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

Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Student Assessment Update: March 22, 2016

Customer Service Contacts for Spring 2016 Test Administrations

Logistics and Administration Support
MCAS Service Center
Phone: 800-737-5103
PARCC Support Center
Phone: 888-493-9888

Policy Questions (MCAS and PARCC)
Student Assessment Services
Phone: 781-338-3625

Latest Updates from Student Assessment Services

Additional Customer Service Support

To ensure that our support centers provide excellent customer service, please inform us if you would like to share feedback or if there is a situation we should rectify.

For PARCC districts, in particular, please let us know if you have been waiting for a response for 48 hours or more. Be sure to provide us with your PARCC Customer Support ticket number to help us identify the issue. We also ask that schools conducting infrastructure trials send any feedback on the process to us at

ACCESS for ELLs Data Validation Window: March 30–April 8

In preparation for reporting ACCESS test results, test coordinators should plan to review and, if necessary, correct their school's online student demographic data to ensure that reports for students in the school contain accurate information. Data validation is required for schools that administered either paper- or computer-based ACCESS tests. Specific instructions will be shared with test coordinators and ELL Directors in an upcoming ELL Assessment Update and in a separate communication from Data Recognition Corporation (DRC), the ACCESS testing vendor.

MCAS-Alt Submission Reminder

The deadline for submitting MCAS-Alt portfolios and all unused three-ring binders is Friday, April 1. Please remember to schedule your school's pick-up and complete the MCAS-Alt Principal's Certification no later than March 31.

MCAS/EPP Test Information

In the 2015-2016 school year, districts may offer students with Educational Proficiency Plans the optional MCAS/EPP Mathematics test between April 25 and May 6.

Materials related to the Mathematics MCAS/EPP test will be posted in each high school's MCAS EPP DropBox in DropBox Central, accessible via MassEdu Gateway (formerly known as the Department's Security Portal). High school principals (or a designee) who need access to this information should be assigned to their school's MCAS EPP DropBox role by their district's Directory Administrator. To maintain security, the Department will post the Mathematics MCAS/EPP test-related documents to the DropBox rather than posting them on the Department's website. If you have questions about this, contact your Directory Administrator, email, or call 781-338-3010.

Prior to the MCAS/EPP testing window, the Test Administrator Manual, the Principal's Instructions, and Principal's Assurances form will be posted on the website and also in the MCAS EPP DropBox. Secure materials that will be posted only in the MCAS EPP DropBox include the test forms (available April 11–May 6) and the scoring-related information (available May 9–18).

For more information on EPPs, see the EPP main page.

Science and Technology/Engineering MCAS Testing for 2016 and Beyond

The Spring 2016 grade 5, grade 8, and high school Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) MCAS tests will be based solely on the 2001/2006 standards.

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved the new STE standards at their January 2016 meeting. The Department is currently working on a transition timeline for new assessments and plans to release additional information in the next couple of months.

After the adoption of standards, it typically takes a minimum of two to three years to transition to new assessments. The high school STE tests will most likely need additional time for this transition because of the current Competency Determination that is in place for the class of 2019.

Resources for PARCC Districts

In follow-up to the PARCC training sessions held at the end of February, we want to share resources provided by PARCC that should be used in preparation for testing, especially for new PARCC districts.

Policies and ProceduresSample Items, Tutorials, and Practice TestsTraining videos
  • Training modules for test coordinators, test administrators, technology coordinators, and coordinators for testing of students with disabilities using accommodations

Important Dates

  • 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 11: PARCC Additional Materials Order window opens
  • April 11: PARCC ProctorCaching available
  • April 11: PARCC initial materials orders due in districts
  • April 12: Deadline to notify the MCAS Service Center of any questions about the accuracy of student data for the February 2016 Biology test.
  • April 12: Interactive reports from the February 2016 Biology test administration are scheduled to be available in Edwin Analytics.
  • April 25–May 27: PARCC administration window for paper-based testing (PBT)
  • April 25–June 6: PARCC administration window for computer-based testing (PBT)

Additional Resources

View HTML Page
Spring 2016 MCAS Test Administrator Manuals
PARCC 2016 Training Session Materials


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 22, 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


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