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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

MCAS Assessment Development Committee (ADC) and Bias and Sensitivity Committee Recruitment (deadline: Friday, October 5, 2018)

To:Massachusetts Public School Educators
From:Michol Stapel, Associate Commissioner of Student Assessment
Date:August 15, 2018

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is seeking educators to serve as members of the MCAS Assessment Development Committees in English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics, Science, and the Bias and Sensitivity Committees. This is a rewarding professional development opportunity for educators who are interested in learning about large-scale, standards-based assessment. Committee members are directly involved in assisting the Department with the process of developing MCAS test items. DESE is looking to select from a diverse pool of candidates. We strongly encourage educators who have diverse backgrounds and who teach groups of diverse students to apply. Educators who previously served or who currently serve as ADC members may reapply.

For the ELA, mathematics, and science ADCs, we are looking for candidates with content expertise, familiarity with the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks, and teaching experience in the grade and subject matter indicated on the application.

For the Bias and Sensitivity Committees, we are looking for candidates with experience and understanding of bias and sensitivity issues, especially as they relate to K-12 education, familiarity with the Massachusetts curriculum framework, and experience in the K-12 education environment.

Committee Members' Roles and Responsibilities

ELA, mathematics, and science ADC members assist the Department in the review of MCAS passages (ELA only), test questions, and scoring notes and rubrics. Members review all test questions in their content area and grade level prior to field-testing, and make suggestions for refinements. After field-testing, committee members review the questions with their field-test performance data. The charge is to review items for

  • content accuracy;
  • alignment with the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks, MCAS performance standards, and cognitive complexity;
  • developmental appropriateness; and
  • instructional worthiness.

Bias and Sensitivity Committee members assist the Department with the review of all MCAS test questions, scoring notes and rubrics, and ELA passages. All test questions are reviewed before they are field tested, and again with their field-test performance data. Members will review items for bias and sensitivity concerns based on considerations of age, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, geography, languages spoken, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. Members identify and make recommendations for passages and test questions with potential bias or sensitivity issues.

Reimbursement of Expenses

The Department will reimburse districts for substitute teacher costs up to $150/day. Committee members are reimbursed for mileage and tolls, and overnight accommodations are provided to members who live 55 or more miles away from the meeting site. In addition, committee members receive professional development points for their service. For summer meetings, committee members are awarded a small honorarium, and are not required to live more than 55 miles from the meeting site to be provided with overnight accommodations.

Membership Structure and Number of Meeting Days

Each Committee consists of approximately 10–12 educators. The membership term will run for 2 years, from January 2019 through December 2020. Committee members are required to attend all scheduled meetings, which run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., during the school year and the summer. The approximate number of annual meeting days per committee is listed below.

Content AreaGradeNumber of Meeting Days per Year
English Language Arts3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 86
English Language Arts1010
Mathematics3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 85
Science and Technology/Engineering5 and 86
BiologyHigh School8
Introductory PhysicsHigh School8

New this year, we are recruiting for two separate Bias and Sensitivity Committees, one for grades 3–7, and one for grade 8 and high school. Each committee will look at items from all content areas (ELA, math, and science). The approximate number of annual meeting days is listed below.

Grades 3–7 Bias & Sensitivity7 days per year
Grade 8 and High School Bias & Sensitivity7 days per year

Application Procedure

  1. Send a statement of interest and a current résumé to When sending the email, include in the subject line your last name, first name and first choice committee. For example: Smith, Bob, Grade 6 ELA.

    • The statement of interest should be a brief summary of why the applicant wishes to serve on a committee and how the applicant may bring a diverse perspective to the committee, including the applicant's background, working with student's from diverse backgrounds, or any other relevant experiences
    • The résumé should include a description of
      • the applicant's current position (including roles and responsibilities)
      • any degrees in relevant content areas and/or other content expertise training and experience
      • any experience working with special populations, including English learners and special needs students

  2. Complete the online application

The deadline for completion of the online application and the submission of all materials is Friday, October 5, 2018. Notifications will be sent in November 2018. Upon selection, successful applicants will be sent the meeting dates and locations and be asked to confirm attendance. Additionally, successful applicants will be asked to submit a confirmation of support for attendance at all meetings from their supervisor.

If applicants have any questions, please contact the appropriate staff below:

Thank you for your commitment to Massachusetts students and your interest in serving on these committees.

Last Updated: August 15, 2018

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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