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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

2019 MCAS-Alt | Score Appeals Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What is an MCAS-Alt Score Appeal?

A. The MCAS-Alt Score Appeal is a process by which the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education addresses a claim of perceived scoring inaccuracy in one or more areas of a school's MCAS-Alt portfolio from the previous school year; or miscalculation of a student's performance level on the MCAS-Alt. An appeal may be submitted to the Department by a school, educational collaborative, or approved private special education school requesting that the Department review the portfolio strand in question, and if warranted, recalculate the student's MCAS-Alt score.

Q. Who may request an MCAS-Alt Score Appeal?

A. A request for an MCAS-Alt Score Appeal may be filed with the Department only by the following administrators of the school or program in which the student is enrolled:

  • principal,
  • superintendent,
  • director of an educational collaborative, or
  • director or principal of an approved private special education school

Q. How does a school determine whether an MCAS-Alt score appeal should be requested?

A. Before submitting a score appeal, the school administrator and teacher of the student whose portfolio is in question must:

  • review the Portfolio Feedback Form (PFF), including the scores in each rubric area,
  • review the scorers' comments on the PFF, and
  • review the copy of the student's portfolio strand that was maintained by the school.*
In mid-June, MCAS-Alt PFFs are made available in the school's Dropbox on the Department's secure portal. If, after the review, the school administrator believes a discrepancy exists between the actual evidence included in the student's portfolio and the reported score, the school administrator may request an appeal.

* Note: The school must have maintained a photocopy of the portfolio prior to its submission in order to request an MCAS-Alt Score Appeal.

Q. How is a request made for an MCAS-Alt Score Appeal?

A. The appropriate school official must complete the 2019 MCAS-Alt Score Appeal Form. A link will be posted in spring to the Department's MCAS-Alt website. MCAS-Alt Score Appeals must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. on June 21, 2019. The Department cannot accept or review MCAS-Alt Score Appeal requests after this date. No student work should be included with the appeal.

Q. Which students are eligible to request an MCAS-Alt Score Appeal?

A. The MCAS-Alt Score Appeal may be filed on behalf of any student for whom an MCAS-Alt portfolio was submitted in spring 2019, provided the school has maintained a copy of the student's portfolio.

Q. Which rubric area scores may be appealed?

A. Scores in the following rubric areas may be appealed:

  • Level of Complexity,
  • Demonstration of Skills and Concepts, and/or
  • Independence.
Scores in the following rubric areas may not be appealed, since these scores do not affect the overall achievement level of the portfolio:
  • Self-Evaluation
  • Generalized Performance
Information on scoring MCAS-Alt portfolios is available in the 2019 Educator's Manual for MCAS-Alt Download Word Document and in the Guidelines for Scoring MCAS-Alt Portfolios Download Word Document.

Q. Once the MCAS-Alt Score Appeal is submitted, who will conduct the actual portfolio review?

A. After reviewing the justification and the original portfolio, expert scorers under the supervision of the Department will review and, if necessary, rescore the portfolio of the student for whom an appeal was requested.

Q. When will schools be notified of the outcome of their score appeal?

A. In late July, the Department will send written determinations to the superintendent (or director) and principal of the school or program attended by the student.

Parent/Guardian Reports, School Rosters, and District Rosters sent to districts in September will reflect the adjusted scores, as appropriate.

In September, all portfolios, including those for which a score appeal was submitted, will be returned to the school from which they were submitted, with print copies of the PFF. The PFFs will only reflect the original scores, not scores that have been readjusted based on an appeal.

Q. When would it be inappropriate to submit an MCAS-Alt Score Appeal?

A. The MCAS-Alt Score Appeal process should not be used to report any of the following:

  • Discrepancies on standard MCAS tests;
  • Students whose results were incorrectly attributed to a school or program;
  • MCAS Performance Appeals for students seeking to earn



Last Updated: January 7, 2019
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