Dear Natick Community,
As you may be aware, today, the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will release achievement and accountability information on the second year of administration of the Next Generation MCAS test given in math and English Language Arts in grades 3-8, as well as Legacy (the same test given for many years) MCAS tests in Grade 10, and in Science Technology and Engineering for grades 5 and 8.
The new accountability system which accompanies the Next Generation MCAS is driven by new federal requirements contained in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA); it replaces the former No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). This is the first year that Massachusetts will begin to work under this new accountability and achievement system and it is based on only two years of test taking (best practice indicates a 3-5 year window is best before publishing levels.
Here is the new commissioner's memo (
DESE Commissioner Memo Document
) if you want to read the overview of the test and accountability system. Within a week or so, your individual student results will be mailed home to you with an accompanying explanation letter. Your building principal would be happy to talk with you about your child's results should you have lingering questions or concerns. That said, it is important to note that any one test is not the total measure of a student and his/her strengths—we look at MCAS results in the larger context of other assessments and ways of tracking student performance and contributions to learning.
The Natick School District, like 90% of the Commonwealth, was rated overall to be "partially meeting targets" and is "Not requiring assistance or intervention." Our special education designation for need of technical assistance of intervention is labeled as: "Meets requirements."
A more detailed discussion of our district's results will be presented at the October 1, 2018 school committee regular meeting, 7:15pm.
It will, as are all of our regular meetings, be taped by Natick Pegasus television for ease of viewing, should you want to hear about the test and the current state testing/achievement landscape.
In strong learning organizations, the learning begins with assessment data; to that end, our principals are working with their leadership teams and teachers to understand student achievement, give students support to continue to grow and to guide us as we provide professional development and resources to our teaching staff.
In our recent accountability seminar with all superintendents and assistant superintendents, our new education commissioner indicated that this year should be a "learning year" where school districts can "breathe" after years of marching toward predetermined testing targets under the old system. Your Natick educational leaders will continue to push toward high achievement and growth for all while ensuring that the testing and results do not dominate the teaching and learning system.
As always, please reach out with questions and concerns.