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Teachers' Top Three from ESE – June 18, 2015

  1. The Buzz: Lawmakers Hear Testimony on Statewide Assessments
    On June 11, the state legislature's Joint Committee on Education held a hearing about assessment-related bills, including one calling for a moratorium on high-stakes tests. The Boston Globe and other media covered the event. Commissioner Chester spoke at the hearing and submitted written comments about the importance of assessments as a check on curriculum and instruction and for their role in the state's accountability system. He also noted the significant financial impact abandoning high-stakes tests would have on Massachusetts' federal grants. Here's an excerpt from his written testimony:

    "Assessments provide parents and the public with a common basis to evaluate whether students are meeting statewide learning goals, and they help educators and school leaders identify patterns of weakness and strength in curriculum and instruction… For schools and districts, the test results are used as one of several factors to identify underperforming schools that would benefit from more intensive state assistance and support… Massachusetts has been a national leader in K-12 education for over two decades, in large part because of our system for standards, assessment, assistance and accountability."

    What do you think? Join the discussion on Twitter with #Top3from ESE.
  2. FYI: Seeking SEI Course Instructors
    The Department continues to seek qualified RETELL Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) course instructors. In addition to English-as-a-second-language teachers, core academic teachers who have taken and passed either the full teacher or long bridge SEI endorsement course are now eligible to become SEI instructors.

    We need your help! Please share this expanded opportunity with colleagues who could do this work effectively (or consider applying yourself!). This is a paid opportunity. It is critical that ESE recruit a sufficient number of instructors to cover courses in order to serve the teachers who must earn the endorsement before July 2016. Ensuring a strong instructor pool benefits all student, teachers, and districts. Prospective instructors should contact Mary Freed at mfreed@doe.mass.edu.
  3. Frequently Asked Question: What educator evaluation data does ESE collect on teachers?
    Educators are often surprised to learn that much of the data about them and their students lives within their districts, not at ESE. This is particularly true for educator evaluation. Educator evaluation is based on multiple measures, including observations, student feedback, and artifacts of practice, like lesson plans, student assessments, and communication logs with parents. None of this, however, is submitted to ESE.

    Each year, districts submit some educator data to ESE through the Education Personnel Information Management System (EPIMS). Much of this data is related to teacher demographics and work assignments. It also includes the collection of eight data elements related to educator evaluation. Theeducator evaluation data submitted to ESE includes: the overall summative performance rating (or formative evaluation rating, where applicable), ratings on each of the four standards, type of educator plan, whether the individual has professional teacher status, and, once implemented, the student impact rating. You can learn more about each of these pieces of data in the Educator Evaluation Quick Reference Guide on Data Collection Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document.

    Additionally, it's important to know that your evaluation data is confidential. The Department only reports aggregated data, and extra care is taken to ensure that individuals' ratings cannot be determined based on what is published (for more details, check out the note at the top of the state profile). In addition, if you go to work for a different district, your evaluation ratings do not follow you there. For more information about educator evaluation data and confidentiality, check out the FAQ's on the Educator Evaluation webpage.

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We also invite you to connect with other teachers across the state and ESE staff on Twitter. Find us at @MASchoolsK12 and use #Top3fromESE to discuss items from this newsletter or suggest new topics. If you’re interested in writing a short piece for a future edition or have feedback or questions, contact us at Top3fromESE@doe.mass.edu.



Last Updated: June 22, 2015
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