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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

2016 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 scoring areas of a school's MCAS-Alt portfolio from the previous school year; or a 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:

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

Q. What is the process for determining if a score appeal should be filed?

A. Before submitting a score appeal, the school administrator and the teacher of the student whose portfolio is in question must review the Portfolio Feedback Form (PFF), including scorer comments, and the copy of the student's portfolio strand that was maintained by the school.* In mid-June, MCAS-Alt results and PFFs are made available in the school and district 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.

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

Q. Who is eligible for the MCAS-Alt Score Appeal?

A. The MCAS-Alt Score Appeal may be filed for any student for whom an MCAS-Alt portfolio was submitted in spring 2016, and provided that the school has maintained a copy of the student's portfolio.

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

A. The appropriate school official must complete the online 2016 MCAS-Alt Score Appeal Form. A link will be posted in spring to the Department's MCAS-Alt website. Only requests received through this site will be reviewed. All MCAS-Alt Score Appeals must be submitted online no later than 5:00 p.m. on June 24, 2016. The Department cannot accept or review MCAS-Alt Score Appeal requests after this date.

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 areas of Self-Evaluation and Generalized Performance may not be appealed since these scores do not affect the overall achievement level of the portfolio. Information on scoring MCAS-Alt portfolios is posted in the 2016 Educator's Manual for MCAS-Alt Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document and in the Guidelines for Scoring MCAS-Alt Portfolios Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document.

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

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

Q. When will we know the outcome of our appeal?

A. In late July, the Department will send a written determination to the superintendent (or director) and to the 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 schools from which they were submitted.

Note: The MCAS-Alt Score Appeals process should not be used to report scoring discrepancies on standard MCAS tests, or to report students whose results were incorrectly attributed to the school or program. Instructions for reporting those discrepancies are included in the information sent to schools with standard MCAS test results. In addition, the MCAS-Alt Score Appeal process should not be used for the purpose of filing an MCAS Performance Appeal for a student seeking to earn a Competency Determination.

For additional information, please contact the Student Assessment Services office by email at

Last Updated: January 27, 2016
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