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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

2011 MCAS Sample Student Work and Scoring Guides

Using This Online Tool


From the pages linked at the 2011 MCAS Sample Student Work Directory, you will find each released open-response question, short-response question, and each writing prompt that was included on the spring 2011 MCAS tests, the scoring guide that accompanies it, and a sample of student work at each score point for that question.

Taken together, the questions, the writing prompts, the scoring guides, and the corresponding student work provide a picture of the expectations for student performance on the MCAS tests.

The Release of Spring 2011 MCAS Test Items contains all grade 10 ELA and Mathematics test items, as well as all high school Biology, Chemistry, Introductory Physics, and Technology/Engineering test items on which student results are based. Also included in this document are approximately 50% of this year's common MCAS test items for grades 3–8.


Each subsequent page of this online tool contains information for one grade level and one content area (e.g., Grade 3 Reading Comprehension).

Due to copyright restrictions, certain common English language arts reading passages are not able to be released over the Internet. Citation information is provided online; hard copies of the omitted passages are available by calling the Student Assessment Services unit at (781) 338-3625 and requesting a "Passage Packet."

The sample responses provided here are selections of actual student work from the spring 2011 MCAS administration. In order to protect individual students' privacy, all names and references of a personal nature have been altered or removed. Otherwise, the responses appear as the students wrote them.

Test Administration Reference Materials and Tools

English Language Arts Composition - At least one dictionary per classroom was provided for student use during ELA Composition test sessions.

Mathematics - During Mathematics testing, each student was provided with a Tool Kit (at grade 3) or a Mathematics Reference Sheet (grades 5 – 8 and 10).

During a portion of the Mathematics test at grades 7, 8, and 10, each student is allowed to use a personal calculator while answering test questions. If any student is not able to provide his or her own calculator with at least four functions and a square root key, one is provided to that student for use during those sessions. Test questions administered in non-calculator test sessions are indicated in this online tool with the icon No Calculator.

Scoring of Test Questions

Responses to open-response items, short-response items, and compositions written in response to writing prompts, are scored individually. An overview of procedures for scoring these responses and compositions is presented in the MCAS fact sheet, "Scoring Student Answers to Open-Response Questions and Writing Prompts."

Printing Instructions

Printing the Questions and Rubrics
Select "Print View" from the bottom right side of any page. This view excludes extraneous navigation and graphic elements.

If you still have trouble, try printing in landscape format:

  • Select the "File" menu in your browser's tool bar.
  • Select "Print" from the File menu.
  • Select the "Properties" button and select to print landscape.
Printing the Samples
Select "Print Now" from the top right side of the page.

Due to the length of some of the samples, you may need to reduce the header and footer margins of the page in order to fit them on a single page.

How to reduce margins in Firefox:

  • Select the "File" menu in your browser's tool bar.
  • Select "Page Setup…" from the File menu.
  • From the Margins & Header/Footer tab, reduce the size of the top and bottom margins.

How to reduce margins in Internet Explorer:

  • Select the "File" menu in your browser's tool bar.
  • Select "Page Setup" from the File menu.
  • From the Margins section of the "Page Setup" dialog box, reduce the size of the top and bottom margins.

Optionally print on legal sized paper.

Last Updated: October 26, 2011
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