The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Continued Discussion of the Next-Generation Accountability System

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Jeff Wulfson, Acting Commissioner
January 12, 2018

At the December 2017 meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board), we discussed the overall design of our state's new district and school accountability system. At the January 23, 2018 meeting, I will ask the Board to continue that discussion, with a focus on the weighting of the indicators within the accountability system.


State and federal laws require that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) implement a system of district and school accountability. At the December 2017 meeting of the Board, we discussed the framework for the new accountability system, as approved in the Massachusetts state plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The new system allows the Department to identify schools that require assistance or intervention and those that are demonstrating success by including additional accountability indicators, focusing on the performance of each school as a whole and of its lowest performing students, and categorizing schools based on the type of support the Department would provide to them.

Continued Discussion

The weighting of indicators is an important piece of the accountability system. Our priorities should be reflected not only in the indicators included, but also in their weighting in the calculation. Furthermore, the results should provide a clear picture of school performance in order to help us direct our limited resources for assistance to schools that most need them. Since the approval of our ESSA state plan last fall, the Department has been refining plans for the new accountability system. At the Board meeting on January 23, we will share with you some statistical analyses that will inform your discussion.

Impact on State Regulations

While the weighting of accountability indicators is not defined in regulation, our charter school regulations refer to the achievement-to-growth ratio used in accountability calculations. As such, any change in this ratio will affect both our classification of schools for accountability purposes and our calculation of the lowest performing ten percent of districts for charter school purposes. Based on the Board's discussion on January 23, I will propose amendments to the accountability regulations and the charter school regulations to present to the Board in February, with a recommendation that the Board solicit public comment on the proposed amendments.

Senior Associate Commissioner Russell Johnston and Associate Commissioner Rob Curtin will be at the meeting on January 23 to discuss the accountability system and respond to your questions.


Download PowerPoint File
Framework for a Next-Generation Accountability System