced August 22, 2016.

The Massachusetts recipients are John Heffernan, a science educator, and Karen Schweitzer, a mathematics educator, both at the Anne T. Dunphy School in Williamsburg; Neil Plotnick, a mathematics educator at Everett High School; and Keith Wright, a science educator who worked at The Springfield Renaissance School in Springfield when he was nominated but who now works for the Hampshire Regional School District, which is based in Westhampton. Congratulations to all!

Massachusetts ACT Scores at Top of Nation:

Massachusetts high school students in the graduating class of 2016 had the highest average composite score in the nation on the ACT test, an annual predicative measure of college and career readiness for many high school graduates, according to results announced August 24, 2016.

According to this year's ACT results, Massachusetts 2016 public and private high school graduates who chose to take the ACT had an average composite score of 24.8 out of a possible 36, up from last year (24.4). The national average was 20.8, which fell slightly from last year's 21.0. In addition, 53 percent of Massachusetts graduates met all four ACT college readiness benchmarks, up from 51 percent last year and above the national average of 26 percent.

Online Courses on Foundations for Inclusive Practice:

The Department has sponsored the creation of two online courses to help educators meet the needs of all learners in inclusive settings. These courses are self-paced and free to Massachusetts educators. The courses are also one way for Massachusetts educators to earn the 15 professional development points in "effective schooling for students with disabilities and instruction of students with diverse learning styles" that are required to renew a professional license.

The courses are Foundations for Inclusive Practice: Administrator and Foundations for Inclusive Practice: Educator and present a rigorous and engaging sequence of professional development about meeting the needs of all students. Educators can register at the Guidebook for Inclusive Practice website. Districts who are interested in forming communities of practice as a supplement to these courses can fill out this short form.

For Your Info:

Subscriber Information: Superintendents, assistant 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) Leave the subject line blank. 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 26, 2016
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