Higher Education Conference
Please join us on Friday, April 11, and Saturday, April 12, 2014, for the MTA Higher
Education Conference. The conference will feature discussions and workshops
centered on the trends and issues that our higher education members face.
When finalized, the conference location, schedule, registration and hotel
information will be posted on www.massteacher.org. Further information will
be mailed to MTA higher education members.
SAVE THE DATE
By Laura Barrett
S ample items from the new Common Core- aligned;assessments;that;will;be;field-tested;this spring are now available.
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness
for College and Careers — PARCC — has released
a batch of computer-based examples from different
grade levels in both English language arts and
mathematics. A link to these items and more
information can be found in the Common Core and
PARCC Toolkit on the MTA website. To visit the
toolkit, go to massteacher.org/ccss.
sheets that have been developed by the Department
of Elementary and Secondary Education and by
PARCC, a consortium that includes Massachusetts
and 17 other states plus the District of Columbia.
Field test updates
Approximately 8 percent of Massachusetts
students in 1,075 schools — 58 percent of the total
ELA and math assessments this spring.
Performance-Based Assessments — PBAs —
will be administered March 24 through April 11.
End-of-Year — EOY — tests will be given May 5
through June 6.
The DESE gave districts the option of excusing
students who are taking one of the PBAs from taking
the MCAS test in that subject, but 80 percent of
districts are requiring students to take both.
In the spring of 2015, districts will have the
option of administering either PARCC or MCAS
tests, but not both, in grades three to eight. Grade
10 students will continue to take the MCAS tests
through the class of 2018, though districts will also
The Board of Elementary and Secondary
Education has not yet determined the schedule for
administering PARCC assessments for grades nine
and 11, though assessments in those grades will be
In the fall of 2015, the BESE will be asked to
vote on whether to replace MCAS tests with PARCC
tests in ELA and math. The plan is to continue to
administer science MCAS tests.
More information will be forthcoming about how
changing assessments will affect school and district
accountability and the new teacher evaluation system.
Meanwhile, the MTA and other education
stakeholder groups are collaborating on a case
study of PARCC implementation by focusing on
Burlington and Revere. Burlington, a leader in
computer-based education, will be administering
PARCC tests in both subjects to students throughout
the district. Revere will administer PARCC tests to
A group that includes the MTA, the DESE,
the Massachusetts Association of School
Superintendents, education policy organizations
and administrators from both districts plans to hire
a researcher to conduct the case study. Among other
issues, the research will explore district Internet
bandwidth needs, the testing experience on different
computing devices and proctor familiarity with the
MTA Core Collaborative
On a related front, the MTA, with funds from the
NEA Great Public Schools initiative, is continuing
to work with Teach Plus on the MTA Common Core
Collaborative. The collaborative is training a group
of teachers to create Common Core-aligned lessons.
The collaborative was launched in September,
when more than 500 educators from around the state
took part in a full day of professional development
in understanding and aligning curricula with the
In the second phase, 50 teachers from Greater
Boston and beyond are receiving intensive instruction
Please turn to Collaborative/Page 25
Contact us today to find out
how we can help you!
Educational Leadership and Accountability
Performance Review Program for
Initial License (PRPIL) – DESE
Instructional Quality School