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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.

Any SAU, school district, or school in New Hampshire may participate in the rich professional development offered for building competency education implementation, personalization, and performance assessment practice. Requests to join in the professional development may come in at any time of the year, although the accountability practices training and implementation begins in August of each school year. Schools do not have to participate in the accountability portion of PACE in order to participate in the professional development.

The Department invites any school district interested in participating in NH PACE for accountability purposes to signal their request either directly to the Department by contacting this office, or by contacting the PACE professional development raining partner, NHLI through their website. The final determination on performance assessment accountability will occur in collaboration with the Commissioner.

The New Hampshire Learning Initiative leads the professional development portion of PACE. Requests to join in on a variety of learning opportunities may be accessed through the NHLI website. NHLI will assist with a self-assessment of readiness to determine what resources best fit a school's needs. This School and District Competency Education Practices Matrix may be useful in self-assessment of Competency-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 NH PACE K-12 system builds on New Hampshire’s competency work, including the development of statewide college and career ready competencies, and is 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 has multiple components, but performance assessment is a central feature. NH PACE districts report on ELA, mathematics, and science. The Work-Study Practices are a component of local reporting. ARTs PACE is an additional component that several districts have developed as a cohort over the past 3 years. CTE centers around NH have also joined in developing PACE performance tasks for common assessment.

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.

Schools and districts participating in PACE in 2017-18 are Epping, Rochester, Sanborn Regional, Souhegan, Concord, Monroe, Pittsfield, SAU 35 (Bethlehem), Seacoast Charter, Laconia, Amherst Middle School, Plymouth Elementary, SAU 23, and Newport.

PACE implementing districts give the NH state as standardized assessment once in elementary school, once in middle school and and the SAT in high school. In all other years, the PACE districts 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 a local commitment to manage 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 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.

More about PACE:

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

Julie Couch, Administrator
Bureau of Instructional Support and Student Assessment
(603) 271-0058

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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