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To:       Superintendents and Curriculum Coordinators


From:   Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner of Education


Date:    May 14, 2003


Re:       Additional Clarification on “Proposed Criteria and Guidelines for Adoption of Local     Assessment Systems in Compliance with Chapter 127”



On May 3rd I forwarded to you Informational Letter #66, which was intended to communicate important preliminary steps the Department is engaged in to complete work on the most recent set of technical guidelines submitted to me by our local assessment system contractors.  In that letter I stated, “In order to make every effort to ensure that the document is clear and helpful, DOE staff have begun a series of critical review sessions…Then on May 9th a joint meeting of the Policy Advisory Committee, the Technical Advisory Committee, and our local assessment contractors will synthesize the feedback and prepare the final draft of the report for review and approval by me.”


Now that the document, titled “Proposed Criteria and Guidelines for Adoption of Local Assessment Systems in Compliance with Chapter 127,” has been under discussion as stated in the previous informational letter-and no doubt discussed more broadly at the local level-it is becoming clear from the feedback the Department is receiving that many local educators believe that the draft version of the report is in fact a completed document.  We knew that the benefits of these additional opportunities for review and comment by practitioners-which have been extremely helpful-might be offset by the risk of such confusion.   I reiterate that the current version of the document is a draft.  After our first round of feedback from a small group of curriculum coordinators, many substantive as well as formatting changes were made.  We anticipate that additional changes will be made as we continue our review of feedback and consider broader policy implications.  Please do not take any steps to implement these guidelines based on this draft version of the document.  Our working assumption is that we will get the final draft out to districts prior to our summer assessment system design institutes, but much work and discussion remains to be accomplished.


To those of you who have commented on technical report, we appreciate your taking time to do so.  We will make every effort to ensure the comments are incorporated fully in our review of the document.


On another subject addressed briefly in Informational Letter #66, let me remind you that the Policy Advisory Committee hopes to complete work on the review of MEA cut scores in the very near future.  This task has a number of important implications for AYP decisions and for local assessment system standard setting.  You can be certain that this work; too, will be moving forward as rapidly as humanly possible.