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Results Released for the Performance Assessment of Competency Education
(PACE) Common Assessments


Commissioner of Education, Virginia M. Barry, Ph.D., announced today (December 14, 2015) the 2014-15 Performance Assessment of Competency Education (PACE) common assessment results. The PACE system, a pilot currently being implemented in New Hampshire, is designed to foster deeper learning on the part of students than is capable under current systems. A competency-based system relies on a well-articulated set of learning targets that helps connect content standards and critical skills leading to proficiency. Such a system requires carefully following student progress and ensures that students have mastered key content and skills before moving to the next logical set of knowledge and skills along locally-defined learning paths This requires timely assessments linked closely with curriculum and instruction.

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.

Commissioner Barry said, “Our goal continues to be that each student will graduate from high school with both the rigorous content knowledge and the higher order skills necessary for success in college and career, and for our state-wide assessment system to reflect and value schools and students meeting those expectations, while continuing to honor New Hampshire’s local control educational system.“

In March of 2015, the US Department of Education approved New Hampshire’s PACE pilot in four school districts. The PACE pilot allows districts to reduce the level of standardized testing in favor of locally developed and managed assessments that are more integrated into a student’s day-to-day work. The four PACE-implementing districts – Sanborn Regional, Rochester, Epping and Souhegan – have worked closely with NHDOE over the past five years to develop the strategy.

Participating districts also administer the Smarter Balanced Assessment once each in elementary, middle, and high school as part of a statewide check for expected rigor. The lower participation rate in grade 11 is partly attributed to eleventh grade students taking AP tests and the SAT. Therefore, the New Hampshire Department of Education has received approval to replace the 11th grade statewide assessments with the College Board’s SAT in the spring of 2016. This plan is an important step in the Department’s commitment to reduce the amount of time spent on statewide standardized testing for public high school students and ensure that all students are prepared to succeed in college and careers. The SAT will cover English language arts (reading, writing) and mathematics and will be at no cost for every 11th grade student required to take the assessment.

For more information about the new assessments, please go to www.education.nh.gov/instruction/assessment.


New Hampshire Department of Education
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Telephone: (603) 271-3494 | TDD Access: Relay NH 711