Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Student Assessment Update: November 21, 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

Updated 2017-2018 Statewide Testing Schedule

The Department has updated the statewide testing schedule, creating one combined document for grades 3-8 and high schools. The document contains test administration deadlines and recommended session lengths, including updated information for grades 3-8. We encourage you to share the schedule with your test administration teams for planning purposes.

Notice for Current Grade 9 Students Who Did Not Take Grade 8 MCAS in Spring 2017

The Department would like to remind schools that current grade 9 students and their parents/guardians should have received the letter to the Class of 2021 when they received their grade 8 MCAS scores. The letter presents important information about the graduation requirements for students in that class. Schools should provide a copy of the letter to parents/guardians of any grade 9 student who did not take the grade 8 MCAS in spring 2017. Translated versions of the letter are also available.

High School Biology and Introductory Physics Question Tryouts

As part of the STE transition plan, the Department is recruiting schools to participate in a short test administration to try out new computer-based test questions. The tryout is open to students in grade 9 or 10 who are taking a biology or introductory physics course. Results will only be used to evaluate the questions administered, and will not be used to generate student, school, or district results. The tryout administration window will be May 29-June 15, 2018, with the exception of June 6 and 7, which are the prescribed test dates for operational high school STE testing. We expect the tryout session to take approximately 45 minutes. A survey to collect responses from interested schools on the number of students participating in each question tryout (biology and introductory physics) will be available until November 30. High school principals received instructions for completing the survey in a separate email. Refer to these FAQs Download Word Document for more information on the question tryouts.

Next Steps for the High School Field Tests in ELA and Mathematics

High school principals will receive a memorandum in early December informing them whether their school was selected for the grade 10 MCAS ELA or mathematics field test, scheduled for spring 2018. The memorandum will include guidance on the process schools should use for selecting student participants. (Schools are expected to have at least 25 percent of grade 10 students participate, but may choose to include additional students.) Superintendents and directors will also receive a memorandum informing them of their schools' selection. Please note that all organizations, including collaboratives and outplacements, are expected to participate in these next-generation computer-based field tests. If all the grade 10 students at a collaborative or outplacement would require an accommodation for paper-based testing and the school will therefore not be able to participate in the field test as required, the director should email the Department at

MCAS-Alt Portfolios-in-Progress

Portfolio review sessions for MCAS-Alt will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. on the dates shown below. Educators can bring their students' portfolios and their questions to a review 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. An informational flyer will be faxed to schools, districts, and educational collaboratives on November 27. Portfolios-in-Progress dates and locations:
January 8, 2018
January 9, 2018
Best Western
January 17, 2018
Holiday Inn
January 18, 2018
The Introduction to MCAS-Alt training session will be presented in one location only on Wednesday, January 10, 2018, at the Best Western Hotel in Marlborough for educators who were unable to attend an Introduction to MCAS-Alt training session last September or October and who will be conducting the MCAS-Alt for the first time.

Important Dates

  • November 21: Deadline for UPS pickup for November retest
  • December 4-15: Complete the SR/PNP process to order materials for February biology


View External Link
Accessibility Features and Accommodations Training Module
View HTML Page
Parent/Guardian Resources for Understanding MCAS Grades 3-8 Results

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: November 22, 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


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.