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Background on Next-Gen MCAS

Next-Generation Grade 10 MCAS Tests in English Language Arts and Mathematics: Information for Students and Families

About the next-generation grade 10 MCAS tests in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics

  • The next-generation MCAS tests are an updated version of the previous MCAS tests and are given on a computer instead of on paper (unless students have special needs that require a paper test). Students in grades 3 through 8 have been taking the next-generation tests since 2017.

  • In spring 2019, students in grade 10 (the class of 2021) will be the first class to take the next-generation high school tests in ELA and mathematics.

  • The next-generation tests have different score ranges and achievement levels than the previous tests: the new scale is 440–560 points, and the new achievement levels are Exceeding Expectations, Meeting Expectations, Partially Meeting Expectations, and Not Meeting Expectations.

  • The minimum score needed to pass the next-generation MCAS will be set at a level equivalent to the passing score on the previous MCAS for this year's sophomores and for students who are now freshmen (members of the classes of 2021 and 2022).

Do students still have to pass the tests to graduate?

Yes, students must pass the next-generation grade 10 MCAS tests in ELA and mathematics, as well as the previous version of a MCAS test in science and technology/engineering, as one requirement for a high school diploma.

Are the next-generation tests harder than the legacy tests?

Students may find the next-generation tests more challenging, but the threshold score needed to pass will be set at a level equivalent to the threshold on the previous MCAS for now. For students in the classes of 2021 and 2022 (students who are sophomores and freshmen in spring 2019), the next-generation passing threshold will remain at a level equivalent to the passing threshold on the previous MCAS.

Students can pass the next-generation ELA and mathematics tests or retests in one of two ways:

  • earn a next-generation score that is comparable to a score of Proficient or higher on the legacy MCAS tests; or
  • earn a next-generation score that is comparable to Needs Improvement on the previous MCAS tests and fulfill the requirements of an Educational Proficiency Plan.

Will students still be able to take a retest if they don't pass the first time?

Yes, there will still be two retest opportunities per year in both subjects, so students can take the retests in grades 11 and 12 and beyond if necessary.

Will students still be able to qualify for the Adams Scholarship or the Koplik Certificate of Mastery?

Yes, students' 10th grade scores could still earn them an Adams Scholarship or help them meet the eligibility requirements for the Koplik Certificate.

Are there practice tests or other ways to help students prepare for the test?

Yes, there are practice tests and other resources for students, families, and educators available (see below).

Where can I find more information?

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Graduation requirements
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John and Abigail Adams Scholarship
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Stanley Z. Koplik Certificate of Mastery Award
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Practice tests
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General information about the next-generation tests
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Information for parents and families


Last Updated: March 25, 2019
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