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Commissioner's Weekly Update - August 9, 2013

Preliminary 2013 MCAS Results and Accountability Data:

This week, ESE provided districts and schools with embargoed access to their full preliminary MCAS results in English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science and Technology/Engineering, and preliminary 2013 accountability data via the Security Portal. As a reminder, all MCAS results and accountability data are strictly confidential and embargoed until ESE officially releases them in mid September.

The intent of sharing preliminary results is to assist district and school leaders in using the data for educational planning purposes, and to allow for the reporting of potential data discrepancies. The MCAS and accountability data discrepancy reporting window will close at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 13, 2013. It is essential that principals and school leaders review their preliminary results before that time, or delegate this task to a designee, as ESE will not be able to correct discrepancies reported after the deadline in time for the official public release of results in September. The online MCAS discrepancy reporting tool is available at as well as detailed instructions for reporting discrepancies (also found in the MCAS 2013 Data Dropbox at the Security Portal).

ESE has also posted aggregated student participation results to each district's Accountability 2013 Data Dropbox. As MCAS participation can have an impact on Accountability and Assistance Level designations for districts and schools, we strongly encourage you to review these participation results during the discrepancy reporting window and report any apparent discrepancies via the MCAS discrepancy reporting tool by 5 p.m. on August 13, 2013.

New Competitive Grant Program for Districts:

ESE is offering a new competitive grant opportunity to advance professional practice by supporting districts' efforts to build the capacity of teachers, specialized instructional support personnel, and administrators in implementing the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks in ways that fully align with the state's new educator evaluation system. As part of this grant opportunity, ESE will collect, document, and disseminate promising practices to inform all Massachusetts districts. All public school districts and charter schools are eligible to apply. Proposals are due on September 30, 2013. The duration of the grant for Fiscal Year 2014 is from the time of award through August 31, 2014. For more information, go to

MCAS Testing Opportunities for 11th Grade Transfer Students:

As a reminder to superintendents and high school principals in making appropriate decisions about the participation of transfer students in MCAS testing, grade 11 students who are new to Massachusetts public schools may participate in either a retest or the spring grade 10 tests. Students who wish to qualify for the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship or the Stanley Z. Koplik Certificate of Mastery with Distinction Award, however, must participate in the spring grade 10 tests in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. ESE only uses scores on the standard grade 10 ELA and Mathematics MCAS tests - and not the focused retests - to establish criteria for the awarding of these two scholarships. We encourage high school principals and testing coordinators to recommend testing options for grade 11 transfer students that account for a student's past record and plans, while also balancing those options with other graduation requirements. Should you have any related questions, please contact Student Assessment at

Letters of Intent for Proposed Virtual Schools - Reminder:

Schools and collaboratives that are interested in applying for a certificate to operate a virtual school opening for the 2014-15 school year must submit a letter of intent Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document to ESE by August 16, 2013. The letter is a required submission in order for interested applicants to submit a full application in the fall. Go to for more information on virtual schools. If you have any questions, please contact Luis Rodriguez, Director of the Office of Digital Learning, at

For Your Info:

  • Grant Assurances Document: ESE has not yet received the Fiscal Year 2014 Grant Assurances Document from each school district. If your district has not yet submitted the assurances document, please do so immediately. The document is available online at
  • Race to the Top-District Competition: In last week's update, we provided information on the U.S. Department of Education's 2013 Race to the Top-District Competition. This grant application requires review by the state education agency. If your district intends to apply, please email your district grant application narrative to Helene Bettencourt, ESE's Race to the Top Implementation Manager, at by September 16, 2013. This will enable ESE to review each proposal and provide feedback prior to the October 3, 2013 application deadline. Please contact Helene at 781-338-3125 should you have any questions.


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Last Updated: August 27, 2013
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