Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Invitation to Apply for Next-Generation MCAS Standard Setting Panel

To:Superintendents, Principals, Charter School Leaders, and Approved Private Special Education School Directors
From:Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:April 26, 2017

Beginning August 14, 2017, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will conduct a week-long standard setting event for the next-generation MCAS tests in grades 3-8 ELA and mathematics. The standard setting will be conducted by panels of Massachusetts educators and other stakeholders, working in coordination with expert facilitators. We are pleased to invite educators and stakeholders from across the state to apply to participate on one of these panels. The purpose of the standard setting is to identify appropriate cut scores for the next-generation MCAS achievement levels. A cut score defines the minimum performance required for a particular level of achievement. The panelists will make recommendations regarding the level of knowledge that students are expected to demonstrate to be categorized into each next-generation MCAS achievement level. Panelists will be organized into six committees (grades 3-4 ELA, grades 5-6 ELA, grades 7-8 ELA, grades 3-4 mathematics, grades 5-6 mathematics, and grades 7-8 mathematics). Each committee will consist of 20-24 members, divided into tables of 4 or 5 panelists led by a table leader. We are looking for panelists with content expertise, familiarity with the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks, and, in most cases, direct teaching experience in the grade and subject matter chosen. Although we anticipate that the majority of panelists will be licensed classroom teachers or curriculum coordinators working in a school, we are also interested in applications from other education professionals and representatives from higher education, as well as additional stakeholders who have relevant experience with the content and curriculum frameworks. This is an excellent professional development opportunity for educators to help define the next-generation MCAS, and we hope that you will share this invitation widely with your teachers and school communities.

Responsibilities of Panelists

Panelists will be asked to review test questions, student work, scoring guides, and other information and data to make recommendations on how test content and student performance relate to the next-generation achievement levels (Exceeding Expectations, Meeting Expectations, Partially Meeting Expectations, and Not Meeting Expectations). Additionally, panelists who are selected as table leaders will be expected to facilitate discussions among their group, assist in maintaining security measures, and perform other duties in support of the room facilitator. All panelists will receive on-site training and support throughout the process.

Panelist Commitment

The standard setting event will be held at the DoubleTree Hotel in Danvers from 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m., August 14-17, 2017. All panelists must be able to attend all four full days. Additionally, all table leaders will be required to attend the morning of Friday, August 18, for a cross-panel discussion.

Reimbursement of Expenses

Panelists will be reimbursed for mileage, and lodging will be provided for panelists who live 55 or more miles away from the meeting site. Breakfast and lunch will be provided each day for all attendees, and those staying overnight will also receive dinner. In addition, all panelists will receive professional development points for their service.

Application Procedure

Individuals interested in serving as panelists should complete the application form Download MS WORD Document and complete the online application survey: SurveyGizmo: 2017 MCAS Standard Setting Panelist Application. Instructions for uploading the application form Download MS WORD Document are provided at the end of the survey. The form must be uploaded via the SurveyGizmo link in order for the application to be considered complete. The deadline for receipt of applications is Friday, May 19, 2017. Panelists will be notified of their selection via email in early June, 2017. If applicants have any questions, they may contact the Student Assessment Office at 781-338-3625 or email

Last Updated: April 28, 2017

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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