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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Invitation to Apply for High School Biology and Introductory Physics MCAS Standard Setting Panels

To:Massachusetts Public School Educators and Stakeholders
From:Michol Stapel, Associate Commissioner of Student Assessment
Date:February 1, 2022

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is pleased to invite educators and other stakeholders to apply to participate in a standard setting meeting for the high school Biology and Introductory Physics MCAS tests. The purpose of standard setting is to identify and recommend achievement level cut scores for these tests. A cut score defines the minimum performance required for a particular level of achievement.

The meeting will take place on August 9–12, 2022. The deadline to apply to participate is Monday, March 28, 2022. Participating in standard setting is both an excellent professional development opportunity and an opportunity for educators to help define the next-generation MCAS tests. Please share this invitation widely within your networks.

The August 2022 High School Biology and Introductory Physics Standard Setting Meeting will include two panels of Massachusetts educators and stakeholders, working under the direction of trained facilitators. One panel will recommend achievement level cut scores for the Biology test and the other panel will recommend achievement level cut scores for the Introductory Physics test. DESE will select up to 20 participants for each panel. The panels will each be divided into tables of 3 or 4 panelists, with one panelist from each table serving as a table leader.

Applicant Qualifications

DESE is recruiting panelists with content expertise, familiarity with the 2016 Science and Technology/Engineering Massachusetts Curriculum Framework , and teaching experience in grades 9/10 biology or physics. The Department is looking to select from a diverse pool of candidates that have experience working with racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse students. The Department is especially interested in recruiting educators of color and members of other historically marginalized groups. In addition, DESE is recruiting educators from institutions of higher education, special education educators, and English learner educators who are familiar with the content standards in the Framework and instruction in high school biology or physics.

Roles and Responsibilities of Panelists and Table Leaders

All panelists and table leaders will meet Tuesday-Thursday, August 9–11, to make recommendations regarding the level of content knowledge and skills that students must demonstrate at the Exceeding Expectations, Meeting Expectations, and Partially Meeting Expectations MCAS achievement levels. The panelists and table leaders will review 2022 test questions, student work, scoring guides, data, and other information to make their recommendations. Each table leader will also be expected to facilitate discussions among the panelists at their table.

Additionally, all table leaders and all panelists will participate in a session on Friday, August 12, either an articulation session or a Competency Determination (CD) verification session. During the articulation session, participants will review the cut score recommendations for the Biology and Introductory Physics tests together, along with data from the MCAS Grade 8 Science and Technology/Engineering test, and recommend changes if needed. During the CD verification session, participants will review scores on the 2022 Biology and Introductory Physics tests that are associated with the cut scores on the legacy tests and either validate or adjust the interim CD cut scores. Selections for which session panelists will serve on will be made over the summer during preparation for the meeting.

Required Dates and Times

The table shows when all panelists and table leaders must be available to participate in standard setting work.

Late July–Early AugustPre-work for standard setting, which includes reading and completing online forms from a personal or work computer (approximately 1 hour)
August 9–11
8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Standard setting meeting
August 12
8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Articulation and competency determination sessions

Logistics, Reimbursement of Expenses, and Professional Development Points

Panelists will be reimbursed for mileage to the meeting and back to their home. We anticipate that the meeting will be held in Wakefield, MA. Overnight accommodations will be provided for panelists who request them, beginning the evening before the meeting and ending on the last day of the meeting. Breakfast and lunch will be provided each day, and those staying overnight will be reimbursed for dinner, up to $30. In addition, a $200/day stipend will be offered to panelists, and all panelists will receive professional development points (PDPs) for their service.

Application Procedure

The application deadline is Monday, March 28, 2022. Follow these steps to complete the application:

  1. Ask your supervisor if they will support you serving on a high school biology or introductory physics standard setting panel. (You will be representing your school/district, higher education institution, or organization.)

  2. Write a brief statement of interest and save it as a Microsoft Word document or PDF. Name the document using this convention: "LastName-FirstName-Statement." The statement of interest should be 1–2 paragraphs long and should include:
    • why you want to serve on a standard setting panel
    • how you will bring a diverse perspective to the panel
    • your experience working with racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse communities, and any other relevant experiences

  3. Update and save your résumé as either a Microsoft Word document or PDF. Name the document using this convention: "LastName-FirstName-Resume." Your résumé should include:
    • your current position (including roles and responsibilities)
    • any degrees you have earned in relevant subject areas and/or other content expertise training and experiences
    • your experience working with special populations, including English learners and students with disabilities

  4. Complete the online application. Note: Your statement of interest and résumé will be required for the online application and must be submitted as either Microsoft Word documents or PDFs.

The Department expects to notify all applicants the first week of May about whether they have been selected for a standard setting panel. Successful applicants will be sent additional information at that time.

If you have any questions, please contact Isadel Eddy , our MCAS Science Test Development Coordinator.

Last Updated: February 9, 2022

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