Next-generation MCAS Conference Recap and Resources

Submitted by 

Katie Aspell

The ATMIM Winter Conference took place at Hopedale Junior – Senior High School on Thursday evening, January 12th. Focusing on the Next-generation MCAS, the keynote speakers, Jass Stewart and Simone Johnson, both from DESE, engaged the audience of 60 mathematics educators of grades K – 12. Jass and Simone discussed why the state was rethinking the current MCAS and how the changes would be rolled out. Jass Stewart, Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff and Senior Strategist, began with a brief history of the current MCAS and where Massachusetts stand nationally and internationally. Through the history of MCAS, Jass explained the thought process of DESE in designing the Next Gen MCAS and laid out the timeline of the department and how it will impact classroom teachers. Next, Simone Johnson, Administrator for Mathematics Test Development, dove into more specific details. Simone walked us through the design of the test in types of questions, timing, scoring, and resources available to educators. At the end of the keynote, Simone and Jass answered questions from the audience that helped clarify testing accommodations and additional resources for students and teachers.

After the keynote address, the conference participants chose a grade-band breakout session to attend. Mary Lou Beasley worked with grade 3 – 5 teachers and focused on the details involving the Next Gen 3rd grade MCAS test. Her colleague, Simone Johnson, focused discussions in the 6 – 8 breakout on the changes in the upcoming grade 8 Next Gen MCAS. Both the elementary and middle school sessions addressed new question types and the tools available to students. In the grade 10 breakout, Jim Verdolino and Hayley Freeman led teachers through an inspection of the standards and asked for feedback to assist in changes in the grade 10 MCAS. Following the breakout sessions, participants enjoyed a full course dinner, and all the speakers answered questions in a casual Q&A session afterward.

Click here to access the presentation documents from each session at the ATMIM Winter Conference.

The DESE releases monthly updates concerning the progress and details of the Next-generation MCAS. Those updates, as well as other resources, can be found here.

Elementary Teachers watching a presentation about the 3rd grade MCAS 2.0 test

Mary Lou Beasley presents a new question type from the computer based 3rd grade Next-generation MCAS test.

Presentation slide with an example of a question type from the 8th grade MCAS 2.0

An example of a new question type that from the 8th grade Next-generation MCAS test.

Teachers working in groups analyzing math standards

High school teachers discuss which MA math standards would be best to assess for mastery. The feedback from these discussions will be considered during the creation of the future 10th grade Next-generation MCAS test.

© ATMIM (Assoc. of Teachers of Mathematics in Mass.)

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