Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Student Assessment Update: December 21, 2016

Contact Information

Student Assessment Services
Phone: 781-338-3625

Latest Updates from Student Assessment Services

Passwords for MCAS Service Center Website

Experienced principals may remember that new passwords are sent at the beginning of each calendar year to access the MCAS Service Center website. However, we are asking high school principals to follow another protocol this year, since they will need to use two distinct passwords to access different parts of the MCAS Service Center website for a short period of time this winter. High school principals should retain their 2016 passwords for the MCAS Service Center website to access the following:
  • November retest composition images (scheduled to be available in January)
  • Adams Scholarship letters
New passwords for the MCAS Service Center website will be delivered by mail in early January 2017 to all schools, and copies will be sent to district superintendents. The new passwords will provide access to the following, for the spring 2017 grades 3–8 and high school administrations:.
  • Complete the PCPA.
  • Access the MCAS Alternate Assessment.
  • Order initial MCAS-Alt portfolio materials.
  • Complete the MCAS-Alt PCPA.
Questions about passwords may be directed to the MCAS Service Center at 800-737-5103. As a reminder, principals will use the PearsonAccess Next (PAN) website to complete test administration tasks such as registering students and updating students' personal needs profiles (SR/PNP process). Principals doing computer-based testing will also use the PAN website to manage test sessions and monitor computer-based testing activities.


ACCESS for ELLS test administration will take place in January and February of 2017. Please note the following important dates for preparing and administering the tests:
  • December 5–February 8: Online test setup (See the ELL Assessment Update: ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Online Test Setup to be posted shortly.)
  • January 3–February 1: Additional ordering window for test materials
  • January 5–February 8: Testing window
  • January 9–February 10: Completed test materials shipped to DRC
The Department's Massachusetts Supplement to the ACCESS for ELLs Test Administration Manual (January 2017) will also be available shortly on the Department's webpage. Please contact Student Assessment Services with any questions about ACCESS for ELLs testing at or by phone at 781-338-3625.

Information about Next-Generation MCAS Test Designs for ELA and Mathematics in Grades 3–8

Department staff led conference-call sessions on Thursday, December 8, and Friday, December 9, to provide information about the test designs for the next-generation MCAS ELA and Mathematics tests in grades 3?. Slides from the presentation, along with the audio recording, are available upon request by emailing

Seeking Public Feedback on Next-Generation MCAS Achievement Levels and Descriptors

This fall, the Department convened educators to form a 14-member standard-setting policy committee to recommend achievement-level names and descriptors for the next-generation MCAS tests. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will ultimately vote on new achievement levels, but prior to that, the Department is seeking public feedback on the committee's recommendations. To access additional information, including the proposed achievement levels and descriptors, as well as the survey link to provide feedback, please visit our website. The survey will remain open until January 27, 2017.

Important Dates

  • January 3: Rerun of Adams Scholarship letters delivered to districts via UPS
  • January 3: Schools receive ACCESS for ELLs test materials
  • January 3–February 1: Schools report packing discrepancies in ACCESS for ELLs test materials and order additional materials
  • January 5–February 8: ACCESS for ELLs testing window
  • January 9–20: Ordering window for MCAS-Alt materials on MCAS Service Center
  • January 11: MCAS November retest scores available in DropBox Central in ESE's Security Portal.
  • January 12: MCAS November retest ELA Composition images available electronically in the MCAS Service Center
  • January 12–26: Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile (SR/PNP) process for March retest and grade 10 ELA on PAN (SR/PNP updates for Mathematics will be done in March.)
  • January 23–February 10: SR/PNP process for spring grades 3–8 tests on PAN
  • February 24: MCAS November retest Parent/Guardian Reports delivered to districts via UPS

Additional Resources

View HTML Page
Mathematics Reference Sheets for Grades 5–8 and Grade 10
Technology Skills for Computer-Based Assessment
Download MS WORD Document
Keyboarding and Writing Skills Using Technology
View HTML Page
Updated Student Participation Resources

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 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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