Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System
English Language Arts
Test Blueprints by Grade
| ||Reading Comprehension||Composition|| |
|Grade||Number of Multiple-Choice Items|
(1 point per item)
|Number of Open-Response (OR) Items|
(4 points per OR item, grades 310)
|Number of Writing Prompts|
(220 points per composition)
|Total Common Points Available per Form|
Next-Generation MCAS Test Information for Grades 38 English Language Arts (ELA)
Beginning in spring 2017, students in grades 38 will take newly redesigned MCAS tests in English Language Arts (ELA). This document describes the new test designs, question types, and other information related to the new ELA tests.
The next-generation tests in ELA will include items developed specifically for MCAS, as well as items developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).
The tests include both operational items, which count toward a student's score, as well as matrix items. The matrix portion of the test consists of field-test and equating questions that do not count toward a student's score.
Number of Sessions
Grades 35: 3 shorter sessions
Grades 68: 2 longer sessions
In September, the Department released a full testing schedule, including recommended session times, for the 2016-17 school year.
In addition to multiple-choice questions, the next-generation ELA tests will include questions that assess writing at all grades, as well as technology-enhanced questions for students taking computer-based tests.
|Question Type||Total Points||Domain Assessed||Grade Levels|
|Multiple Choice||1 or 2||Reading Comprehension||Grades 38|
|Technology Enhanced||2||Reading Comprehension||Grades 38|
|Short Response||3||Reading Comprehension||Grades 3 and 4|
|Narrative Essay||6||Writing||Grades 35|
|Text-Based Essays||7||Reading Comprehension and Writing||Grades 35|
Length of Response for Essay Questions
Students taking the paper-based test will write their essays in their Test and Answer Booklet (grade 3) or Student Answer Booklet (grades 48). The total amount of space provided for student responses on the paper-based test is:
- Narrative Essay—two pages at grade 3 and four pages at grades 48
- Text-Based Essays—one page at grades 35 and two pages at grades 68
On the computer-based test, students will type their responses into response boxes that provide a similar amount of space. For example, the response box for the Narrative Essay at grade 3 provides a total space that is equivalent to about two pages; the response box for Text-Based Essays at grade 3 provides a total space that is equivalent to about one page. The response boxes are of fixed size. As students type their response, a scroll bar will appear. Students will be able to use the scroll bar to review everything they have written. Item-level directions will indicate the amount of space provided for each response.
The Department is developing practice tests that will give students the opportunity to practice using the response boxes and item-level directions. The practice tests can be found at MCAS Resource Center: English Language Arts Practice Tests.
The Department has released draft rubrics for the short-response questions, narrative essay, and text-based essays that can be found at MCAS Resource Center: English Language Arts Practice Tests in the practice test answer key/scoring rubric.
Operational Test Design by Grade
On the operational portion of the test, students will read three passage sets and answer the associated questions; each passage set will include a single passage or a passage pairing.
1- Point Questions
|Number of Essays|
Matrix Design by Grade
In addition to operational questions, students will take a matrix (field test and equating) portion of the test, which will vary by grade:
- Students in grades 34 will read one additional passage set (single or pairing), respond to eight questions (one or two-point) and write either two short response questions or one text-based essay.
- Students in grade 5 will read one additional passage set (single or pairing), respond to eight questions (one or two-point), and write one one-page text-based essay.
- Students in grades 68 will read one additional passage set (single or pairing), respond to eight questions (one or two-point), and write one two-page text-based essay.
More information: Please contact Student Assessment Services (781-338-3625; firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.