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MCAS Performance Appeals

Guidelines for Filing Portfolio Appeals for the Competency Determination
(December 2015)

Submission Requirements for MCAS Portfolio Appeals

In a small number of cases, a student's comparison group, or "cohort," may be too small to make the reliable correlation between students' MCAS scores and grade point averages needed for a cohort appeal (i.e., if fewer than 6 other students have taken the same sequence of courses as the student for whom the appeal is filed). When this occurs, and when the student meets all other eligibility requirements to file an appeal, the superintendent or director of an educational collaborative or approved private school may submit a portfolio on behalf of the student that includes work samples that demonstrate the student's highest level of performance on the required standards in a content area.

Provided the student is eligible for an MCAS Performance Appeal and the district has submitted a completed MCAS Performance Appeal application, the student's portfolio appeal will be granted if the student fulfills the requirements outlined in the guidelines below and demonstrates in his or her portfolio a comparable level of performance to a student who has scored at least Needs Improvement on the high school MCAS test in the content area. Expert panelists in English language arts (ELA), mathematics, and the four disciplines of science and technology/engineering (STE) (biology, chemistry, introductory physics, and technology/engineering) will review and make a recommendation on each portfolio. Feedback will be provided to the district, once the portfolio has been reviewed, describing which sections of the portfolio are sufficient and in which sections more or different work is needed.

Each piece of student work in the portfolio must be attached to a completed High School Competency Portfolio Work Description (links provided below). Links to sample MCAS portfolio excerpts are provided below.

Portfolio Requirements in Each Content Area to Earn a Competency Determination

English Language Arts

ELA portfolios must include the following components at minimum, to be considered for a Competency Determination:

  • FIVE (5) essays, with all drafts and revisions, as described below.
  • Multiple drafts of each work sample that indicate a progression of the student's thinking in each successive draft. Each draft must:
    • be clearly identified on the first page with a title, the student's name, and the date on which it was completed;
    • include a completed ELA High School Competency Portfolio Work Description;
    • show independent edits by the student, with meaningful revisions incorporated into subsequent drafts; drafts must be written in the words of the student, not rewritten by the teacher;
    • include a clear indication of the type(s) and frequency of assistance provided to the student by the teacher, either written directly on each draft or described on the ELA High School Competency Portfolio Work Description.

Original student work, not photocopies, must be submitted. Do not include plot summaries, multiple-choice worksheets, short-answer tests, or quizzes.

An ELA portfolio may include evidence produced and accumulated over more than one school year, beginning as early as grade 9. Evidence may be added to a previously submitted portfolio, or replaced with higher-quality work, and the entire portfolio resubmitted until the student demonstrates a level of performance equivalent to that of a student who scored Needs Improvement on the grade 10 ELA MCAS test. If a portfolio is being resubmitted, please include all original work submissions and clearly indicate which work samples are new additions to the portfolio. Include Feedback Forms from previous submissions, as well.

Note: The Department's transition to the 2011 Curriculum Frameworks for English language arts and literacy will result in changes to the Competency Determination requirements in the future. In the meantime, the 2016 ELA competency portfolios will maintain the same content requirements as before, but reflect the cluster headings and terminology used in the 2011 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for ELA and Literacy.

In order for an English Language Arts portfolio appeal to be granted, it must include the following components, at minimum:

ELA high school portfolios must include the following:
Language

Evidence that the student understands and is independently able to analyze and appropriately apply

  • Conventions of Standard English grammar and usage, including punctuation, capitalization, and spelling
  • Knowledge of Language, including making effective choices for meaning or style, and appropriate application in different contexts
  • Vocabulary Acquisition and Use, including the use of grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words; and literal/figurative language

Evidence in the Language strand may be provided either in separate work samples or incorporated into the five required writing samples described below.

Reading

Three essays, including all drafts, based on grade 10 texts in which the student analyzes, interprets, compares and contrasts, and/or discusses the meaning of

  1. an informational text (including literary nonfiction),
  2. a work of fiction, and
  3. a work of either poetry or drama
Writing

Two essays, including all drafts, based on grade 10 texts that demonstrate original thinking and independent editing through several drafts, in which the student produces

  1. an analysis of a theme in literature appropriate to a student in grade 10
  2. either a narrative based on real or imagined events or experiences (creative); an argument to support a claim (persuasive); or an informational/expository text that conveys ideas and information on a topic of the student's own choosing


Mathematics

Mathematics portfolios must include the following, at minimum, to be considered for the Competency Determination:

  • at least four examples or problems in each work sample solved correctly by the student that demonstrate all aspects of each required learning standard (additional examples of each standard are strongly encouraged);
  • a completed Mathematics High School Competency Portfolio Work Description attached to each work sample;
  • a score (i.e., percent accurate) given by the teacher for each work sample, with incorrect answers clearly marked; work samples not scored by a teacher will not be reviewed;
  • work samples produced as independently as possible by the student (corrections made by the teacher may not be submitted as the student's own work);
  • written evidence of the student's thinking and problem-solving, indicating the process and all steps used to solve each problem; submission of multiple-choice, matching, and fill-in-the-blank worksheets is strongly discouraged.
  • a clear indication of the type(s) and frequency of assistance provided to the student by the teacher (i.e., percent independence and any accommodations used by the student) described on the Mathematics High School Competency Portfolio Work Description;
  • original student work, not photocopies.

A mathematics portfolio appeal may include evidence produced over a period of more than a single school year, beginning as early as grade 9. Evidence may be added each year to an existing portfolio, or replaced with higher-quality work, and the entire portfolio resubmitted annually until the student demonstrates a level of performance equivalent to that of a student who scored Needs Improvement on the grade 10 mathematics MCAS test. If a portfolio is being resubmitted, include all original work samples and clearly indicate which work samples are new additions to the portfolio. Include Feedback Forms from previous submissions as well.

Number Sense and Operations (2011 Conceptual Category: Number and Quantity)
At least four examples solved correctly by the student must be submitted that show each aspect of the 2000 standards identified below.

2011 Standards2000 StandardsCompetency Portfolio Requirements (from the 2000 Curriculum Frameworks)
7.NS.A.3
7.EE.B.3
8.EE.A.2
HSN-RN.A.2
10.N.1 Identify and use:
  • the properties of operations on real numbers, including the associative, commutative, and distributive properties [Note: Do not simply define these properties; show how they are applied and demonstrate that students can identify each property; e.g., use the distributive property to multiply 7(23)=7(20+3)=7(20)+7(3)=140+21=161];
  • the existence of the identity and inverse elements for addition and multiplication;
  • the existence of nth roots of positive real numbers for any positive integer n; and
  • the inverse relationship between taking the nth root of and the nth power of a positive real number.
6.EE.A.2
7.NS.A.3
8.EE.A.1
10.N.2 Simplify numerical expressions, including those involving:
  • positive integer exponents [e.g., 3(24 - 1) = 45], and
  • the absolute value [e.g., 4|3 - 5| + 6 = 14], and
  • apply such simplifications in the solution of problems.

Patterns, Relations, and Algebra (2011 Conceptual Categories: Algebra and Functions)
At least four examples solved correctly by the student must be submitted that show each aspect of the 2000 standards identified below.

2011 Standards2000 StandardsCompetency Portfolio Requirements (from the 2000 Curriculum Frameworks)
8.F.B.4
HSA-CED.A.2
HSF-IF.B.4
HSF-IF.C.8
10.P.2
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between various representations of a line.
  • Determine a line's slope and x- and y-intercepts from its graph or from a linear equation that represents the line.
  • Find a linear equation describing a line from a graph or a geometric description of the line (e.g., by using the "point-slope or "slope y-intercept" formulas).
  • Explain the significance of a positive, negative, zero, or undefined slope.
8.EE.A.1
HSA-APR.A.1
HSA-SSE.A.2
10.P.4 Demonstrate facility in symbolic manipulation of polynomial and rational expressions by
  • rearranging and collecting terms;
  • factoring [e.g., a2 - b2 = (a + b)(a - b); x2 + 10x + 21 = (x + 3)(x + 7); 5x4 + 10x3 - 5x2 = 5x2 (x2 + 2x - 1)];
  • identifying and canceling common factors in rational expressions; and
  • applying the properties of positive integer exponents.
    [This standard does not include simple addition, subtraction, and multiplication of polynomials, as covered in 10.P.3.]
HSA-REI.B.4 10.P.5 Find solutions to quadratic equations (with real roots) by:
  • factoring,
  • completing the square, or
  • using the quadratic formula.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the equivalence of the methods. [Note: In order to demonstrate an understanding of equivalence of the methods, at least two methods must be shown for the same equation.]
HSA-CED.A.1
HSA-CED.A.2
HSF-LE.A.1
HSF-LE.A.2
HSF-IF.B.4
10.P.7 Solve everyday problems that can be modeled using
  • linear,
  • reciprocal,
  • quadratic, or
  • exponential functions.
  • Apply appropriate tabular, graphical, or symbolic methods to the solution.
  • Include compound interest [i.e., exponential], and
  • direct [i.e., linear] and
  • inverse [i.e., reciprocal] variation problems. Use technology when appropriate.

Geometry (2011 Conceptual Category: Geometry)
At least four examples solved correctly by the student must be submitted that show each aspect of any three 2000 standards identified below.

2011 Standards2000 StandardsCompetency Portfolio Requirements (from the 2000 Curriculum Frameworks)
5.G.B.4
8.G.A.2
10.G.1
  • Identify figures using properties of sides,
  • angles, and
  • diagonals
  • Identify the figures’ type(s) of symmetry.
HSG-CO.D.12 10.G.2
  • Draw congruent and similar figures using a compass, straightedge, protractor, and other tools such as computer software.
  • Make conjectures about methods of construction.
  • Justify the conjectures by logical arguments.
8.G.A.5
HSG-C.A.2
10.G.3
  • Recognize and solve problems involving angles formed by transversals of coplanar lines.
  • Identify and determine the measure of central and inscribed angles, and
  • their associated minor and major arcs.
  • Recognize and solve problems associated with radii,
  • chords, and
  • arcs within or on the same circle.
HSG-SRT.A.2
HSG-SRT.B.5
10.G.4
  • Apply congruence and similarity correspondences (e.g., ΔABC Approximately Equal To Symbol ΔXYZ) and
  • properties of the figures to find missing parts of geometric figures, and
  • provide logical justification.
8.G.A.5
HSG-SRT.C.8
10.G.5
  • Solve simple triangle problems using the triangle angle sum property, and
  • the Pythagorean theorem. [Note: both must be shown.]
HSG-SRT.B.5
HSG-SRT.C.6
10.G.6 Use the properties of special triangles to solve problems; for example:
  • isosceles,
  • equilateral,
  • 30°-60°-90°
  • 45°-45°-90°
8.F.B.4
8.G.B.8
HSG-GPE.B.4
HSG-GPE.B.6
10.G.7 Using rectangular coordinates,
  • calculate midpoints of segments,
  • slopes of lines and segments, and
  • distances between two points, and
  • apply the results to the solutions of problems.
HSG-GPE.5 10.G.8 Find linear equations that represent lines that are either:
  • perpendicular or
  • parallel to a given line and through a point, e.g., by using the "point-slope" form of the equation.
HSG-CO.2
HSG-CO.3
HSG-CO.5
HSG-CO.6
HSG-SRT.1
10.G.9 Draw the results, and interpret transformations on figures in the coordinate plane, e.g.,
  • translations,
  • reflections,
  • rotations,
  • scale factors, and
  • the results of successive transformations.
  • Apply transformations to the solutions of problems.
7.G.3 10.G.10
  • Demonstrate the ability to visualize solid objects and
  • recognize their projections and
  • cross sections.

Measurement (2011 Conceptual Category: Geometry)
At least four examples solved correctly by the student must be submitted that show each aspect of the 2000 standards identified below.

2011 Standards2000 StandardsCompetency Portfolio Requirements (from the 2000 Curriculum Frameworks)
7.G.4
7.G.6
HSG-GPE.7
10.M.1 Calculate
  • perimeter,
  • circumference, and
  • area of common geometric figures such as parallelograms, trapezoids, circles, and triangles. [Note: Include a variety of figures.]
7.G.6
7.G.B.7
HSG-GMD.3
10.M.2 Given the formula, find the
  • lateral area,
  • surface area, and
  • volume of prisms, pyramids, spheres, cylinders, and cones,
  • find the volume of a sphere with a specified surface area.
    [Note: All of the above must be shown for all three-dimensional forms listed.]
7.G.4
7.G.6
7.G.B.7
HSG-GMD.3
10.M.3
  • Relate changes in the measurement of one attribute of an object to changes in other attributes, e.g., how changing radius or height of a cylinder affects its surface area or volume.

Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability (2011 Conceptual Category: Statistics and Probability)
At least four examples solved correctly by the student must be submitted that show each aspect of the 2000 standards identified below.

2011 Standards2000 StandardsCompetency Portfolio Requirements (from the 2000 Curriculum Frameworks)
6.SP.4.MA.4c
6.SP.5
HSS-ID.1
HSS-ID.2
HSS-ID.3
HSS-ID.5
HSS-ID.6
HSS-ID.7
10.D.1 Select, create, and interpret an appropriate graphical representation of a set of data, including:
  • scatter plot,
  • table,
  • stem-and-leaf plots,
  • box-and-whisker plot,
  • circle graph,
  • line graph,
  • line plot and
  • Use appropriate statistics (e.g., mean, median, range, mode) to communicate information about the data.
  • Use these notions to compare different sets of data.
HSS-ID.6 10.D.2
  • Approximate a line of best fit (i.e., draw a trend line) given a set of data (e.g., scatter plot).
  • Use technology when appropriate. [Note: One trend line is sufficient.]


High School Science and Technology/Engineering (STE)

STE portfolio appeals must be based on one discipline selected from the following list:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Introductory Physics
  • Technology/Engineering

The portfolio must include the following information and materials:

  • A Science and Technology/Engineering High School Competency Portfolio Work Description in one of the disciplines listed above attached to each work sample (or collection of related work samples) produced for the portfolio;
  • evidence that the student has addressed and demonstrated knowledge and skills in a total of at least ten (10) standards in the selected discipline at a level comparable to that of students who have scored at least Needs Improvement on either the standard MCAS test or MCAS-Alt in the discipline (each topic must be addressed by at least one work sample);
  • a score (i.e., percent accurate) given by the teacher for each work sample, with incorrect answers clearly marked; work samples not scored by a teacher will not be reviewed;
  • written evidence of the student's thinking and problem-solving indicating the process used to solve each problem;
  • a clear indication of the type(s) and frequency of assistance provided to the student by the teacher (i.e., percent independence and any accommodations used by the student) described on the High School Competency Portfolio Work Description;
  • original student work, not photocopies.

Submission of multiple-choice, matching, and fill-in-the-blank worksheets is strongly discouraged.

Topics in each STE discipline are listed in the following tables. In the discipline selected for the portfolio, all topics must be addressed, with at least one (1) standard addressed in each topic, and a total of ten (10) standards addressed in all.

BIOLOGY
Topics:
 
1.  The Chemistry of Life
2.  Cell Biology
3.  Genetics
4.  Anatomy and Physiology
5.  Evolution and Biodiversity
6.  Ecology
 
INTRODUCTORY PHYSICS
Topics:
 
1.  Motion and Forces
2.  Conservation of Energy and Momentum
3.  Heat and Heat Transfer
4.  Waves
5.  Electromagnetism
6.  Electromagnetic Radiation

CHEMISTRY
Topics:
 
1  .Properties of Matter
2.  Atomic Structure and Nuclear Chemistry
3.  Periodicity
4.  Chemical Bonding
5.  Chemical Reactions and Stoichiometry
6.  States of Matter, Kinetic Molecular Theory, and Thermochemistry
7.  Solutions, Rates of Reaction, and Equilibrium
8.  Acids and Bases and Oxidation-Reduction Reactions
 
TECHNOLOGY/ENGINEERING
Topics:
 
1.  Engineering Design
2.  Construction Technologies
3.  Energy and Power Technologies - Fluid Systems
4.  Energy and Power Technologies - Thermal Systems
5.  Energy and Power Technologies - Electrical Systems
6.  Communication Technologies
7.  Manufacturing Technologies

Work samples generated during one or more of the following activities must demonstrate the student's scientific knowledge, skills, and understanding in the selected discipline at the grade 9 or 10 level:

  • conducting investigations
    • For example, the student engages in exploratory activities in which he or she identifies a key question; designs a process for gathering information and investigating the question; and incorporates scientific knowledge to produce a response, inference, conclusion, or analysis of findings.

  • performing laboratory experiments
    • For example, the student develops a hypothesis, designs or identifies a procedure for testing the hypothesis, performs a controlled experiment or series of trials, collects data accurately, summarizes and analyzes the results, and draws conclusions.

  • conducting research
    • For example, the student undertakes an activity in which he or she locates and applies available scientific knowledge and/or data from texts, articles, research summaries, etc., in order to describe a process or aspect of the discipline; and provides a synthesis of the knowledge acquired, supportable conclusions, and an analysis of findings.

  • data analysis
    • For example, the student accurately collects data generated either by the student, class, or teacher, or compiled from external sources, and describes, synthesizes, and analyzes the data to articulate patterns, explain relationships between variables, and draw conclusions.

  • independent writing activity
    • For example, the student writes a persuasive essay or answers a series of guided open-response questions which provide an analysis of scientific materials or data in support of a particular conclusion or point of view.

  • developing a scientific model to represent a natural system
    • For example, the student relates and explains how components of a natural system work together, and creates a visual representation of that model.

  • solving a technology/engineering design problem by creating a model or prototype
    • For example, the student demonstrates technical knowledge and an understanding of the steps of the Engineering Design Process by describing a particular design challenge, analyzing relevant information, making predictions, and developing a prototype or model to test the predictions.

For further guidance in planning instructional activities, refer to the actual high school standards in the Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document.

High School Work Descriptions

Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD DocumentHigh School Work Description: English Language Arts
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD DocumentHigh School Work Description: Mathematics
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD DocumentHigh School Work Description: Biology
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD DocumentHigh School Work Description: Chemistry
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD DocumentHigh School Work Description: Introductory Physics
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD DocumentHigh School Work Description: Technology/Engineering

Excerpts from Sample MCAS Appeals Portfolios

Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Science and Technology/Engineering - Biology
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Science and Technology/Engineering - Introductory Physics
Download PDF Document
English Language Arts
Download PDF Document
Mathematics
Number Sense and Operations
Patterns, Relations, and Algebra
Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability
Measurement
Geometry

Sample Competency Determination Portfolio Feedback Forms

Download PDF Document  Download TXT Document
English Language Arts
Download PDF Document  Download TXT Document
Mathematics
Download PDF Document  Download TXT Document
Biology
Download PDF Document  Download TXT Document
Chemistry
Download PDF Document  Download TXT Document
Introductory Physics
Download PDF Document  Download TXT Document
Technology/Engineering


Last Updated: December 7, 2015
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