Monday, July 18, 2016

Board's Assessment Committee Meeting

These are my notes, not official minutes, of the Board's Assessment Committee Meeting I attended at the Department today, July 18, 2016 (11:00-12:30). Agenda is HERE.

Meeting called to order at ~11:15 AM. Board members in attendance: Penny Noyce; Board Chair Paul Sagan; Mary Ann Stewart; Secretary Jim Peyser; Commissioner Mitchell Chester. In Roland Fryer's absence (Assessment Committee Chair), Board Chair Sagan Chaired the meeting.

DESE Staff in attendance: Jeff Wulfson, Deputy Commissioner; Michol Stapel, Director of Student Assessment; Bob Lee, Office of Student Assessment. Heather Peske, Senior Associate Commissioner of Instructional Support, joined Deputy Commissioner Wulfson for Agenda Item #4.

1. Approval of the Minutes:

  • Two sets of Minutes - approved as presented (April 25, 2016, 3:35-4:30 PM and May 26, 2016, 3:40-4:45 PM)

2. Update on MCAS contract and PARCC licensing agreement:

  • Deputy Commissioner Wulfson: pleased with progress being made on the Next Generation Assessment (NGA).
    • Contract negotiations continue apace with Measured Progress. FY17 Budget: level-funded assessment. Issues WRT additional funding for NGA are subject to completion of negotiations. Expects to sign a contract with Measured Progress by end of July.
    • Massachusetts follows Louisiana in signing a licensing agreement with PARCC. There are some logistics WRT costs. PARCC is now trying to reinvent itself and has issued RFP for a "new structure" to provide opportunities for states to customize components/parts of the PARCC test for their statewide assessment.
  • Full Board action coming this Fall.

3. Next-generation test design:
  • 2017: Grades 4 & 8 NGA in ELA & Maths with an online mandate; online test optional for grades 3, 5, 6, 7 until:
    • 2018: Grades 5 & 7 go online.
    • 2019: Grade 3 & 6 go online.
  • Paper versions will be available for students who need them.
  • Tests will be untimed.
    • Grades 3-5 likely to have three shorter sessions.
    • Grades 6-8 likely to have two sessions.
  • Deputy Commissioner Wulfson: Grades 5-8 Science not part of NGA - those Grades are transitioning to new science standards.
  • Regarding Gr.3-8 NGA: there's an ongoing convo on AI scoring for open response:
    • Emerging thought is that AI scoring is reliable.
    • Deputy Commissioner Wulfson considering "how to dip toe into the water" with AI; how to gauge data.
  • Standards setting: process is underway. No reporting system in place, as yet:
    • Deputy Commissioner Wulfson: want to establish a Standards Setting Policy Committee to consist of between 9-15 members; combination of members from the field (with expertise in assessment) and Higher Ed, as well as, perhaps, some lay folks and at least one Board Member (Penny Noyce expressed interest).
      • Form the Policy Committee in August;
      • Meet for two days in September;
      • Bring forward recommendations for the Board early Fall.
  • Process for setting "cut scores" - not before Summer 2017
  • WRT competency determination: want to make sure students are ready for NGA:
    • First time for Grade 10 NGA likely to be 2019 - after those students have taken Grade 8 NGA in 2017
  • Full Board action TBA

4. Update on ELA and Math Curriculum Standards Refinement Panel:
  • Heather Peske, Senior Associate Commissioner for Instructional Support: the Panel has been looking at evidence to refine 2011 Frameworks for ELA & Maths.
  • Former DESE specialists, Barbara Libby and Susan Wheltle have been contracted to review revised standards.
  • Members from Higher Ed have also being engaged to consider revised standards: are they weakened and/or strengthened?
  • Revised ELA & Maths: No official Public Comment period until October or November.
  • Senior Associate Commissioner Peske will update the full Board in September.
Meeting adjourned at 12:15 PM

Thursday, July 7, 2016

5 Reasons Perkins Should be Reauthorized this Year

I was most interested to read in Education Week that Reps. Katherine Clark and Glenn Thompson introduced a bill to strengthen the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which is up for reauthorization this year (last reauthorized in 2006). This is good news and Congress should reauthorize the Act this year. Here's why:
  1. There's broad, bi-partisan support for career and technical education. 'Nuff said.
  2. Recent studies have shown that CTE dual enrollment programming may be a particularly effective high school and college completion strategy.
  3. Now that ESSA is in play (requiring States to ensure that their challenging State academic standards are aligned with relevant career and technical education standards), CTE can be better supported and integrated with academic coursework and dual enrollment programs.
  4. Greater stakeholder collaboration can be encouraged at the State and Local level, including with industry and business to ensure CTE's relevance to student's postsecondary success.
  5. Supporting the incorporation of skilled trade experts into the classroom by investing in building CTE educator effectiveness, recruitment, and compensation, can address some of the specific challenges facing many States and school districts.
Given its many advantages, Congress should commit to ensuring more students have access to high quality CTE opportunities and reauthorize the Perkins Act this year.
- - - - -
Select Resources:
NASBE's Career Readiness and CTE in a Post-NCLB World

Career/Vocational Technical Education on DESE's website, includes frameworks and other interesting info about C/VTE.

Video from a few years back is relevant still:

The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education released its report on The Degree Gap June 8, 2016.

NASBE maintains an online State Policy Database of College, Career, & Civic Readiness Regulations Governing Education Systems in the US

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Board Meeting Dates for 2016-2017

The list of Board Meeting dates for 2016-2017 below was approved at our last regular meeting of the year (June 28, 2016). Attempts were made to schedule regular meetings on the fourth Tuesday of every month, except for the fifth Tuesday in November, the third Tuesday in December, and third Tuesday in April (public school vacation week). Board members have been asked to reserve Monday evenings before each regular meeting in the event of a special meeting that month.

Monday, September 26, 2016 - Special Meeting
Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - Regular Meeting

Monday, October 24 - Special Meeting
Tuesday, October 25 - Regular Meeting

Monday, November 28 - Special Meeting
Tuesday, November 29 - Regular Meeting

Monday December 19 - Special Meeting
Tuesday, December 20 - Regular Meeting

Monday, January 23, 2017 - Special Meeting
Tuesday, January 24, 2017 - Regular Meeting

Monday, February 27 - Special Meeting
Tuesday, February 28 - Regular Meeting

Monday, March 27 - Special Meeting
Tuesday, March 28 - Regular Meeting

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - Regular Meeting (Due to the Patriot's Day Holiday on April 17th the Board will not hold a Special Meeting in April)

Monday, May 22 - Special Meeting
Tuesday, May 23 - Regular Meeting

Monday, June 26 - Special Meeting
Tuesday, June 27 - Regular Meeting

Meeting locations will be announced as they are set. As of this post, dates have not yet been posted to the DESE website.