Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Joint Board meeting: MCAS

meeting backup is here
Chester: in final stages of updating math and ELA standards, have just done science
MCAS "are such a hallmark of the work in Massachusetts"

some believers, some opposed, some agnostic
this would be the twentieth year in a row that we'd be giving them
since NCLB given in every grade 3-8 plus high school
science at 5, 8, high school
four levels of designation: have to be at least "needs improvement" to graduate
proficiency rates very low, have increased over time
"not about the scores" but if we're graduating people who have sufficient levels of literacy, mathematics, and science
"despite improving scores over time, we haven't seen the needle move on the students who are ready for credit bearing courses"
1/3 of students who graduate from public high school and go to public colleges go to remedial courses (h/t to Chester for slowing himself down to get that right)
began to revise assessment as part of PARCC consortium
Commonwealth wanted to be in control of assessment: using PARCC as a starting point, but ensuring decision made by state
"will be administered in a digital format in a digital form"
structural and policy issues around high school: competency determination, accurate signals on what the world after high school
Wulfson: very much engaged right now in updating of standards, development of 3-8 test, high school tests more complicated for several reasons
"competency determination"
lower levels, not high stakes tests for students
"in high school, they are"
make sure expectations are aligned at each grade, but also at readiness for next level; in high school, expectations of college or career
several policy issues that we're studying
extending legacy high school test through class of 2020
keep competency determination at grade 10
logistics to move competency determination to a later grade, including legislative, plus students needing multiple chances to retake test
leave at grade 10
then explore what types of assessments might productively use to signal college and career readiness
explore what best thinking is now
may want to have multiple pathways
"doesn't necessarily need to be a traditional test that everyone takes at the same time"
sensitive to fact that there is a great deal of college testing that takes place in grades 11 and 12
interest from colleges in using high school tests for placement
getting back on track on including a history and social science test; exploring types of assessment
science test choices changed
"a lot of discussion on where testing fits into our education reform"
during public hearings "a lot of feedback on the need to minimize the amount of testing" so as to not impact instruction
"need to send signals to teachers and parents on how students are doing, and a strong assessment program is key to that"
trying to balance that as developing next generation of testing
Q: how much comparison from state to state is there?
Wulfson: NAEP does that
had hoped with PARCC consortium to get more comparative information
new test will be using some questions from PARCC consortium
"how much in terms of comparisons remains to be seen"
Q: 11 and 12 grade test used for college readiness?
"think that Accuplacer is a great blot on our institutions and remedial courses are a great black hole"
(this from a member of the Higher ed board; I can't see their placards and they don't have photos on their website)
Noyce is suggesting an end of course college test that students can take at the beginning to demonstrate that they don't need to take the course
Q: one of the limitations of any assessment is what you use as long term outcomes to dependablity of assessment
suggestion that employers should be talked to about what students need to learn
Wulfson: getting more and more data every year
are they ready for college, are they successful at college, "but probably the ultimate is how successful they are in the workforce"
"a conversation we very much want to have"
can we come up with a way for students to in effect be certified that they're ready in vocational
"our ultimate goal is for every student to have some exposure to career in their high school career"
Wulfson: need to have early college people involved in the discussion

Student on Higher Ed Board: I don't get the point of the MCAS; I never have, I still don't
"we are trying to define how smart they are by just testing them on a paper"
know a lot of people who go to college, who pass everything, but who didn't pass math MCAS or science MCAS, and they can't get a diploma
took math MCAS two times "and I didn't get anything from that"
"we need to know that people come from different situations in life"
Chester: improvements for students of color
higher levels of high school graduation
"now having said that, i do think it's time to upgrade our assessment system"
"assessment should be a gateway not a gatekeeper"
"gives the student and the parents and the educator information at each stage of the game"

end of joint meeting

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