Student Assessment Update: February 22, 2016- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Student Assessment Update: February 22, 2016

Spring 2016 PARCC Next Steps

Superintendents, principals, and district/school test coordinators in PARCC districts will be receiving an email this week regarding the next steps to prepare for test administration, including cleaning up student data in preparation for ordering materials. Please contact with any questions.

Recording of MCAS Test Administration Training Session Now Available

The audio recording from one of the MCAS test administration training sessions from late January is available upon request (please email You and your MCAS test administration team may wish to listen to it while following along with the slides from the session.

MCAS-Alt Portfolios-in-Progress Training Sessions

Registration for the MCAS-Alt Portfolios-in-Progress training sessions is now available for teachers who are conducting the MCAS-Alt in your school. Please encourage teachers to attend one of the following sessions. All sessions are scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

Thursday February 25Friday February 26Wednesday March 9Thursday March 10
Taunton, Holiday InnMarlborough, Best WesternSpringfield, MarriottDanvers, Doubletree
Note: The Introduction to MCAS-Alt session will not be offered.

PARCC Training Sessions

Information regarding this week's PARCC training sessions was provided under separate cover to district administrators in PARCC districts. For a remote session, districts may invite several additional staff members—including school-level staff—to participate together in a room. As space is limited in the face-to-face sessions, only three individuals per district may attend. Please contact your district administrator for more information on registration.

Refusals to Take an Assessment

As the spring assessment administration nears, please keep in mind that participation in statewide assessments is required of all students enrolled in public schools in the relevant grade levels. The state assessments provide important feedback to families, teachers, administrators, and state policymakers as to where schools are succeeding and where schools and districts need to enhance their efforts. Further guidance on next steps for when a student does refuse to take an assessment can be found in the January 29, 2016 Commissioner's Update.

Views of Instruction, State Standards, Teaching and Assessment (VISTA) Survey

Later this month, the Department is launching a new annual survey titled "Views of Instruction, State Standards, Teaching and Assessment" (VISTA). This voluntary survey will help us learn more about educators' experiences with five statewide initiatives: the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks, educator growth and development, the role of educator evaluation in educator growth and development, and personalized learning tools and digital learning tools. All superintendents and principals in the state will be asked to complete their respective surveys. All teachers in districts who agree to participate in the VISTA survey project will also be invited to complete surveys designed for their role. Your feedback will be used to help the Department improve statewide implementation of these five initiatives; to inform its current and future policies, and to better target state resources and supports for districts, schools and teachers.

The VISTA survey window opens on February 22 and will remain open until March 18. To learn more about VISTA and how educator confidentiality will be guaranteed, please visit the Office of Planning and Research's website. If you have any specific questions, please email the Office of Planning and Research at using the subject heading VISTA.

Important Dates

  • February 25: November 2015 MCAS Retest Parent/Guardian reports scheduled to be received by districts.

Additional Resources

View HTML Page
Spring 2016 District Assessment Decisions as of February 18, 2016
View External Link
PARCC TestNav Expected Behaviors
View HTML Page
Spring 2016 MCAS Principal's Administration Manual
View External Link
2016 PARCC Unit Testing Times
View External Link
PARCC Technology Guidelines version 5.2
View External Link
Spring 2016 PARCC Resources on Avocet


Subscriber Information

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: go online to the EOE Information Technology web page (select "District/School Information Update" as the subject) to submit your update (be sure to include your District and School Code).

In addition to this update, PARCC districts may find the biweekly PARCC bulletins to be useful.

We welcome your feedback at

Last Updated: February 26, 2016

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.