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Accountability, Partnership, & Assistance

Title I / Federal Support Programs

Notice of Intent to Apply for a Waiver of Certain Federal Requirements Related to PARCC Field Testing and Opportunity for Comment

A large number of states, including Massachusetts, will be field testing new statewide assessments in spring 2014. Accordingly, the U.S. Department of Education has offered states the opportunity to request waivers of certain federal requirements that relate to field test participation. This notice is to provide you with the opportunity to review and comment on the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's intent to seek the following waivers:

  1. Double-testing flexibility: To allow MCAS participation exemptions for certain students participating in spring 2014 Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) field tests.
  2. This waiver would allow schools with students participating in a field test of the PARCC performance-based assessment (PBA) in grades 3-8 to administer only one English language arts/reading and one mathematics assessment to any individual student in spring 2014. Without this waiver, all students in all tested grades would be required to participate in all MCAS testing as usual, regardless of their participation in field tests.

    Please note that this waiver may only be exercised at the discretion of the district superintendent, and would not change or otherwise impact participation requirements for MCAS science, technology, and engineering tests, ACCESS tests for English language learners, or any other state assessment requirements. Please also note that this waiver would not change the federal requirement that the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) issue annual accountability determinations for schools; ESE will issue new accountability determinations for schools in 2014, except as described below.

  3. Accountability determination flexibility: To allow the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) to hold constant a school's accountability and assistance level from 2013 to 2014 in certain cases.
  4. This waiver would allow ESE to hold constant the 2013 (school year 2013-14) accountability and assistance level for a school participating in the spring 2014 PARCC field test when ESE determines that, as a result of MCAS participation exemptions for students, the number of 2014 MCAS results for the school is insufficient to issue a new accountability and assistance level for 2014 (school year 2014-15).

    Please note that this waiver would not change or otherwise impact the required actions associated with a particular accountability and assistance level. Please also note that ESE expects to be able to issue new accountability and assistance levels in 2014 for most schools participating in spring 2014 PARCC field tests.

We welcome your comments regarding our intent to apply for these waivers. Comments may be submitted via email to esea@doe.mass.edu through November 20, 2013.

Details regarding the PARCC field tests are available at www.doe.mass.edu/parcc/.

Last Updated: November 6, 2013  
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