In a co-authored letter published in the Boston Globe, Jack Schneider, assistant professor of education at the College of the Holy Cross and director of research for the Massachusetts Consortium for Innovative Education Assessment (MCIEA), applauded “the effort, led by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, to look beyond test scores when measuring school performance.”
The piece, which was written by Schneider and co-signed by the chairs of MCIEA’s governing board, was written in response to a separate article in the Globe called “How do you judge a school? Mass. looks to expand the criteria,” which discusses how state officials are looking for new ways to assess school performance outside of standardized testing.
In the letter, Schneider and his team voice concern about the state’s efforts to “prescribe new school quality measures.”
Rather than merely deferring to the state and accepting incremental change, Schneider writes, “it’s time to learn from our mistakes, reorienting data systems to provide fair and comprehensive information that engages communities, empowers educators, and supports students.”
Read the full op-ed piece at BostonGlobe.com.
Schneider’s work with the MCIEA stemmed from a project he has worked on in Somerville since 2014, “to build a better and fairer measure of school quality.” This work builds on and advances a tool Schneider developed for the Boston Globe, called the “Dreamschool Finder,” which “allows parents to decide what factors are most important in the schools they want for their children,” according to the Globe.
Seeking to scale-up his Somerville Project, Schneider partnered with Patricia Jehlen, a member of the Massachusetts Senate, and Dan French, executive director of the Center for Collaborative Education, to create a consortium of districts that might demonstrate proof-of-concept for a new accountability system in Massachusetts. Currently, six school districts, including Boston, are participating in MCIEA’s inaugural year of work.
This project was also included in a recent budget passed by state legislature this past summer, which resulted in $350,000 in funding for MCIEA.
The organization has also received over $1 million from the New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity which supports innovative and effective public interest projects. Over the next three years, MCIEA’s goal is to “is to build an alternative framework for measuring school quality that will be adopted statewide,” Schneider said.
Schneider’s and MCIEA’s work has also been covered in numerous other outlets, including Commonwealth Magazine, Scholastic, and The Sun Chronicle.
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This “Holy Cross in the News” item by Jessica Kennedy.
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