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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

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

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 to submit 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 scored the following on the high school MCAS tests in those subjects:

  • Partially Meeting Expectations in English language arts (ELA) or mathematics, or

  • Needs Improvement in science and technology/engineering (STE), the student will be awarded a Competency Determination (CD) in that subject. Content experts will review and score each competency portfolio, make individual determinations in each subject, and provide feedback to the school submitting the portfolio.

The requirements for ELA and for mathematics competency portfolios have changed for the 2018-2019 school year to reflect the implementation of the 2017 curriculum frameworks and "next-generation" MCAS assessments for students in high school. The requirements for science and technology/engineering competency portfolios remain as they were previously.

Please note the current requirements for competency portfolios in all three subjects 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" standard and alternate assessments based on the 2017 curriculum frameworks (with the exception of high school STE tests and November 2018 and March 2019 retests).

Competency portfolios that were submitted for the first time prior to spring 2019 may continue to be based on the earlier "legacy" requirements. The changes below detail which versions 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 2019 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

For competency portfolios that have already been submitted at least once prior to the 2018-2019 school year and resubmitted in spring 2019 and beyond:

  • English Language Arts (ELA)
    Download Word Document
    "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
    High School Work Description Label: English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
    Download Word Document
    "Legacy" Mathematics competency portfolios may continue to include evidence based on the 2000/2011 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for Mathematics.
    Download Word Document
    High School Work Description Label: Mathematics
Download Word Document
Science and Technology/Engineering competency portfolio requirements have not changed. Regardless of when STE competency portfolios were started, or if they have already been submitted for review, competency portfolios in STE will continue, at least for the 2018-2019 school year, to include evidence based solely on the 2006 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for Science and Technology/Engineering.

Download Word Document
High School Work Description Label: Biology
Download Word Document
High School Work Description Label: Chemistry
Download Word Document
High School Work Description Label: Introductory Physics
Download Word Document
High School Work Description Label: Technology/Engineering

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



Last Updated: August 20, 2018
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