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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Science and Technology/Engineering

Transition Information for MCAS Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) Tests

In January 2016, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to adopt the 2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Standards. These revised standards were incorporated into the 2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework Download PDF Document, which was published in April 2016. The MCAS STE program has been transitioning to assess the new standards, as described below. The STE tests have also been redesigned for computer-based administration, as part of the Commonwealth's move to "next-generation" MCAS assessments. This process has included the introduction of new test designs and new item types.

Grades 5 and 8 MCAS STE Transition

The grades 5 and 8 next-generation MCAS STE tests, based on the 2016 STE standards Download PDF Document, were first administered in spring 2019. New achievement levels for these tests were set in August 2019. The tests have new designs and include assessing both the content and science and technology/engineering practices in the standards. Practice tests and released items are also available for these tests.

High School MCAS STE Transition

In June 2020, ninth grade students (class of 2023) enrolled in a biology or an introductory physics class will be administered a next-generation, computer-based (CBT) MCAS test, which will be aligned to the 2016 STE standards Download PDF Document. New achievement levels for these tests will be set in August 2020. The tests have new designs and include assessing both the content and science practices in the standards. Revised practice tests are also available.

The Department will also offer legacy, paper-based tests in Biology, Introductory Physics, Chemistry, and Technology/Engineering. Eligibility for these tests varies based on graduation year and course enrollment. Testing information about the June 2020 STE tests is provided in the table below.

June 2020 STE Test Information

STE TestEligibilityAdministration ModeStandards Assessed
Next-Generation Biology and Introductory Physics
  • grade 9 students who are enrolled in a biology or introductory physics course
computer-based (paper-based accommodation available) Download PDF Document 2016 STE Framework
Legacy Chemistry and Technology/Engineering
  • grade 9 students who are enrolled in a chemistry or technology/engineering course
  • grades 10-12 students and adult learners who have not yet earned a scaled score of at least 220 on an STE test
  • grade 11 or 12 students who want to attempt to qualify for the Koplik Certificate of Mastery with Distinction Award
paper-based 2006 STE Framework
Legacy Biology and Introductory Physics
  • grades 10-12 students and adult learners who have not yet earned a scaled score of at least 220 on an STE test
  • grade 11 or 12 students who want to attempt to qualify for the Koplik Certificate of Mastery with Distinction Award
paper-based "overlapping" standards from both the 2006 and 2016 STE frameworks

Overlapping Standards for Legacy Tests

The overlapping standards for the Legacy Biology and Introductory Physics tests are below.

Download Word Document
February and June 2020 High School Biology Legacy Test Overlapping Standards
Download Word Document
June 2020 High School Introductory Physics Legacy Test Overlapping Standards

Introductory Physics Reference Sheet

The next-generation Introductory Physics Reference Sheet Download PDF Document will be used with all Introductory Physics MCAS tests (both legacy and next-generation).

Additional Information

View additional information about the transition to the high school STE tests.

The Department continues to recommend phasing out the Chemistry and Technology/Engineering tests due to low enrollment numbers, however they will be offered to all students in 2020. More information about the timing of the phasing out of these tests will be available at a later date.



Last Updated: October 8, 2019
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