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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Student Assessment Update: October 11, 2016

Contact Information

Student Assessment Services
Phone: 781-338-3625

Latest Updates from Student Assessment Services

Reminder: MCAS Testing Mode Decision Needed by October 14

Superintendents received instructions for indicating district decisions on testing mode (computer-based or paper-based testing) for the spring 2017 MCAS tests in grades 3–8. The expectation is for schools to do computer-based testing for grades 4 and 8 ELA and Mathematics, and superintendents can indicate if the district's schools will meet this expectation or if a waiver request will be submitted. Decisions, along with any waiver requests for the grades 4 and 8 computer-based testing requirements, are due in full by noon on Friday, October 14.

To assist in decision-making, the Department held an information session on September 19 (slides and the recording can be requested by emailing Schools may also wish to view the testing schedule (updated September 1), which contains recommended testing times. Also note that the device calculator Download MS EXCEL Document can help schools in determining the number of computers needed for testing, and the Department is planning to update the tool soon so that schools can plan for the number of devices needed at a time based on how many classrooms will be testing at once.

PARCC Functions in School/District Profiles

The Department has removed the "PARCC Test Coordinators" and the "PARCC Fellows" functions from School/District Profiles, since PARCC is not being administered. Individuals who were listed as PARCC Test Coordinators have been given the MCAS Test Coordinator function in School/District Profiles. Districts can remove former PARCC Test Coordinators who should not be listed now as MCAS Test Coordinators by following the instructions in the "Subscriber Information" section at the bottom of this Update.

Preparing to Order ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Test Materials

The ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 ordering window will be open from Monday, October 24 through Thursday, November 10. During this time, ACCESS test coordinators must order test materials for their school and indicate whether they will administer the test in computer- or paper-based format. Data Recognition Corporation (DRC), the ACCESS for ELLs test contractor, will send login and password information to ACCESS Test Coordinators in mid-October.

ACCESS for ELLs Test Coordinator Training Conference Call

There are still seats available for the upcoming Department-sponsored virtual ACCESS for ELLs test coordinator training workshop to be held via conference call on Tuesday, October 18th from 9:00 a.m. – noon. Districts and schools may now register any additional applicable staff members.

During the conference call, Department staff will present important information about administering the computer- and paper-based ACCESS for ELLs assessment to students in grades K–12. Learn how to support the work of test administrators and technology coordinators as you prepare for the ACCESS test administration in January 2017.

Important Dates

  • October 14: Deadline for districts to submit decisions on testing mode for the spring 2017 MCAS tests in grades 3–8
  • October 14: Deadline for submitting computer-based testing (CBT) waiver requests
  • October 24–November 10: ACCESS for ELLs materials-ordering window

Additional Resources

View HTML Page
Transition Plan for MCAS Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) Tests
View HTML Page
Statewide Assessment Calendar with Test Administration Deadlines for the 2016-2017 School Year
View HTML Page
MCAS Device Calculator for Computer-Based Testing


Subscriber Information

Principals, MCAS test coordinators, special education directors, and ELL directors receive the Student Assessment Update based on contact information submitted to the Department. To change your email address or to add another staff member who serves in one of these roles, 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).

For others who wish to subscribe, email with the following information in the body of the email: "subscribe SASUpdate Your_Name" (Example: subscribe SASUpdate John_Smith). To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with the following information in the body: "unsubscribe SASUpdate."

We welcome your questions and feedback at Thank you.

Last Updated: October 13, 2016
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