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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Student Assessment Update: June 19, 2018, Special End-of-School Edition

The Office of Student Assessment Services would like to thank principals, test coordinators, test administrators, technology coordinators, and other staff for your cooperation and assistance in administering the computer-based MCAS tests in English language arts (ELA), mathematics, and Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) in grades 3–8, as well as those who administered the Grade 10 ELA and Math field tests and the high school STE question tryouts. This year, over 900,000 computer-based tests were administered in Massachusetts. We hope that you enjoy your summer!

Latest Updates from Student Assessment Services

Reminder: Computer-Based Testing in 2019

Schools are reminded that the transition to statewide computer-based testing continues next year as follows:

  • For next year's tests (spring 2019), the expectation is that all schools will administer the following tests using the computer-based format:
    • Grades 3–8 ELA and Mathematics
    • Grades 5 and 8 STE
    • Grade 10 ELA and Mathematics (spring administration)
  • High school STE tests and all high school retests will be given on paper in the 2018-2019 school year.
  • For all computer-based administrations, paper-based tests will always be available as an accommodation as required by a student's individualized education program (IEP) and as needed for the small number of students who do not have IEPs but who are unable to take a computer-based test for other reasons.
  • As in the 2017-2018 school year, districts will have an opportunity this fall to apply for a waiver from computer-based testing for one or more of their schools, provided the school is making a good-faith effort to comply and has a plan for being on track to administer computer-based tests in 2020.

Updates to Computer-Based Testing System Requirements for School Year 2018-2019

New for the 2018-2019 test administration, all schools will be required to download the TestNav application in order to test students. There will no longer be a Firefox ESR browser version available for use.

Pearson has announced that they will be ending support for TestNav on the following operating systems:

  • Chrome OS versions 57–66
  • iOS versions 10.2 and 10.2.1
  • macOS versions 10.9 and 10.10

Additionally, the following operating systems will no longer support the use of ProctorCache:

  • OS X 10.9, 10.10, 10.11
  • macOS Sierra 10.12

Schools using the iPad 4 should be aware that the 2019 administration will be the final administration supporting the use of these devices. All schools will want to verify that the devices in their inventory meet the minimum TestNav System Requirements and upgrade any operating systems that are out of date. As always, schools should refer to the system requirements page for the latest information on supported technology as new operating system versions are added throughout the year.

Planning for MCAS Activities This Summer and Next Year

Schools are encouraged to plan for MCAS activities that occur throughout the summer, including the reporting of results. The superintendents' checklist for 2018-2019 will be posted soon; while this contains deadlines that superintendents need to meet, school staff may also use it to view important MCAS dates.

MCAS test coordinators who are completing their role as coordinator at the end of this school year are encouraged to leave a file for the new test coordinator, including the following:

  • instructions on how to contact the district-level Directory Administrator, who can assign the test coordinator role in DESE's Directory Administration application (so that the individual will automatically receive MCAS emails), and can provide access to Edwin and the Security Portal
  • the school password for the MCAS Service Center website
  • a link to the MCAS Resource Center, where training materials and practice tests, among other materials, are posted


2018 Preliminary Assessment and Accountability Reporting Schedule
View External Link
Recording of MCAS Grades 3–8 2018 Early Data Release Pilot Session from June 5
View HTML Page
Acquiring Technology and Digital Literacy for Next-Generation Learning, Teaching, and Assessment

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, approved private special education schools, and alternative education programs: 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, and regarding 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: June 21, 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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