Monday, March 25, 2013

ESE Educator Evaluation - District Determined Measures

UPDATE 3/28/2103
Webinars will be recorded and archived at:  ESE Educator Evaluation: District-Determined Measures
Below are updated live links to register for ALL sessions 

District-Determined Measures (DDMs) play a key role in the Commonwealth's new educator evaluation system. Selecting DDMs gives districts a long-sought opportunity to broaden the range of what knowledge and skills they assess and how they assess learning. Districts will be identifying or developing measures for assessing student learning for educators in all grades and subject areas, the results of which will lead to opportunities for robust conversations about student achievement, and ultimately improved educator practice and student learning.

For additional information you can download a DDM quick reference guide and/or attend the ESE Assessment Literacy Webinars 

ESE is hosting an eight-part webinar series on District-Determined Measures & Assessment Literacy. This series is targeted for district teams who will be engaged in the work of identifying and selecting DDMs (e.g., district and school-based curriculum and assessment leaders). Each webinar will include activities for district teams to engage in and key communication points to take back to their educators. Webinars will be archived and available for viewing on our website.
Descriptions and registration links for each webinar are listed below and are also available on our website at

Part 1: Introduction - District-Determined Measures and Assessment Literacy
In Part 1, participants will learn more about how district-determined measures will be used to inform and improve instruction and evaluation. ESE staff will provide an overview of forthcoming supports to assist districts with this important work. These supports will provide Massachusetts districts with the foundation for understanding best practices in student assessment. Part 1 also overviews the remaining parts in this webinar series.
Date: Re-run scheduled for March 27, 2013 (Original hosted on March 14, 2013)
Time: 4-5pm EST (60 minutes)

Part 2: Basics of Assessment
In Part 2, participants will develop a working knowledge of the key concepts of assessment relevant for using assessments to measure student growth, including information about the different types of test items, and how the purposes of assessments drive their usage and structure. Participants will learn how to determine assessment alignment, reliability, and validity - the technical qualities of an assessment for use in accountability situations and will receive a short overview on the basic do's and don'ts of creating assessments. This webinar includes activities for district teams to complete separate from the webinar time.
Date: April 4, 2013
Time: 4-5:30pm EST (90 minutes)

Part 3: Assessment Options
In Part 3, participants will learn various approaches for increasing assessment knowledge through understanding what the Educator Evaluation regulations require for measuring student growth and how the student growth component is factored into an educator's Student Impact Rating. Participants will conduct a gap analysis and compare the available district assessments to the kinds of assessments needed and form an action plan focused on the best approach to district-determined measures of student growth. Districts will need to have completed Part 2 and its activities prior to beginning Part 3.
Date: April 25, 2013
Time: 4-5pm EST (60 minutes)

Part 4: Determining the Best Approach to District-Determined Measures
In Part 4, participants will learn about various approaches to identifying district-determined measures and will determine whether that means building, buying, or borrowing assessments. Districts will need to have completed Parts 2 and 3 and their activities prior to beginning Part 4.
Date: July 18, 2013
Time: 4-5pm EST (60 minutes)

Part 5: Determining How to Integrate Assessments into Educator Evaluation: Reporting Student Growth
In Part 5, participants will learn the different ways of reporting student growth - a simple growth model, a value table, or adjusted growth. Districts will need to have completed Parts 2-4 and their activities prior to beginning Part 5.
Date: August 15, 2013
Time: 4-5pm EST (60 minutes)

Part 6: Determining How to Integrate Assessments into Educator Evaluation: Developing Business Rules and Engaging Staff
In Part 6, participants will learn how to determine standards for student growth and how to set some "business rules" for their local growth models. Participants will also learn how to engage their full professional staff (teachers and principals) in understanding the district's district-determined measures plan and some of the assessment literacy basics that helped to inform this plan. Districts will need to have completed Parts 2-5 and their activities prior to beginning Part 6.
Date: August 29, 2013
Time: 4-5pm EST (60 minutes)

Part 7: Communicating Results
In Part 7, participants will learn how to share assessment data effectively and support the use of this data with the professional teaching staff. Various communication strategies will be shared and participants will be provided with tools and templates for creating engaging opportunities to understand student growth data and what it can mean for instructional decision making. Districts will need to have completed Parts 2-6 and their activities prior to beginning Part 7.
Date: October 24, 2013
Time: 4-5pm EST (60 minutes)

Part 8: Sustainability
In Part 8, participants will learn how to plan for sustaining and building upon the district's district-determined measures plan. Districts will need to have completed Parts 2-7 and their activities prior to beginning Part 8.
Date: December 5, 2013
Time: 4-5pm EST (60 minutes)

*For users who require ADA compliant webinar registration links, please use the following:

Monday, March 18, 2013

Productive Classroom Discussions

I recommend reading the January 2013 NCTM brief "What Are Some Strategies For Facilitating Productive Classroom Discussions?" The research brief provides information on key classroom strategies such as,

Attending to the classroom culture
Choosing high-level mathematics tasks
Anticipating strategies that students might use to solve the tasks and monitor their work
Allowing student thinking to shape discussions
Examining and planning questions
Being strategic about “telling” new information
Exploring incorrect solutions
Selecting and sequencing the ideas to be shared in the discussion
Using Teacher Discourse Moves to move the mathematics forward
Drawing connections and summarizing the discussion

These strategies promoting mathematical discourse are consistent with the MA Mathematics Curriculum Frameworks Guiding Principle #5, Literacy Across the Content Areas and are foundational in developing the Mathematical Practice Standard 3, "Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others".  Respectively these state,

  • An effective mathematics program builds upon and develops students’ literacy skills and knowledge.
  • Reading, writing, and communication skills are necessary elements of learning and engaging in mathematics, as well as in other content areas. 
  • In speaking and listening, teachers should provide students with opportunities for mathematical discourse using precise language to convey ideas, communicate solutions, and support arguments." 
  • "Mathematically proficient students understand and use stated assumptions, definitions, and previously established results in constructing arguments. 
  •  "...making plausible arguments that take into account the context from which the data arose."
  • "Students at all grades can listen or read the arguments of others, decide whether they make sense, and ask useful questions to clarify or improve the arguments."
(source: 2011 MA Curriculum Frameworks for Mathematics)

A good resource of illustrations of the Mathematical Practice Standards with student dialog (currently grades 5-high school) can be found here.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Student Friendly "I CAN" resource

I wanted to share a resource from West Virginia Board of Educations "RESA" (Regional Educations Service Agency).  RESA II in collaboration with several counties unpacked grade level content common core standards and developed student-friendly  “I CAN” statements. This process they felt "was very helpful to teachers to gain an understanding of what students should know and be able to do.”

These are terrific starting points and would serve nicely as a PLC or grade level team activity - take these statements and map to the 2011 MA frameworks. Here is an example:

 (corresponding MA content standards shown in RED)

GRADE 8.2.1 

7.EE.4 MA(c)
  • I CAN use a variety of strategies to solve one-step linear equations
  • I CAN use a variety of strategies to solve two-step linear equations
  • I CAN defend and justify the strategies used to solve linear equations
  • I CAN graph linear equations
  • I CAN use a variety of strategies to solve inequalities with rational solutions
  • I CAN defend and justify the strategies used to solve inequalities with rational solutions
  • I CAN graph inequalities

Doing a quick google search you can find other examples. Here are just a few:
Ohio - Marlboro, Lexington and Washington Elementary Schools
North Dakota - Grade 2
Kentucky - Garrard Elementary
Iowa - Fairbank Elementary

If you try this let me know via email: or post comments.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Beyond Greater Boston Region - ESE Exploring Two Model Curriculum Units

Southeast, Northeast, Berkshires, Pioneer Valley and Central Mass Regions:

What’s New in Curriculum? 

Exploring Two Model Curriculum Units

These presentations will provide an overview of the Model Curriculum Units project, the curriculum design model used, highlights of the units developed K-12, and a deeper dive into two publicly released Model Units in literacy and mathematics. The two units are examples that illustrate shifts in the new ELA and mathematics standards. Participants will examine the units for evidence of the shifts and alignment to the new standards. Participants are encouraged to attend this event in teams.
Target Audience: Literacy and mathematics curriculum teams including coordinators, coaches, specialists and department heads

Region: Southeast
Date: March 12, 2013
Time: 9:00 AM -1:00 PM

Region: Northeast
Date: March 19, 2013 (snow date, March 20, 2013)
Time: 9:00 AM – 1:00 pm

Region: Berkshires
Date: March 21, 2013
Time: 12:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Region: Pioneer Valley
Date: March 22, 2013
Time: 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Region: Central MA
Date: March 27, 2013
Time: 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Information and registration is located at: