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