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Performance Assessment of Competency Education (PACE)

NH PACE is a first-in-the-nation accountability strategy that offers a reduced level of standardized testing together with locally developed common performance assessments. These assessments are designed to support deeper learning through competency education, and to be more integrated into students’ day-to-day work than current standardized tests. Meaningful assessment is a key part of a strategy to ensure students are getting the most out of their education.

The Department invites any school district interested in participating in NH PACE to apply using the application and readiness information. All instructions are included in the application. Applications may be submitted at any time throughout the year.

This School and District Readiness Matrix may be useful in self-assessment of Competncy-Education and PACE readiness.

New Hampshire Students Show Improvement on Statewide Assessment Results

The 2014-15 Performance Assessment of Competency Education (PACE) common assessment results were released on Monday, December 14, 2015.

The PACE K-12 system will build on New Hampshire’s competency work, including the development of statewide college and career ready competencies, and will be one component of the New Hampshire student assessment system. The PACE accountability option provides districts with an alternative route of demonstrating measurable progress in student outcomes in the New Hampshire competencies, the Work-Study Practices, and other important measures. It enables districts to emphasize meaningful content, high quality instruction, and deep student engagement. The PACE option will have multiple components, but performance assessment will be a central feature. In this first year, PACE districts will report on ELA, mathematics, science, and the Work-Study Practices. As New Hampshire develops further competencies, social studies, the arts, and other content areas will become a part of the PACE system.

PACE is based on a rich system of local and common (across multiple districts) assessments that support deeper learning, as well as allow students to demonstrate their competency through multiple performance assessment measures in a variety of contexts. Performance assessments are multi-step assignments with clear criteria, expectations and processes which measure how well a student transfers knowledge and applies complex skills to create or refine an original product and/or solution.

As an early step in this process, the PACE option is being piloted by a group of self-selected school districts. School districts piloting PACE are Epping, Rochester, Sanborn Regional and Souhegan. Districts participating in 2015-2016 are Concord, Monroe, Pittsfield, and Seacoast Charter, and for 2016-17 SAU 35.

PACE implementing districts will give the Smarter Balanced assessment once in elementary school, once in middle school and once in high school - in three grades instead of seven. In all other years, the PACE districts will administer carefully designed common and local “performance assessments” developed by the districts themselves, and validated at the state level.

Beginning in 2012, all New Hampshire school districts were invited to participate in the pilot. The pilot required extensive training and local commitment to managing their testing locally. Although the work was partly funded with generous grants from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the PACE pilot project requires a large scale commitment by administrators and teachers of participating districts. However, USED and NHDOE anticipate that school districts throughout the State and the nation will benefit from the experience gained in PACE.

New Hampshire Convening on Competency Education May 11, 2015

On May 11th, the Department of Education held a convening in order to build understanding of the exciting work happening across the country in the area of competency education and how New Hampshire educators, students, and policy makers are leaders in that work.

Presentation materials and videos from the convening are listed below:

Competency Education Convening AGENDA and All PowerPoint Presentations Acrobat Reader

PACE Reflections - Sanborn School District (Quicktime video) video

VOICES in NH Competency Education (QuickTime video)

Additional Segments (All (QuickTime Videos) video

A Peek Inside New Hampshire’s Performance Assessment Pilot - In an interview with CCSSO’s Jennifer Poon, New Hampshire teacher Jennifer Deenik describes what it’s like to teach in a school, district, and state pushing the boundaries on student assessment and accountability.

General PACE Information

Paul Leather
Deputy Commissioner
(603) 271-3801
Mariane Gfroerer
State Director NH PACE
(603) 271-6691

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New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street | Concord, NH | 03301-3494
Telephone: (603) 271-3494 | TDD Access: Relay NH 711