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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

MCAS-Alt "Competency Portfolio" Requirements for Students to Earn a Competency Determination (CD)

Updated Fall 2019

If a high school student with a significant disability is working at, near, or above grade-level expectations, but is unable to demonstrate knowledge and skills on the standard MCAS tests due to the nature and severity of their disability, even with the use of accommodations, the team or 504 coordinator should consider designating the student for an MCAS-Alt competency portfolio.

If the student demonstrates in his or her competency portfolio a level of achievement comparable to or higher than that of a student who has achieved the Competency Determination standard on the high school MCAS test, the student will be awarded a Competency Determination in that subject. Content experts, under the supervision of the Department, will review and score each competency portfolio, make individual determinations in each subject, and provide feedback to the school submitting the portfolio.

Updated requirements for ELA and mathematics competency portfolios became effective for the 2018-2019 school year and beyond. The requirements for science and technology/engineering competency portfolios have changed for the 2019-2020 school year to reflect the 2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework and the "next-generation" MCAS assessments in STE that will be administered to students in grades 9 or 10 in spring 2020.

The current requirements for competency portfolios in all three subjects are described below. The term "legacy" refers to the earlier versions of the curriculum frameworks and high school MCAS tests that have now largely been replaced with "next-generation" assessments, based on the 2017 curriculum frameworks for ELA and mathematics, and the 2016 curriculum framework for science and technology/engineering.

Math and ELA competency portfolios that were submitted for the first time prior to spring 2019, and STE portfolios submitted for the first time prior to spring 2020 may continue to be based on the earlier "legacy" requirements. Additionally, high school Chemistry and Technology/Engineering will continue to be assessed based on "legacy" standards. The changes below detail which version of the curriculum frameworks to use as the basis for competency portfolios for students with a significant disabilities in high school.

For competency portfolios submitted for the first time in spring 2020 and beyond:

  • English Language Arts (ELA)
    Download Word Document
    "Next-generation" ELA competency portfolios must include evidence based on the 2017 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for English Language Arts and Literacy.
    Download Word Document
    "Next-generation" High School Work Description Label: English Language Arts

  • Mathematics
    Download Word Document
    "Next-generation" Mathematics competency portfolios must include evidence based on the 2017 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for Mathematics.
    Download Word Document
    "Next-generation" High School Work Description Label: Mathematics

  • Science and Technology/Engineering

    "Next-generation" Biology and Introductory Physics competency portfolios must include evidence based on the 2016 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for Science and Technology/Engineering.

    Download Word Document
    "Next-generation" High School Work Description Label: Biology
    Download Word Document
    "Next-generation" High School Work Description Label: Introductory Physics

    "Legacy" Chemistry and Technology/Engineering competency portfolios must include evidence based on the 2006 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for Science and Technology/Engineering

    Download Word Document
    "Legacy" High School Work Description Label: Chemistry
    Download Word Document
    "Legacy" High School Work Description Label: Technology/Engineering

For competency portfolios that have already been previously submitted at least once prior to the 2019-2020 school year that will be resubmitted in spring 2020 and beyond:

  • English Language Arts (ELA)
    Download Word Document
    Previously submitted "legacy" ELA competency portfolios may continue to include evidence based on the 2001/2011 Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for English Language Arts and Literacy.
    Download Word Document
    "Legacy" High School Work Description Label: English Language Arts

  • Mathematics
    Download Word Document
    Previously submitted "legacy" Mathematics competency portfolios may continue to include evidence based on the 2000/2011 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for Mathematics.
    Download Word Document
    "Legacy" High School Work Description Label: Mathematics

  • Science and Technology/Engineering
    Download Word Document
    Previously submitted "legacy" Science and Technology/Engineering competency portfolios may continue to include evidence based on the 2006 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for Science and Technology/Engineering.
    Download Word Document
    "Legacy" High School Work Description Label: Biology
    Download Word Document
    "Legacy" High School Work Description Label: Introductory Physics

MCAS-Alt Competency portfolio requirements are also described in detail in the Educator's Manual for MCAS-Alt Download Word Document.



Last Updated: August 20, 2019
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