Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Opportunity to Recommend Changes to a Department-Approved ELA Graphic Organizer or Supplemental Mathematics Reference Sheet

The Department seeks proposals from school and district staff who administered the 2017 Spring grades 3-8 MCAS tests to add or change information listed on a current version of a pre-approved ELA graphic organizer or supplemental mathematics reference sheet posted to the Department's website. These will be amended to reflect the proposals that were approved in time for use during the 2017-2018 school year and on the Spring 2018 MCAS tests. Graphic organizers and supplemental reference sheets are intended to reduce disability-related barriers to demonstrating the knowledge and skills required on the grades 3-8 MCAS tests, and may be used only by students with disabilities who have this listed as an accommodation (A9) in an IEP or 504 plan.


Pre-approved organizers and reference sheets were developed based on guidance from the MCAS Accessibility Workgroup, test development specialists, and a compilation of individualized graphic organizers and reference sheets that had been previously submitted for approval to the Department. Organizers and reference sheets submitted to the Department for approval prior to spring 2017 may no longer be used as valid test accommodations for grades 3-8 next-generation MCAS testing. Only the pre-approved versions currently posted to the Department's website are allowed. (Note: standard mathematics and STE reference sheets should be provided to all students).

Proposing Additions or Changes

In order to submit a recommendation, please complete the following Proposed Changes to Department-approved ELA Graphic Organizer or Supplemental Mathematics Reference Sheet Download MS WORD Document and follow the guidelines below. Proposed additions and/or changes must be submitted by June 30, 2017 to:
Student Assessment Services
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148
(Attention: Accommodations)
Please note that the following information may not be included as part of a pre-approved graphic organizer or reference sheet: ELA graphic organizers may not include:
  • word banks
  • sentence starters
  • definitions of words or literary terms
  • specific examples (e.g., of adjectives or synonyms)
  • guiding questions (e.g., "Who are the main characters?")
Math reference sheets may not include:
  • arithmetic tables (Note: this is a "special access" accommodation for a calculation device)
  • step-by-step instructions illustrating how to solve a specific type of problem
  • definitions or graphics that illustrate a mathematical term or concept (e.g., a drawing showing the hypotenuse of a triangle).
  • specific examples of problems

Last Updated: May 8, 2017

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

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