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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs: FY2015

District Determined Measures (DDM) Development Leadership Grant
Fund Code: 217

Purpose: The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) is offering grants to Download MS EXCEL Document Educational Collaboratives to support their role as leaders in the development of high-quality measures that are appropriate for use as District-Determined Measures (DDMs). This competitive grant opportunity will fund three important phases of work.
  1. Participation in DDM development training led by ESE staff.
  2. Leading the collaborative development and implementation of measures of student growth with Massachusetts educators from multiple districts.
  3. Continued support to districts around the development and refinement of future measures of student growth appropriate for use as DDMs.

In addition to supporting Educational Collaboratives as leaders in supporting statewide rollout of DDMs, this grant program will lead to the development of two final products available to districts across the Commonwealth. The first will be a collection of high-quality measures that demonstrate an array of assessment approaches across a wide range of grades/subjects and courses. The second will be a detailed, tested process for developing and revising student growth measures. ESE will collect, document, and share promising practices developed by awardees through this grant program in order to inform the work of educators in all districts.

Statewide goal and priorities: This grant program supports the state's overarching goal, to prepare all students for success after high school. Grant funds will contribute to this goal by supporting the following state priorities:

  • Strengthen curriculum, instruction, and assessment
  • Improve educator effectiveness

District standards: Activities funded under this grant may support any or all of the following four standards identified by ESE's District Standards and Indicators:

  • Curriculum and instruction
  • Assessment
  • Human resources and professional development
  • Student support
Priorities: The proposal should:
  1. Specify the content area the Collaborative is most interested in and equipped to lead educators through the process of developing a student growth measure that is appropriate for use as a DDM.

    ESE is prioritizing proposals for the following content areas:

    • Physical Education and/or Health
    • Academic Intervention and Support (e.g. Reading Intervention)
    • Arts (e.g., Music, Art, Dance)
    • Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (e.g., guidance counselors, school psychologists, school nurses, speech-language pathologists)
    • School Administrators
    • Foreign Language
    • Social Studies/ History
    • Science (aligned with the revised Science and Technology/Engineering standards.)
    • Emotional/Social/Behavioral

    Each proposal should identify first, second, and third choices of grades and content areas. Priority will be given to proposals that involve the development of vertically aligned measures for multiple grade levels within a content area. Since one of the goals of this grant is to develop a collection of examples from an array of content areas, ESE may request modifications to proposals to ensure the deliverables will result in a diverse sample of example measures.

    Proposals for other content areas, including math and ELA, will be accepted, but must demonstrate in what ways the proposal will yield an innovative measure of student growth.

  2. Identify the Educational Collaborative staff member(s) who will lead this work and participate in ESE training on September 24th, 2014 in East Walpole.

    The proposal should describe the relevant experience and qualifications that prepare the selected individuals to lead this work, such as skills related to:

    • Assessment development & use
    • Massachusetts' policy and guidance around DDM development and implementation
    • Group facilitation
    • Content area knowledge

  3. Describe how you will recruit educators (4-5 per measure) from Massachusetts districts with the requisite content expertise and experience to participate on a team that will develop a student growth measure.

  4. Identify the proposed process for developing student growth measures.

    Successful proposals will include the following components:

    • Training for Developers. The proposal should describe the training related to important concepts and skills necessary to develop student growth measures that will be provided to the team of educators. The proposal should identify the content and timing of this training, and how this training will be used to ensure the high quality of the assessment developed.
    • A proposed table of test specifications. The proposal should include a description of the content that will be measured by the developed assessment. Content should represent a meaningful sample of the content covered in the targeted grade/subject or course. The table of test specifications should identify the percentage of the measure targeted at each standard, and the associated level of rigor.
    • An approach for measuring growth. Since the goal of the grant program is to develop exemplar measures that demonstrate a diversity of content areas and approaches, describe how will you ensure that approaches other than a pre-/post-test model are considered by the team of educators developing the measure (read Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document Technical Guide B for a discussion of ESE's four recommended methods for measuring student growth with DDMs).
    • Items. Describe the process you will use to support the team of educators with the development of items, directions, or prompts. Include the process of brainstorming and generating items, editing and reviewing those items, selecting the best items, and ensuring alignment with the original table of test specifications.
    • Scoring Guide. Describe how you will support the team of educators to determine a process for scoring and measuring growth. Include the steps you will take to ensure that conclusions about student growth are comparable across the scale.
    • Parameters. A complete DDM has clearly determined parameters for determining if a student has demonstrated high, moderate, or low growth, as well as how this information should be aggregated. Describe the approach you will use to assist the team of educators in setting parameters (read the Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document Implementation Brief on Scoring and Parameter Setting for ESE's recommended approaches).
    • Administration Protocol. To ensure that the measure is administered in a fair and consistent manner, a complete DDM includes clear directions for when and how the measure should be given, as well as permissible modifications and accommodations. Describe the process you will use to support the team of educators with the development of a comprehensive administration protocol.

  5. Describe how you will work with the exemplar measure review team.

    All student growth measures created under this grant program will be reviewed by a review team comprised of individuals with deep expertise in student assessment and the instruction of English-language learners and students with disabilities. In addition, measures will be reviewed to ensure consistency in terms of layout, components, and formatting. Describe who will be responsible for incorporating review team feedback into the final deliverables and the process for completing this step.

  6. Present a plan for piloting and revising the developed measure during the 2014-15 school year.

    Once developed, the measure should be implemented in multiple districts, and reviewed and revised based on educator feedback and student results. ESE recognizes that the development timeframe may necessitate an abbreviated pilot window to commence in early 2015.

  7. Describe an approach for chronicling and disseminating the growth measure development process used by the recruited educators.

    In addition to developing a collection of high quality growth measures, a second but equally important goal for this grant program is the development and dissemination of effective processes for growth measure development. Successful proposals will include a detailed plan for how the Educational Collaborative will use the process developed under this grant program to support Massachusetts districts with the development of growth measures that meet their specific needs.

  8. A timeline for when each component will be completed.

    A successful proposal will identify the timeline for each component. The following outline can be used as a starting point for planning. Proposals need to balance providing enough time to complete each component and providing an opportunity to pilot the measure in the 2014-2015 school year.

    September: Leaders attend ESE training, recruit educators to develop DDMs, and recruit districts partners ready to implement these measures.
    Early October: Team of educators meet and receive training on quality assessment development. Educators review curriculum content maps and the proposed table of test specifications developed by the Collaborative to identify key content for the developed measure. Approach to measuring growth is determined.
    Late October: Educators begin to develop items for the measure.
    Early November: Educators review and select items for assessment. Scoring guide and parameters are developed.
    Late November: Administration protocol is developed. Assessment is submitted to ESE's review team.
    December: Review team provides feedback to Collaborative. Feedback is incorporated and measure is finalized.
    January: Assessment is piloted by districts.
    February & March: Lessons from the process of DDM development are shared with ESE.
    April & May: Plan for continued support of DDM development and review are developed by Collaborative.
    June: Assessment results are collected and reviewed by the Collaborative and team of educators. Feedback is collected from educators who piloted the measure.
    July & August: Team of educators reviews and edits the measure and shares revised version with ESE.

Eligibility: This grant is available to Download MS EXCEL Document Massachusetts Educational Collaboratives, as defined by law.
Funding: The total allocation for this grant program is $200,000, however the total amount awarded will depend on the quantity and quality of the proposals received. Applicants should clearly identify the award amount they are requesting (ranging from $15,000 - $30,000) and provide justification for the amount requested. The exact number of grant recipients will depend on the availability of funds and the grant amounts requested.
Fund Use: Educational Collaboratives may use funds for planning and implementation. Fund use must be consistent with applicable state and/or federal requirements.

Allowable expenditures include:

  1. Stipends for educators and project leaders
  2. Materials
  3. In-state travel to attend ESE meetings related to the project
  4. Other reasonable costs associated with project implementation

Unallowable expenditures:

  1. Contract buyouts
  2. Capital expenses
  3. Purchase of technology, computer software, or hardware, unless a compelling case can be made as to why these materials are necessary to complete grant-funded work

All expenditures will be closely reviewed as they relate to the priorities of this grant opportunity.

Project Duration: Upon approval - 6/30/2015
Program Unit: Office of Educator Policy, Preparation & Leadership
Contacts: Craig Waterman
Phone Number:(781) 338-3244
Date Due: Monday, September 8th, 2014

Proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. on the date due.
Required Forms:
Download MS EXCEL Document
Budget Workbook: Parts I and II (Includes the Standard Contract and Application for Program Grants and Budget Detail Pages)
Additional Information:
Download PDF document  Download MS WORD document
Technical Guide B
Download PDF document  Download MS WORD document
Implementation of Brief on Scoring and Parameter Setting
Additional Massachusetts' DDM resources
Submission Instructions:
  1. Submit one electronic copy, excluding original signature page, to Craig Waterman at

  2. Submit five print copies of all application materials plus one print copy of the signature page with the original signature of the Superintendent or Executive Director to:

    Craig Waterman
    Office of Educator Policy, Preparation & Leadership
    Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
    75 Pleasant Street
    Malden, MA 02148-4906

Last Updated: August 12, 2014
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