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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System


Test Design

Test Blueprints by Grade

Grade 10
GradeNumber of Multiple-Choice Items (1 point per item)Number of Short-Answer Items (1 point per item)Number of Open-Response Items (4 points per item)Total Common Points Available per Form

Next-Generation MCAS Test Information for Grades 3-8 Mathematics

Beginning in spring 2017, students in grades 3-8 will take newly redesigned MCAS tests in Mathematics. This document describes the new test designs, question types, and other information related to the new Mathematics tests.

The next-generation tests in Mathematics 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

All mathematics tests will have two sessions.

Grades 3-6: Both sessions will be non-calculator.

Grades 7-8: Session 1: non-calculator; Session 2: calculator allowed.

In September, the Department released a full testing schedule, including recommended session times, for the 2016-17 school year.

Question Types

In addition to multiple-choice, short-answer, and open-response questions, the next-generation Mathematics tests will include questions with different point values, as well as technology-enhanced questions for students taking computer-based tests.

Question TypeItem TypeTotal PointsGrade Levels
Multiple Choice
Students select one correct answer from among several answer options.
SR1Grades 3-8
Multiple Select
Students select more than one correct answer from among several answer options.
SR1Grades 3-8
Short Answer/Fill-in-the-Blank
Students construct a short written response, typically only a word or a number.
SA1Grades 3-8
Technology Enhanced
Students answer questions using technology such as drag-and-drop or hot spot (on the computer based test only).
SA/SR1 or 2 Grades 3-5
1, 2, or 4Grades 6-8
Open Response
Students write a response to a multi-part item that includes answers and explanations to all parts.
CR2 or 3Grade 3
3 or 4Grades 4-8
Operational Test Design by Grade

On the operational portion of the test, students will complete a range of item types depending on grade level.

GradeNumber of
1- Point Questions
(includes Multiple-choice, multiple-select, short answer/fill-in-the-blank, or technology-enhanced)
Number of
2-point Questions
( includes Multiple-choice, multiple-select, short answer/fill-in-the-blank, or technology-enhanced)
Number of
4-point Questions
( includes Multiple-choice, multiple-select, short answer/fill-in-the-blank, or technology-enhanced)
Number of Open Response Questions
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 3-5 will answer three additional 1 or 2-point questions and one additional open-response question.
  • Students in grades 6-8 will answer four additional 1, 2, or 4-point questions and two additional open-response questions.
Additional Resources and Training

Practice tests: Practice tests for all grades can be found at MCAS Resource Center: Mathematics Practice Tests. The practice tests will include examples of the various item types for both the paper-based and computer-based tests.

More information: Please contact Student Assessment Services (781-338-3625; with any questions.

2017 MCAS Mathematics Reporting Categories
GradeReporting CategoryPercentage (+/- 5%)Total Number of Points
3Operations & Algebraic Thinking33%15-16
Number & Operations in Base Ten15%7-8
Number & Operations-Fractions15%7-8
Measurement & Data25%12
4Operations & Algebraic Thinking25%13-14
Number & Operations in Base Ten20%10-11
Number & Operations-Fractions20%10-11
Measurement & Data20%10-11
5Operations & Algebraic Thinking20%10-11
Number & Operations in Base Ten25%13-14
Number & Operations-Fractions25%13-14
Measurement & Data20%10-11
6Ratios & Proportional Relationships19%10-11
The Number System18%9-10
Expressions & Equations30%16
Statistics & Probability18%9-10
7Ratios & Proportional Relationships20%10-11
The Number System22%12
Expressions & Equations20%10-11
Statistics & Probability18%9-10
8The Number System5%3
Expressions & Equations30%16
Statistics & Probability10%5-6
10 Number & Quantity20%12
Algebra & Functions30%18
Statistics & Probability20%12

*Additional information on the reporting categories for the grade 10 mathematics MCAS.

Last Updated: September 20, 2017
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