Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Student Assessment Update: March 14, 2018

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

MCAS Portfolio Appeal Submission Reminder

The deadline for submitting MCAS portfolio appeals is Thursday, March 29. Please remember to mail the portfolio submission to the Department along with the completed MCAS Appeals Application. For questions about the MCAS appeals process, please contact or call 781-338-3333.

MCAS-Alt Submission Reminder

The deadline for submitting MCAS-Alt portfolios, together with completed Student Identification Booklets (SIBs), is Thursday, March 29. Please remember to schedule your school's pick-up and complete the MCAS-Alt Principal's Certification no later than 3:00 p.m. on March 28. Please also include all unused three-ring binders in your school's shipment. A photocopy of the portfolio must be kept at the school in order to be eligible to submit an MCAS score appeal in late June, if needed. See the Principal's Manual for 2018 MCAS-Alt Download Word Document for further details on submitting score appeals.

ACCESS for ELLs Demographic Data Validation Window

Between March 26 and April 4, data validation will be required for schools that administered either paper- or computer-based ACCESS tests. In preparation for reporting accurate 2018 ACCESS results, test coordinators will be asked to log on to the WIDA Assessment Management System to review and, if necessary, correct any discrepancies in their student data. Data corrections made after the April 4 deadline will only be available at the school's or district's expense. We will send out full instructions on March 16 in a separate EL Assessment Update.

Computer-Based Testing (CBT) Preparation—ProctorCache

While using ProctorCache is optional, the Department strongly recommends that all schools consider using it. For information on how to set up and use ProctorCache, refer to the following resources: Questions about ProctorCache should be directed to the MCAS Service Center at 800-737-5103 or via email at

Availability of TestNav

In order to maintain the security of the computer-based testing systems, TestNav will be available only during the test administration windows, and between 7:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m., Monday–Friday (expected school hours), with the exception of the week of April 16, since it is anticipated that schools will not be in session. If a school wishes to conduct testing outside of these hours, the principal must email to request an exception. Requests should be submitted at least two weeks prior to testing, if possible. The email should include the following information:
  • school and district name
  • school and district code
  • grade(s)
  • specific exception days/time
  • reason for request

MCAS Student Questionnaire

Answers to some frequently asked questions about the student questionnaires to be administered in grades 5, 8, and 10 are available at VOCAL Student Survey Project, 2018 — Frequently Asked Questions.

MCAS March Retests — Extended UPS Return Deadline

As a reminder, high schools should return MCAS March retest materials as soon as make-up testing has been completed, and by Friday, March 16. Any schools with extraordinary circumstances should contact the Office of Student Assessment Services as soon as possible.

MCAS Grade 10 SR/PNP Deadlines

Schools must complete the Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile (SR/PNP) process for the grade 10 MCAS field tests by March 23. Guidance on completing the SR/PNP can be found in Student Assessment Update: January 23, 2018. This is separate from the SR/PNP for the operational grade 10 tests (and also separate from the SR/PNP for the question tryouts, which will be done April 23–May 4). Also, schools have the opportunity to update the SR/PNP for grade 10 Mathematics with any updates that occurred after the grade 10 ELA SR/PNP was submitted. The deadline is March 23.

MCAS Grade 10 Field Test and High School Question Tryout Next Steps

Schools will be able to begin conducting an infrastructure trial for computer-based testing on March 26. The Department strongly recommends that all high schools run an infrastructure trial, which acts as a "dry run" for CBT by simulating network utilization and administration protocols. More information can be found in Student Assessment Update: February 27, 2018. Manuals for test administration will be available by March 26.

Resources and Support for Test Administration

In preparation for test administration, we ask that principals become familiar with where resources are located and how to reach out for support when needed.
Test administration manuals and resources for the spring test administrations are available (once on that page, select the relevant test administration). All of the manuals for spring 2018 are now available. Additional resources, including resources for preparing students, CBT training modules, recordings of training sessions, and CBT technology guides, are posted at the MCAS Resource Center, while frequently asked questions and answers about computer-based testing are available. While this document will be most helpful for grades 3–8, high schools may also want to use the document as a reference for the grade 10 field test administration. Topics for training test administrators are included in the Principal's Administration Manual (PAM) (Part III, section M in the grades 3–8 PAM, and Part III, section J in the high school PAM). In addition, principals/test coordinators doing CBT may want their test administrators to view some of the CBT training modules in the MCAS Resource Center and review the slides and recording from the March 1 "Office Hours" session on CBT topics available.
Phone and Email Support
If an answer to a question cannot be found in the resources above, school principals/test coordinators or their designees may reach out for support by email or phone. So that we can provide excellent customer service, we ask that questions be directed to the MCAS Service Center or the Department based on the nature of the question as described on page i of the PAM for grades 3–8. Schools should contact the MCAS Service Center with all questions on logistics, but we ask that you follow up with us here at the Department regarding the following two cases:
  1. if you would like to share feedback on your experience with the MCAS Service Center,
  2. if there is a situation we should rectify.
To help us identify the issue, please be prepared to provide the ticket number from the MCAS Service Center.

Important Dates

Upcoming Dates for Grades 3–8 MCAS Tests

  • March 19: Schools receive grades 3–8 MCAS test materials (CBT schools receive manuals only, and PBT schools receive manuals and PBT test materials)
  • March 19–29: Schools complete the Principal's Certification ("Materials Received" section), report packing discrepancies if necessary, and order additional materials if necessary for grades 3–8 MCAS tests
  • March 20: Operational test content available for precaching for grades 3–8 CBT MCAS Tests

Upcoming Dates for Grade 10/High School MCAS Tests

  • Now–March 23: Schools complete the Principal's Certification ("Before Testing" section), report packing discrepancies if necessary, and order additional materials if necessary for the grade 10 MCAS ELA test
  • Now–March 23: Schools must complete the SR/PNP update for grade 10 Mathematics
  • On or before March 26: Schools download manuals for the field test/question tryout administrations
  • March 26: Beginning of window for schools to conduct infrastructure trials
  • March 27: Grade 10 ELA Composition
  • March 28: Grade 10 ELA Reading Comprehension Sessions 1 and 2
  • March 29: Grade 10 ELA Reading Comprehension Session 3
  • March 27–April 3: Schools order additional grade 10 ELA make-up test materials if necessary
  • April 4: Results of the February Biology test available electronically in DropBox Central
  • April 11: Interactive reports of the February Biology test available in Edwin Analytics

Upcoming Dates for MCAS Alternate Assessment (MCAS-Alt)

  • Now–March 22: Schools complete the Principal's Certification ("Before Testing" section), report packing discrepancies if necessary, and order additional materials if necessary for the MCAS-Alt
  • March 28: Deadline to complete the Principal's Certification and schedule UPS pickup for MCAS-Alt
  • March 29: Deadline for UPS pickup for MCAS-Alt


View External Link
Infrastructure Trial Guide
View External Link
Guide to the Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile Process
View External Link
Guidelines for Using Assistive Technology

Subscriber Information

Principals, MCAS test coordinators, special education directors, and EL program 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, educational collaboratives, and 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." 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: March 15, 2018

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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