Committee Liaisons & Representatives: DAS Advisory Committee / December 2016
Type: Open Committee
Focus Areas: High Quality Student Evaluations
Upcoming dates or events to share with general membership
Next meeting will be held on May 4, 2017
BAA Advisory Committee
November 3, 2016
Legislative and MDE Updates/New MDE Org Chart
The Special Education office is under the Student Transitions division with Career and Technical Education, Early Childhood Education, Child Development and Care, Head Start State Collaboration, and Preschool and Out-of-School Time Learning under Deputy Superintendent Susan Broman.
The way things are set up now you have Superintendent Whiston, then Chief Deputy Superintendent Norma Jean Sass, then the three Deputy Superintendents Susan Broman, Venessa Keesler, and Kyle Guerrant who oversees Finance and Operations. We will try to find an overall MDE org chart. There are a lot of new staff on our teams as well.
As far as general MDE updates, there isn’t a lot to report. Right now, all our energy is focused on ESSA planning, putting together the state plan, working with the various action teams and committees. We are starting to assemble the next phase of the process and in next several weeks we plan to put together some materials to present to the board. At the end of the month we will be doing informational presentations at least 5 different ISDs starting with Wayne RESA.
Legislatively it’s been comparatively quiet around assessment and accountability. There is however, a lot of discussion around the 3rd grade reading law and how that will affect us regarding assessment and accountability. We are spending a lot of time looking at the early grade assessment tools that we have out there and looking at what we will need to do. How we are going to make the 3rd grade assessments work. There is a scenario where MDE would buy assessment tools for the schools to use. Everything is still in the discussion stage.
As we get into this Andy prefaced the discussion by noting that the department is still in the information gathering stage of this. There have not been any hard decisions made. We are currently well into Phase 2 of the process. Creating a state plan like this is a journey. Many of us were not around when NCLB was signed so this was new for us in many respects. This is a huge undertaking, it is one plan for the entire department.
There are 4 phases in the development of the official state plan for implementation;
- Phase 1 is Strategic Vision Development. The development of the top 10 in 10 which went very well and establishment of the Vision committees. The vision committees were the precursor to the action teams they laid out the ground work for the action team in terms of the plan and how to go about it. The action teams met several times last summer and were divided by subject (finance, assessment, accountability, supports, etc.) Phase 1 is complete.
- Phase 2 is the initial Plan development and cycles of development and feedback. We are close to finishing Phase 2. In this phase, we put the team together and charged them with how to move forward with the plan. Each team had a little different charge. We put out some surveys out and the teams took the feedback and had the opportunity to incorporate that into their part of the plan. Now that we are into November we have gotten all that information and we are putting together a recommendation. We are not at the stage where we will put all of this back out there and give folks the opportunity for folks to discuss what we came up with. We will be traveling around the state to have open meetings with the public and gather more feedback. We are doing more this time around that we have done in the past, we will be having some evening sessions as well so that we can get feedback from parents and the public. We will then take the feedback and move into phase 3.
- Phase 3 Finalize and Submit. We will take all the feedback and start writing the plan. This will probably go on for the rest of the winter, we are moving as quickly as we can but we are still waiting for guidance from USED. The plan is due this spring and although we don’t have the guidance we feel that we will be ready.
- Phase 4 Implementation. Implementation planning begins in January 2017 with the official USED plan is due in Spring 2017. We feel that we should have the plan done in advance of this deadline giving us time to make adjustments once we hopefully get guidance from USED.
The broad goals for the assessment vision: Provide timely, meaningful, and useful information for teachers, parents, student, and taxpayers. We want to put data into the hands of teachers along with training and tools to help them develop a plan for meeting all the needs of each student. We want to provide parents with timely information on how their child’s proficiency with grade level expectations. We want to provide students with information about where they really are in terms of academic performance and help them set goals. We want to inform taxpayers how we are really performing as a state to allow them to hold schools accountable for growth and proficiency.
The key components of the assessment system; we really want to figure out a system to get multiple points of feedback throughout the year, increased consistency of benchmark tools across the state to try and reduce the amount of testing in schools, to be cognizant of testing times, to have growth measures in addition to proficiency measures, support individual lesson plans and writing, and problem solving to prepare students for success. Andy shared the assessment vision timeline broken out by type, subject, timing, and purpose.
They key points that we needed to talk about were when, accommodations, and overall approach. The big thing we needed to talk about was when. When would the vendors be ready to put together a system to meet our vision? Would they be ready in fall 17 or 18? What we found out was that most vendors are not ready for a potential 2017 launch of a new assessment model for Michigan. This was particularly apparent to vendors that historically have not provided statewide summative assessments in the past. A lot of what we heard was that they could do it but not for a year or so.
Accommodations was a huge question as well. Right now, we provide a lot of accommodations to our students with disabilities. We found that there was a spectrum of accommodation tools available across the vendors and again the vendors that have not historically done statewide assessments have never had to do accommodations. The largest number of currently available accommodations came from DRC and Smarter Balanced.
Lastly overall approach, ESSA says that we could use a combination of interim and benchmark tests in lieu of a summative test, as long as they still meet all of the requirements of peer review. We wanted to hear from the vendors if they had an idea of how to make that work each vendor had different ideas of how to fulfill the assessment vision but an unexpected finding was that all of the vendors still recommend having a summative assessment at each grade level.
The other thing is an alternate assessment, whatever we provide as an assessment there needs to be a version of the same system that is an alternate assessment for students with disabilities. I think we could find a way to buy ourselves some time for a couple of years but we would eventually have to have an alternate.
Some possible paths forward:
ü We keep a summative assessment for all grades in the spring, the vendors recommend this and it covers us for accountability and state and federal requirements. It does not have to look exactly like the M-STEP and the new 3rd grade reading law makes it difficult not to have a summative in 3rd grade. Our options are to keep or modify the current summative test without a new RFP. This would allow us to move to adding additional supports quicker without the time it takes to develop and process an RFP. The other option is to write an RFP and let a potential different vendor create a summative test. The risk with this option is that you don’t know who the vendor might be.
ü We build a Benchmark/Interim test we would be able to use in accountability and as our required test but this would increase the testing instances and it would raise concerns about giving up what the field likes about benchmark tools because we would have to add components of required testing such as additional content, accommodations etc. to what has been historically optional and it would be expensive. The pros of this would be that we could provide one statewide system, we could include growth scores but we would still not be able to replace the summative test with this.
The thing is these are just possibilities, we are waiting to hear back from the superintendent’s office on what they think.
Accountability Timelines for 16/17 and 17/18 – Chris Janzer
Chris started by saying that even though he was only supposed to talk about timelines but he has a whole presentation on Accountability and ESSA. Starting with timelines, the appeal window for scorecards opened on last Monday and that will be open until the Monday after Thanksgiving. The scorecards and rankings that we are doing right now are based on 2015/2016 data and are still covered under the old flex waiver. There isn’t anything really new there. There are some major changes to the way the rankings are does. Schools now have 2 rankings now, they have the Top to Bottom ranking that measures achievement and growth and then we pulled out the achievement gap piece that has its own rankings. We anticipate a public release of this data in December.
Using the 16/17 school year data we are planning to run a pilot of the proposed ESSA accountability system. There are new federal designations, sort of a replacement for the priority and focus designations. We won’t be doing that for the 16/17 data but for 17/18 we will be doing that. So, the pilot would take place a year from now and then the following year we will be doing the full-blown system
We also have a one page document that I hope to have posted on the accountability website…
The requirements under NCLB that are the same under ESSA;
ü Testing in grades 3-8 and 11 in math and ELA,
ü Science is required for reporting but not for the accountability system and science is once per grade span.
ü Annual accountability reporting
ü Disaggregation of data by student sub groups with a minimum N size
ü Full academic year meaning a minimum time of enrollment before we can use the student results in achievement and growth calculations
Social Studies Update – Scott Koenig
Andy introduced Scott Koenig to the committee. Scott has been with the department for about a year now and is our Social Studies content person. Scott gave an overview of the presentation starting with Where Social Studies assessment is going and within that he will give an update on where the social studies standards are headed.
Early Literacy Update – Linda Howley/Julie Murphy
Linda opened the presentation with an overview of the MDE developed Ela and math K-2 benchmarks. She started with the MDE guidance that has been posted on our webpage since June 2016. The guidance gives districts guidance around benchmark assessments for k-2. There is no required testing in these grades but MDE recommends that districts should be giving benchmark assessments in Ela and math in grades 1 and 2 beginning with this school year. There are no planned high stakes accountability attached to these assessments
We do not recommend this in kindergarten as students are just coming in, districts may want to do some observational evaluations in kindergarten.
The reason for the guidance is that we know that some districts have developed their own benchmark assessments for grades 1 and 2 but they may or may not align to MDE standards. MDE has been developing a k, 1, and 2 benchmark assessment in Ela and math for these grades that districts can use. We made these assessments available operationally this fall and districts are free to use Ela or math or both in grades 1 or 2 this fall. We know that districts use a variety of benchmark tools so we wanted to give them some guidance on which tools are considered meeting the definition and criteria of a benchmark assessment. The guidance from MDE is that if your district chooses to administer a benchmark assessment in grades 1 and 2, other than the MDE developed benchmark assessment, you need to make sure that the tool you are using meets both the definition and criteria of a benchmark assessment. We have provided the definition of a benchmark assessment in the guidance document and the criteria that a benchmark assessment needs to have such as, it is administered at regular intervals, typically in the fall and spring, its needs to compliment Michigan’s assessment system, and it needs to be aligned to Michigan’s academic standards in Ela and math. These are a few of the criteria that a benchmark assessment needs to contain.
The one thing that’s changing although very slight, is that we are producing Unified English braille (UEB) test booklets for kids in the youngest grades. Our visually impaired students in the 3rd and 4th grades will take UEB braille, it is the now accepted version of braille. In the past, it was American Braille English Version (ABEV). Grades 5-11 will have the current version of braille but grades 3 & 4 will use the new UEB and we do have practice tests available. If you contact our office, we will put you in touch with the Low incidence outreach office and they will send out braille practice tests for those kids that would like to practice using the braille booklets using either the UEB or the ABEV braille and eventually all braille will be UEB. We are doing the conversion in that manner because it’s the younger kids that are being taught the UEB.