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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Class of 2016 Letter to Parents

September 2014

Dear Parents and Guardians of Students in the Class of 2016:

Enclosed are your child's results for the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) tests that he or she took in spring 2014. The Parent/Guardian Report contains your child's scores for the grade 10 tests in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. If your child participated in an MCAS high school Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) test in Biology, Chemistry, Introductory Physics, or Technology/Engineering, his or her STE score is also provided. Please see the school principal or guidance counselor with any questions about your child's results.

High School MCAS Tests and Graduation Requirements

The results of these high school tests are important since all Massachusetts students who are seeking to earn a high school diploma must meet the Commonwealth's Competency Determination (CD) standard, in addition to all local graduation requirements. The CD requirement was established as part of the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993 to ensure that students graduating from high school have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in college and in today's workplace.

In order to earn a CD, students must either earn a score of 240 (Proficient) or higher on the grade 10 MCAS ELA and Mathematics tests or retests, or earn a score of 220-238 (Needs Improvement) on the grade 10 MCAS ELA and Mathematics tests or retests and fulfill the requirements of an Educational Proficiency Plan (EPP). Students must also earn a score of 220 or higher on one of the high school Science and Technology/Engineering tests.

If your son or daughter earned a score of 240 or higher on the ELA and Mathematics tests and a score of 220 or higher on one of the STE tests, please congratulate him or her for a job well done. The tests are challenging, and your child's scores indicate that he or she has met the state's requirements for a high school diploma.

If your son or daughter earned a score between 220 and 238 on the ELA and/or Mathematics tests, your child's school will develop an Educational Proficiency Plan for him or her in the appropriate subject(s). Each EPP will include a review of your child's strengths and weaknesses, the courses he or she must take and complete in grades 11 and 12, and a description of the assessments the school will administer to determine whether your child is moving toward proficiency. More information about EPP requirements can be found on the Department's website.

If your son or daughter scored below 220 on one or more tests, please remind him or her that there will be a number of opportunities to retake the test(s) he or she did not pass. The first retest opportunity for ELA and Mathematics is scheduled for November 5-13, 2014.

All students in the class of 2016 should have already taken an MCAS end-of-course high school STE (Biology, Chemistry, Introductory Physics, or Technology/Engineering) test in grade 9 or 10. If your son or daughter has not yet earned a scaled score of 220 on one of the four STE tests required for the CD, he or she may next participate in a Biology test on February 2-3, 2015. Tests in all four STE content areas will be offered in June 2015.

MCAS Performance Appeals Process and Pathways to Success on MCAS Tests

The MCAS Performance Appeals Process provides another way for students to demonstrate that they possess the knowledge and skills required to meet or exceed the state's CD standard. Additional information, including eligibility requirements, is available on the MCAS Performance Appeals website, or contact the high school principal or guidance office.

For students who have not met the MCAS requirements for graduation, there are additional opportunities available at no cost to help them prepare for the future, including high school programs, community college programs, and work and learning programs. View more information about these pathways and other options.

Scholarship Opportunities

Students who earned scores at the Proficient and Advanced levels on the high school MCAS ELA, Mathematics, and STE tests may be eligible for a tuition waiver at a Massachusetts state college or university through the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship. Students who earned scores at the Proficient and Advanced levels on the MCAS ELA, Mathematics, and STE tests may be eligible for a tuition waiver at a Massachusetts state college or university through the Stanley Z. Koplik Certificate of Mastery with Distinction Award. Please note that while the Adams Scholarship and Koplik Award cover the cost of tuition, a greater proportion of the cost of public higher education in Massachusetts consists of fees. View tuition and fee schedules. Students who ultimately qualify for the Adams Scholarship will be notified automatically during their senior year. However, students must apply for the Koplik Award. Further information about scholarships and awards is available on the Department's website.

Whether your child plans to enter college or the workplace, our goal is for all students to graduate from high school with the knowledge and skills they need. Best wishes for your child's success.

Sincerely,

Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D.
Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education



Last Updated: October 21, 2014
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