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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

MCAS Achievement Level Definitions

Student results on MCAS tests are reported according to the following achievement levels:

Grades 3–8 tests: Advanced, Proficient, Needs Improvement, Warning
Grade 10 tests: Advanced, Proficient, Needs Improvement, Failing

The achievement level definitions below, which apply across subject areas and grade levels, are used as a basis for determining the minimum score for each of the achievement levels on each of the MCAS tests. Also linked below are definitions of achievement levels for each content area tested. The general and content-specific definitions are meant to help teachers, students, parents, and others understand the meaning of the MCAS results.

General Achievement Level Definitions

Advanced
Students at this level demonstrate a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of rigorous subject matter, and provide sophisticated solutions to complex problems.

Proficient
Students at this level demonstrate a solid understanding of challenging subject matter and solve a wide variety of problems.

Needs Improvement
Students at this level demonstrate a partial understanding of subject matter and solve some simple problems.

Warning (Grades 3–8)/Failing (High School)
Students at this level demonstrate a minimal understanding of subject matter and do not solve simple problems.

Content-Specific Achievement Level Definitions

Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD DocumentEnglish Language Arts
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD DocumentMathematics
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD DocumentScience and Technology/Engineering (Grades 5 and 8)
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD DocumentHigh School Biology
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD DocumentHigh School Chemistry
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD DocumentHigh School Introductory Physics
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD DocumentHigh School Technology/Engineering


Last Updated: May 1, 2013
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