SECTION 1. Notwithstanding subsection (i) of section one D of chapter 69 of the General Laws, as so appearing, during the next three full school years following the effective date of this act, the requirement that a student must demonstrate mastery of a common core of skills, competencies and knowledge as measured by Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System or any other named statewide standardized assessment shall not be required as a condition for high school graduation.
SECTION 2. Notwithstanding the provisions of any general law, special law, regulation, or collective bargaining agreement to the contrary, during the next three full school years following the effective date of this act, the results from student learning measures that inform the educator plan or self-assessment shall not be used, in whole or in part, in an educator’s formative evaluation, formative assessment, or summative evaluation.
SECTION 3. During the next three full school years following the effective date of this act, the department shall not implement or use the mandated state standardized assessment to satisfy the accountability provisions of section 1J or section 1K of chapter 69.
SECTION 4. The department of elementary and secondary education shall create and implement a grant program within ninety days of the passage of this act to support the establishment of district task forces to develop and pilot alternative assessment models beginning at the start of the 2020-2021 school year. The purpose of the grant program is to enable educators, students, parents and local districts to establish a vision and goals for their public schools; to determine how best to evaluate whether or not their vision and goals are being met; and to identify what resources are needed to realize their vision and goals.
(a) A school district task force on assessment shall be formed at the local level in no more than twenty-five percent of public school districts.
(b) Should more than twenty-five percent of school districts apply, the department shall establish a process by which grant applicants are selected in a manner that ensures the participation of economically disadvantaged school districts as defined in section 3A of chapter 23A and school districts with a significant population of English language learners as defined in subsection (d) of section 2 of chapter 71A.
(c) Each task force shall be co-chaired by the chair of the school committee, or the chair’s designee, and the president of the local education association, or the president’s designee. In addition to the co-chairs, the task force composition shall consist of no more than nine members of the community, parents, school staff including administrators and educators, and students as appropriate. The task forces may convene within thirty days of notification by the department that a grant has been awarded to the district.
(d) Each task force shall annually report on its progress to the department.
(e) The department shall file an annual report on the status of the grant program, progress of applicants and assess the need for increased funding after the initial application cycle to the Committees on House Ways and Means, Senate Ways and Means, and the Joint Committee on Education annually on the progress of the pilot alternative assessment models.
SECTION 5. Chapter 11 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after section 17 the following section:-
Section 18. The state auditor shall investigate and audit the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, established under section 1A of chapter 69 of the General Laws, once every three years beginning July 1, 2019 and if the state auditor deems it necessary shall conduct an investigation more often. The audit and investigation shall include, but not limited to, contract bid practices, internal financial and practice reviews and controls, contract compliance, specifically review the current and former contracts between the department and Measured Progress as well as any subcontractors of said contract, including but not limited to Pearson, and review any other issues the state auditor deems appropriate to investigate. The state auditor shall issue guidance for future contracts to be executed with a nonprofit based in Massachusetts with extensive knowledge of the educational system of the Commonwealth. Upon completion of the report, a copy shall be filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives, the Clerk of the Senate, the Joint Committee on Education, the House Committee on Ways & Means and the Senate Committee on Ways & Means.
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