What are District-Determined Measures (DDMs)?
District-determined measures (DDMs) are measures of student learning, growth, or achievement selected by the district. DDMs are designed to provide important feedback to educators about student learning. These measures should be closely aligned to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, or other relevant frameworks, and be designed to provide comparable evidence of the level of growth demonstrated by different students.
Is a DDM just another test?
Districts have considerable flexibility to identify the best measures to ensure that they are well aligned to content and provide meaningful information to educators. A wide range of assessment types may be used, including: portfolios, performance assessments, projects, or traditional paper and pencil tests. Where applicable, districts are encouraged to use existing assessments
that are aligned to the curriculum and provide meaningful information to educators about their students. Read Technical Guide B
for more information about the characteristics of an ideal DDM.
What types of resources are available to support districts in the identification/development of DDMs?
ESE has published a number of resources to support districts with DDM identification/development. A comprehensive list of ESE supports for DDM identification/development is available on ESE's Student Impact Rating guidance
The DDM implementation Briefs
are short resource documents (similar to our Quick Reference Guides
) focused on specific DDMs topics such as scoring and parameter setting
, using student growth percentiles
, investigating fairness
, using indirect measures for specialized instructional support personnel
, educators of English language learners
and special education
, and continuous improvement
. ESE is grateful for the collaboration with statewide professional associations in developing these briefs.
ESE has also released guidance on coaching teacher teams to develop common measures
for use as DDMs. The Guidebook for Inclusive Practice
also includes tools for reviewing the accessibility of common assessments
and measuring the growth
of students with diverse learning profiles.
Does ESE have approved measures?
No. ESE has supported the development and sharing of common measures
. These example measures can be used and modified by districts. However, districts are ultimately responsible for ensuring that DDMs are of sufficient quality to provide meaningful feedback to educators and evaluators.
If a teacher teaches more than one subject, course, or grade is he/she required to have DDMs for each of them?
Each educator must be matched with at least two measures (DDMs or statewide growth measures). Statewide growth measures must be used as one measure, where available. Districts are not required to identify DDMs for all grade/subjects or courses a given educator teaches.
Can an educator be matched with more than two measures in a given year?
Yes. The regulations (603 CMR 35.09(2)(a)
) describe using "at least two state or district-wide measures" in each year. Districts may use more than two measures subject to local collective bargaining agreements.
Can districts match educators with different DDMs from one year to the next?
Yes. Districts may need or want to change DDMs for a variety of reasons. For example, changes in educator assignment, shifts in local curricula, or emerging district priorities are all potential reasons for districts to change DDMs. Similarly, as part of the continuous improvement of DDMs, districts will be reviewing student results and may, as a result, determine that a DDM must be modified or changed.
How will a district establish trends in learning, growth, or achievement if DDMs change from one year to the next?
DDMs should measure student growth during a single year. As a result, different measures can be used in different years. For example, if a sixth-grade teacher whose typical sixth-grade student showed high growth on two measures that year transfers to eighth grade the following year, and her typical eighth-grade student that year shows high growth on both new measures, that teacher can earn a Student Impact Rating of "high" based on trends and patterns. That said, if an educator changes districts across years, his/her students' results in the previous year cannot be used to construct a trend because of the confidentiality provisions of the regulations.
How can districts ensure DDMs fairly measure impact of teachers of students with disabilities and ELLs?
DDMs should provide all students an equal opportunity to demonstrate growth. Districts should engage educators with specialized knowledge about students with disabilities and ELL students in the selection and improvement of DDMs. Our DDM Implementation Briefs
provide multiple strategies for checking for and addressing bias in measures that districts can explore.
How should a district select DDMs for administrators?
Just as with teachers, districts should engage administrators to contribute to the process of identifying and selecting their DDMs. DDMs for administrators can be specialized measures of student learning from across the school, or aggregates of DDMs used to evaluate other educators, or indirect measures appropriate to the administrator's role. For more information, read ESE's Implementation Brief on DDMs for Administrators
Are there resources related to DDMs for Career/Vocational Technical Education (CVTE) educators?
Yes. ESE worked with CVTE educators and leaders from across the Commonwealth to create resources to support DDM identification/development. Resources
include case studies and examples from CVTE programs in MA, along with guidance to support schools and districts in different stages of DDM implementation.
Are there resources related to DDMs for Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (SISP) (e.g., nurses, school counselors, school psychologists)?
Yes. ESE worked with leaders from statewide SISP associations to publish the Implementation Brief on Indirect Measures and SISP
What about teachers who share students?
Districts should create a definition of "teacher of record." Multiple teachers can meet the definition for a given student or group of students. For example, if a student receives regular English language arts instruction and receives additional lessons from a different teacher, both teachers may meet the definition of teacher of record for that student.