The Bourne public school system has been invited to participate in an initiative to design a new way to test how well schools and school districts throughout the state are teaching the students they serve.
The goal is to lead a statewide shift from the current standardized MCAS and PARCC tests to a more local, school-specific assessment.
Bourne is one of just nine school districts invited to participate. It is the only school district from the Cape as well as the smallest school district taking part.
The governing board of the Massachusetts Consortium for Innovative Educational Assessment defines itself as a voluntary consortium of public school districts that have convened to develop a comprehensive system for assessing students and schools that can be used to improve instruction, support student learning, and inform the public on student and school progress.
School superintendent Steven M. Lamarche said Bourne’s participation in the MCIEA is an honor. He said the idea is to put “the measurement of how successful a school is into teachers’ hands and local hands as opposed to the blanket statewide standardized dipstick of how we are progressing by annual exams, which include MCAS and PARCC.”
The MCIEA is being facilitated by the Center For Collaborative Education in Boston.
The other school districts taking part in the process are Framingham, Somerville, Revere, Boston, Ludlow, Attleboro, Lowell and Winchester.
“This is a move from one-size-fits-all testing to performance assessments as well as school quality measures. There will be some common assessments across the nine districts and there will also be locally determined performance assessments,” Mr. Lamarche said.
The group is expected to work for three years on the new assessment. Each district will create a steering committee, consisting of the superintendent, the school committee chairman, a parent representative, and a student representative, to guide its participation.
The MCIEA outlines expected progress milestones for the next three years. By the end of year one, an alternate assessment model should be fully mapped out and in development. By the end of year two, model components should have been field-tested while the complete model is fully built. By the end of year three, a full field test of the assessment model should be completed, refinements should be made, and it should be ready for full implementation.
“It’s so much, but it’s so awesome. Connection to community is one of the key components, so parents can more easily evaluate how we are preparing their children for careers and college. This really is a way to empower instruction and quality of instruction on a local level,” Mr. Lamarche said.