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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Student Assessment Update: March 8, 2016

2016-17 Assessment Schedule

The Department has received feedback from educators involved in the MCAS 2.0 Test Administration Workgroup on the 2016–2017 testing window as well as from other educators who had expressed interest in test administration matters. This input was important in shaping plans for next year's test administration windows.

Grades 3–8
Based on feedback from educators that a later testing window during which all subject areas are tested would be less disruptive to instructional time, our expectation is to begin testing toward the end of April (for those districts that still have an April vacation, testing will begin sometime during the week after school vacation). The window will extend through most of the month of May.

Since the implementation of "MCAS 2.0" for grades 3–8 in spring 2017 will include a new test design as well as some computer-based testing, we are planning a longer test administration window to accommodate those schools doing computer-based testing (schools doing paper-based testing may have a shorter testing window).

Districts and schools should align calendars accordingly. Specific dates, as well as any differences in testing windows for paper-based and computer-based testing, will be announced later.

High School
To maintain stability in scheduling, the Department plans to keep the high school testing schedule as similar as possible to 2015–2016. The grade 10 ELA tests will continue to be administered in an earlier window. We anticipate posting the schedule in the next few weeks.

Updating Student Data for Spring 2016 PARCC

School and district staff are responsible for updating the data in PearsonAccess next (PAN) for students in grades 3–8 participating in the spring 2016 PARCC assessments. The Department has pre-loaded data for students enrolled in grades 3–8, as of October 1, 2015. An email was sent to superintendents and test coordinators on February 23, providing instructions for updating the Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile (SR/PNP) in PAN. The following tips and reminders are meant to supplement those instructions.

Adding new students: When adding students who enrolled after October 1, please use the file import procedure, rather than the PAN interface, to add data for students who were previously enrolled in another PARCC district. The PAN interface prevents duplicate student records from being created and will not allow you to add a student who has an SR/PNP associated with another district.

Removing students: Students who transfer out of your school or district must be unregistered from all tests in PAN in order to avoid generating an order. However, it is not required to delete the student record entirely. The Department will identify transfer students using June SIMS, so these students will not be reported as absent if you leave them in the system. Guidance on deleting a student, as well as unregistering, can be found in the Delete Student Records guidance through the PAN User Guide.

Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile: Please note that the Department is collecting information on only a small number of the PARCC accommodations and accessibility features that are available to students. Accordingly, we pre-populated only data that we are collecting, as noted in the Spring 2016 PARCC Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile Update Instructions.

Reminder — Test Security Requirements and Test Administration Protocols

As you know, Commissioner Chester has requested that superintendents conduct a formal review with their principals to discuss plans for maintaining test security, prior to the start of the MCAS test administration. This important review will serve to ensure that your superintendent is comfortable with the procedures at your school. Your superintendent may choose to use the sample form Download MS WORD Document to document your school's MCAS preparations. Protocols for PARCC test security are contained in the PARCC Test Coordinator Manual.

To partner with you in ensuring that security requirements are being followed, Department staff and consultants will visit a small sample of schools statewide during testing as they have in the past. Principals should be prepared to meet these individuals upon their arrival at the school and be available to answer questions. Visitors will bring a Department ID or a letter written on Department letterhead stating the purpose of their visit.

Please contact the Student Assessment Services Unit at 781-338-3625 with any questions. Thank you for your continued leadership and support.

Recordings of PARCC Webinars Now Available

The recording of one of the PARCC training webinar sessions from late February is available upon request (please email and your PARCC test administration team may also wish to view the slides or print a copy of them.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners (ELLs)

The MCAS accommodations policies described in the Requirements for Participation for Students with Disabilities in MCAS (2015-2016 Update) will remain in effect for spring 2016 MCAS testing.

  • Students with disabilities and ELL students may receive extended time—up to an entire school day—to complete Session 2B (which is timed). Those students requiring extended time will be exempt from the "concurrent testing" policy if a school chooses to administer both Sessions 2A and 2B on the same day for grades 3–8. To the extent possible, extended time should be listed in these students' IEPs or 504 plans, and may be added either through the amendment process or during routinely scheduled team meetings (note, however, that extended time is not a numbered accommodation).

  • Students with disabilities in grades 3–8 with accommodation 26 (test administrator reads aloud the ELA test) listed in their IEPs or 504 plans will be able to use this accommodation during the entire English Language Arts test, including Session 2B.

  • Students with disabilities in grades 3–8 with accommodation 29 (scribing the ELA writing section/composition) listed in their IEPs or 504 plans will be able to use this accommodation during English Language Arts Session 2B, and students with accommodation 19 (scribing other portions of the ELA test) will be able to use this accommodation during Session 1 and Session 2A. Students with disabilities in grades 3–8 with accommodation 29 should also have extended time to complete their work beyond the time limit.

Important Dates

  • March 7–March 11: High schools enroll for June 2016 MCAS STE tests
  • March 11: Deadline for UPS pickup of March 2016 MCAS retest materials
  • March 11: Deadline to make changes to SR/PNP for the initial shipment of PARCC paper test materials
  • March 22–April 5: March–April 2016 MCAS English Language Arts tests (grade 10)
  • March 28–April 12: March–April 2016 MCAS English Language Arts tests (grades 3–8)
  • April 5: Results of the 2016 February Biology test administration are scheduled to be available electronically in DropBox Central.
  • April 12: Deadline to notify the MCAS Service Center of any questions about the accuracy of student data for 2016 February Biology.
  • April 12: Interactive reports from the 2016 February Biology test administration are scheduled to be available in Edwin Analytics.
  • April 25–May 27: 2016 PARCC administration window for paper-based testing
  • April 25–June 6: 2016 PARCC administration window for computer-based testing

Additional Resources

View HTML Page
Spring 2016 MCAS Test Administrator Manuals
View HTML Page
Spring 2016 District Assessment Decisions as of February 18, 2016


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).

We welcome your feedback at

Last Updated: March 15, 2016
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