Test scores, student attendance, 9th grade course passing and English language proficiency are some of indicators in the proposed redesign of the school and district accountability ratings.

The Massachusetts Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan requires a redesign of the school and district accountability system. A new system will not make changes to the testing schedule for schools but will make changes to how school and district performance is reported.

Staff from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) presented  an overview of the proposed redesign of the Massachusetts accountability system to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) at the December 19th meeting.

  • The proposed new system will include indicators of achievement, growth, high school completion, English language proficiency, chronic absenteeism and passing rates on grade 9 courses and advanced coursework.
  • The DESE staff outlined how both a relative and a criterion-referenced component could be included in the system:
  • An “accountability percentile” (similar to existing school percentile) will be calculated for each school using all the indicators. The weighting of the indicators is yet to be determined.
  • DESE will also determine a target on each indicator for each school and for the “lowest 25% of students” in that school. Points will be assigned based on progress toward the targets.
  • Schools in the bottom 10% will be eligible for designation as underperforming or chronically underperforming or for “focused support.” Schools not in the bottom 10% will be assigned to one of three categories based on progress toward targets.

The BESE will need to consider several policy issues that are not resolved in the ESSA plan, for example the weighting of growth scores versus performance scores in the accountability system. There will be additional discussions with the BESE before regulatory proposals come forward in the spring.

More specific details will be part of draft regulations the will be present to the BESE in the coming months. There will be a period of public comment on the proposed regulations and accountability system. Stay tuned for opportunities to provide public comment on the new system.

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