Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Student Assessment Update: October 31, 2017

Contact Information

MCAS Service Center
Phone: 800-737-5103
for logistical support, including tech support for PearsonAccess Next and TestNav

Student Assessment Services
Phone: 781-338-3625
for policy questions, including student participation

Latest Updates from Student Assessment Services

Recording of October 16 Reporting Session for Grades 3-8 Results

Department staff led a WebEx session on Monday, October 16, to help school and district leaders understand the changes to the MCAS program and prepare for the official release of the MCAS results. The recording of the WebEx, along with slides and a Q&A transcript, is now available.

Ordering ACCESS for ELLs Test Materials

During the week of October 16, Data Recognition Corporation (DRC), the ACCESS for ELLs testing contractor, sent an email to school and district ACCESS test coordinators to remind them of the upcoming window for ordering materials between October 23 and November 10. ACCESS test coordinators with WIDA AMS accounts for the 2017-2018 administration should have received their login and password information for WIDA AMS.

MCAS November Retest Administration

High schools participating in the November retests should note that test administration manuals and other resources are now posted. In response to requests from principals and test coordinators, forms from the Principal's Administration Manual are now posted in Microsoft Word format. Experienced educators will note these updates in the Test Administrator's Manual:
  • new recommended scripts to be read to students prior to the transition to a test completion room, prior to a supervised lunch, and prior to visiting the restroom
  • new scripts to be read to students using the typed response accommodation
  • shorter scripts to be read to students during subsequent sessions after Session 1
Test materials are scheduled to be delivered to high schools on Wednesday, November 1. Contact the MCAS Service Center at 800-737-5103 with questions about logistics or the delivery of materials, and contact the Department's Office of Student Assessment Services at 781-338-3625 with any policy questions. Also contact the Department prior to test administration with any questions about the security requirements for the November retests. After test administration, the Department welcomes you to submit feedback on the new scripts in the manuals by emailing

Reminder about "Nonscorable" MCAS ELA Compositions

In preparation for the November ELA retest, we would like to remind high school principals that the grade 10/retest Composition requires students to respond to a writing prompt based on a work of literature they have read. A large percentage of students participating in the March 2017 retest did not address the prompt as required, earning 0 out of 20 points for the Composition portion. Most of the nonscorable compositions were summaries of a book that did not address the topic of the writing prompt. Therefore, we encourage that you and your English teams remind students of the importance of producing a composition that uses a work of literature to address the writing prompt. Educators may wish to view previously administered writing prompts, scoring guides, and sample student work at each score point.

Important Dates

  • November 1: High schools receive November retest materials
  • November 1-November 6: High schools complete the November retest Principal's Certification of Proper Test Administration (PCPA), report packing discrepancies, and order additional materials


View External Link
Accessibility Features and Accommodations Training Module
View HTML Page
Parent/Guardian Resources for Understanding MCAS Grades 3-8 Results
Download Word Document
Requirements for the Participation of Students with Disabilities and ELLs in the 2017-2018 MCAS High School Tests
Download Word Document
MCAS CBT Readiness Checklist for Technology Coordinators
Download Word Document
Student Technology Skills for Computer-Based Testing

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: submit the new email address to your District-Level Directory Administrator.
  • Educational collaboratives, approved private special education schools, 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." In addition, ESE sends occasional communications regarding state policies that affect educators, parents, and other community stakeholders, as well as opportunities for community members to participate in state initiatives. Please visit our newsletter sign-up page if you are interested in receiving other news and information from the Department. We welcome your questions and feedback at Thank you.

Last Updated: October 31, 2017

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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