Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Student Assessment Update: December 5, 2016

Contact Information

Student Assessment Services
Phone: 781-338-3625

Latest Updates from Student Assessment Services

February Biology Test Materials Orders and Support for Schools

Beginning with the February Biology test administration, schools will be ordering test materials for each student via a Student Registration upload in PearsonAccess Next. The window will begin today, Monday, December 5, and more information was sent by fax and email to high school principals this past Friday. The Department hosted a conference call session for high schools this morning to provide an overview of the Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile (SR/PNP) process and answer questions. Slides from the session are attached. If you would like a recording of the session please call us at 781-338-3625. Other resources are described in the memorandum that was sent on Friday.

New User Accounts for High School Principals and Test Coordinators

The Department created initial Pearson Access Next (PAN) user accounts for high school principals and test coordinators for the February Biology test administration. New users recently received a system-generated email informing them that an account has been created with a link to create a new password and log on to PAN. Principals may also wish to give access to others who will be coordinating test administration activities (this is not a requirement for high schools). For more information, refer to the User Role Matrix for PearsonAccess Next and the Guide to Importing Users into PearsonAccess Next (for importing a file with multiple new users). These documents will be posted at (log in, and then click "Support" and then "Documentation").

Reminder: Information Sessions on New ELA and Mathematics Test Designs for Grades 3–8

The Department will hold two conference call sessions (on December 8 and 9) for elementary and middle schools to give information on the new test designs for ELA and Mathematics for grades 3–8, as well as new accessibility features and accommodations. Registrations may be submitted until December 7 (we are extending the registration deadline for these calls).

Spring 2017 MCAS Testing Mode Decisions

As you know, this fall superintendents were asked to indicate decisions for their districts for testing mode (computer-based or paper-based testing) for the spring 2017 MCAS ELA and Mathematics tests for grades 3–8. The Department has posted districts' decisions. Since principals may not be aware of the decisions that their superintendents made on their behalf, we are requesting that principals review the data for their school and make plans accordingly. Schools doing computer-based testing, which is expected for grades 4 and 8, should plan to participate in training sessions later this winter as part of their preparations (training sessions will be announced at a later date). After consulting with their superintendent, principals should contact the Department no later than December 9 with any questions or to inform us of any errors in the decision. Principals should submit corrections by completing the table below for their school and email the table to
District CodeSchool CodeDistrict NameSchool NameGr. 3 ELAGr. 3 MathGr. 4 ELAGr. 4 MathGr. 5 ELAGr. 5 MathGr. 6 ELAGr. 6 MathGr. 7 ELAGr. 7 MathGr. 8 ELAGr. 8 Math

MCAS-Alt Portfolios-in-Progress

Review sessions will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on the dates shown below. Educators can bring their students' portfolios and their questions to a session and receive feedback from MCAS-Alt training specialists. Teachers can also use this time to continue working on their students' portfolios. Registration is online. Schools, districts, and educational collaboratives were faxed registration information on November 29. Portfolios-in-Progress dates and locations:
January 10, 2017
January 11, 2017
Best Western
January 18, 2017
Holiday Inn
January 19, 2017
The Introduction to MCAS-Alt training session will be presented in one location only on Thursday, January 12, 2017 at Best Western in Marlborough for educators who were unable to attend an Introduction to MCAS-Alt training session last September or October and who are conducting the MCAS-Alt for the first time.

Resources for Science and Technology Engineering

A list of the 2001/06 grades 3–5 and grades 6–8 STE standards that will be assessed on the 2017 MCAS grades 5 and 8 STE test has been released. These lists will assist schools currently transitioning to the standards in the 2016 Massachusetts STE Framework. Schools and districts are at different points of transition, so providing this list identifies standards that may need to be included in instruction.

New Training Opportunities Web Page

The Department has a new training opportunities web page to provide information on training sessions for MCAS, MCAS Alternate Assessment, and ACCESS for ELLs. Information on currently available sessions is provided at the top of the page, followed by a section on sessions coming up later on. The bottom of the page provides information on sessions that were already delivered; feel free to email to request slides from these sessions. line

Subscriber Information

Principals, MCAS test coordinators, special education directors, and ELL directors automatically receive this 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: December 12, 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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