Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Statewide Testing Schedule and Administration Deadlines MCAS, MCAS Alternate Assessment, and ACCESS for ELLs

Initial Release of the 2019–2020 MCAS Testing Schedule

We are pleased to release the 2019-2020 MCAS testing schedule for grades 3–8 and high schools.

  1. Important Updates for 2019-2020: These updates are described on the attached 2019–2020 Statewide Testing Schedule and Administration Deadlines, and Recommended Testing Times Download Word Document.
    • Spring 2020 grades 3–8
      • The paper-based testing (PBT) window will be shorter than the window for computer-based testing (CBT). There is no requirement for students doing CBT to participate in testing at a concurrent time to students doing PBT.
      • ELA testing will again begin at the beginning of April. New for 2020, Mathematics and STE testing will begin in late April.

    • Spring 2020 high school STE
      • Students in grade 9 may participate in next-generation, computer-based Biology or Introductory Physics tests, or legacy, paper-based Chemistry or Technology/Engineering tests.
      • Students in grade 10 must participate in a high school STE test if they have not yet earned a scaled score of at least 220 on an STE test; they will take one of the four legacy, paper-based tests in Biology, Chemistry, Introductory Physics, or Technology/Engineering.
      • Students in grades 11 and 12 and adults may participate in the legacy, paper-based tests.

    • Fall 2019/2020 retests
      • Students in grades 11 and 12 and adults who need to take ELA and Mathematics retests will participate in legacy, paper-based retests.

  2. Guidance on Test Dates and Holiday Observances
    Districts that previously scheduled activities and now find a conflict with one of the prescribed test dates for the high school tests should contact the Office of Student Assessment Services, 781-338-3625.

    Principals should be aware that state and federal laws require schools to make reasonable accommodations for the religious needs of students and employees in observance of holy days. Students who are absent from school may participate in a make-up session as soon after the regularly administered session as possible. The observance of Ramadan will be April 23-May 23, 2020 (exact dates may vary). Schools may contact DESE with questions.

  3. CBT Expectation and Process for Requesting a Waiver Schools that need to do PBT at the school level (e.g., technology constraints, all students have a PBT accommodation, all students take the MCAS-Alt) will need to submit a waiver request; details will be provided in fall 2019.

  4. Additional Information to Be Provided Soon In fall 2019, check the MCAS Statewide Testing Schedule webpage for make-up testing windows, test administration deadlines, and recommended testing times, as well as the ACCESS for ELLs testing schedule. Updated test designs for high school Biology and high school Introductory Physics will be posted soon.

  5. Number of Sessions and Session Lengths
    There will be two test sessions for each of the MCAS tests in spring 2020, and test sessions in 2019-2020 will remain untimed. The Department will review the amount of testing time used by students taking computer-based testing in 2019 to determine the recommended testing times for spring 2020.

  6. Concurrent Testing for High Schools
    High schools are expected to administer the spring tests to the maximum number of students who can be tested concurrently on the prescribed administration dates, and schools with technology constraints (only) may administer the test on the second two administration dates if needed. Schools with special circumstances must email DESE to discuss options.

Thank you. Please contact the Office of Student Assessment Services if there are any questions.

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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