Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System
Student Assessment Update: May 26, 2015
Changes to PARCC Testing Time for 2016
The Governing Board for PARCC voted Wednesday to have one testing window instead of two in 2015-16 and to reduce the overall testing time for most students by 90 minutes. These changes are responsive to the feedback from many educators in Massachusetts and other states, and help address concerns about students spending too much time on assessments. The changes should also make it easier for districts to schedule the test.
The Department has not finalized what the testing window for spring 2016 would be if PARCC is chosen, but staff members are working daily with PARCC to do so. We will notify districts as soon as possible in order to plan for PARCC's possible use as a statewide test next spring.
Statewide PARCC Public Forums
As you may already know, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is holding a series of public forums to provide an opportunity for educators and members of the public to comment on the PARCC tests in general, and the experiences of schools administering the tests this spring. In particular, the Board would like to hear from educators who administered the tests with accommodations and accessibility features to students with disabilities and can offer their perspectives on this aspect of PARCC test administration.
Collecting First-Year ELL Status for PARCC
For schools and districts with actively enrolled first-year English Language Learner (ELL) students as of March 2, 2015, the Department placed an updated First-Year ELL file in .csv format in school and district DropBoxes in the PARCC 2015 Data folder. Please use this file and guidance to review and update, as needed, students' first-year ELL status in SIMS for 2015 PARCC testing.
If you did not receive a First-Year ELL file in your school or district DropBox, no students were reported as first-year ELL in your school or district. You will need to use the guidance to update SIMS for any first-year ELL students who enroll after March 2, 2015.
Please contact the Department with questions by phone at 781-338-3625 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Completing PARCC End-of-Year for CBT and PBT
As a reminder, the testing window for schools doing PARCC paper-based testing (PBT) has been extended until May 29, and the window for schools doing computer-based testing (CBT) has been extended until June 5.
Other PARCC EOY reminders:
- Please make sure that you submit the Post-Test Certification Form through PearsonAccessNext within one week of completing the final test unit (CBT and PBT).
- Make sure to stop each test session at the conclusion of the scheduled testing window, even if some students have not completed testing (CBT only).
- Place additional materials orders through PearsonAccessNext for return materials (used test headers, Pearson labels, UPS labels, boxes, and paper bands) to ship back all scorable or nonscorable paper test booklets. Please allow at least five business days for delivery.
- June 5: Deadline for UPS pickup of PARCC EOY paper-based test materials
PARCC End-of-Year Student Surveys (CBT Only) and Test Administrator Surveys (CBT and PBT)
The computer-based EOY assessment is followed by an optional student survey, not an additional unit. Test administrator scripts provide a reminder for the survey. Please note that the 23 survey items appear in the student progress screen as unit 3.
- Students in grades 3-5 have one ELA/Literacy unit and a survey.
- Students in grades 6-11 have two ELA/Literacy units and a survey.
- All students will have two Mathematics units and a survey.
Student survey questions can be found on Avocet, for both ELA/L and Mathematics. There is no student survey for paper-based testing.
Test administrators for both CBT and PBT are asked to complete a survey at the conclusion of the EOY administration.
2015 MCAS Discrepancy Reporting
The Department's online discrepancy reporting period for MCAS data is August 7 through August 13. It is essential that principals and school leaders review their preliminary results during this period, or delegate this task to a designee, as discrepancies reported after 5:00 p.m. on August 13 will not be corrected in time for the official September release of results. The online MCAS discrepancy reporting tool will be available at the MCAS Service Center website. Detailed instructions for reporting MCAS data discrepancies will be posted at the MCAS Service Center website and in the MCAS 2015 Data Dropbox at the Department's Security Portal in early August.
Important Upcoming Dates
- June 2: High School STE, Session 1 for schools on the regular schedule
- June 3: High School STE, Session 2 for schools on the regular schedule
- June 9: Deadline for pickup of high school STE test materials for schools following the regular schedule
- June 8: High School STE, Session 1 for schools on the alternate schedule
- June 9: High School STE, Session 2 for schools on the alternate schedule
- June 15: Deadline for pickup of high school STE test materials for schools following the alternate schedule
- June 13: MCAS-Alt Portfolio Feedback Forms scheduled to be available in DropBox Central
- June 29: ELA Compositions posted on MCAS Service Center
- June 30: Preliminary ELA results and grades 3-8 Mathematics/STE multiple-choice results are scheduled to be posted to DropBox Central
- July 3: Interactive reports of preliminary ELA results and grades 3-8 Mathematics/STE multiple-choice results are scheduled to be available in Edwin Analytics
Principals, MCAS test coordinators, PARCC test coordinators, special education directors, and ELL directors receive this update based on contact information submitted to the Department. To change your email address or to add another staff member, please follow the instructions below:
- Public school districts, public schools, charter public schools, collaboratives, approved private special education schools: submit the new email address to your District-Level Directory Administrator.
- Test sites, adult education programs, out-of-state schools, SEIS-DYS programs: submit an email address (along with your District and School Code) to email@example.com.
In addition to this Update, PARCC districts may find the biweekly PARCC bulletins to be useful.
We welcome your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.