Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Student Assessment Update: October 16, 2018

Contact Information

MCAS Service CenterEmail: mcas@measuredprogress.orgPhone: 800-737-5103
for logistical and technology support, including questions about PearsonAccess Next and TestNav
Student Assessment ServicesEmail: mcas@doe.mass.eduPhone: 781-338-3625
for policy questions, including student participation

Latest Updates from Student Assessment Services

For All Schools

  1. Resources on Understanding MCAS Results
    The MCAS Parent/Guardian Report templates are now available. The templates are available in English and in the ten languages most frequently spoken by the families of students in Massachusetts public schools. If your school educates children whose families do not speak one of these languages, we suggest using a web-based translator.

    We encourage sharing the spring 2018 MCAS scoring guides and sample student work with educators as well as interested parents. For ELA, the student work samples for constructed-response questions, essays, and grade 10 compositions include annotations that explain the rationale for the assigned score.

  2. Order ACCESS for ELLs Materials: October 22–November 9
    ACCESS for ELLs test coordinators should order test materials between October 22 and November 9, using the WIDA Assessment Management System (AMS).

    The ACCESS for ELLs testing contractor, Data Recognition Corporation (DRC), sent emails to ACCESS test coordinators on October 15 with instructions for ordering test materials. Note that new test coordinators must complete the Test Materials Ordering training module prior to ordering test materials.

    If your ACCESS test coordinator did not receive the email from DRC or has questions about ordering materials, contact the DRC help desk at 855-787-9615 or

  3. Reminders from the Previous Update
    • MCAS BYOD Participation: Notify DESE by October 26
      Schools with a "bring your own device" (BYOD) program that would like to follow this practice for MCAS testing need to email by October 26. More information on BYOD was provided in the previous update Download Word Document.

    • Training Session on October 26 for Schools New to Computer-Based Testing
      Department staff will lead a training session on October 26 for individuals who are new to MCAS computer-based testing to provide an overview of pre-administration tasks. Registration is open.

For High Schools

  1. John and Abigail Adams Scholarship Letters for Distribution
    High schools are responsible for distributing letters to students in the class of 2019 who have qualified to receive the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship. The Department is providing the letters to each school according to the dates below:
    • October 9: PDFs of the letters were posted in the MCAS Service Center.
    • October 26: Printed letters will be delivered to schools.

    The letter is important because students must provide a copy of it along with their completed FAFSA application each year. Without this letter, the college/university will not apply the tuition credit.

    Schools will need to do the following:
    • Make copies of the letters for students' files for future reference.
    • (Recommended) Designate an individual in the school to be the point of contact for the letters.
    • Inform students of the name of the person at the school whom they can contact if they have any questions about the scholarship or the letter.

  2. New Process for Alternate Setting Requests
    We are pleased to provide a new streamlined process for schools requesting an alternate setting for students who are unable to attend school but would like to participate in testing. To request an alternate setting for the November retests, schools should submit this online form by November 1.

  3. Participation Guidelines for the November Retests
    Below are the participation guidelines for the November 2018 retests. In addition, note that students cannot participate in retests to attempt to qualify for the Adams Scholarship or the Koplik Award, because only scores on the standard spring tests for ELA and Mathematics are used to establish eligibility for these awards.

    Eligible to participate:
    • repeating grade 10 students (class of 2021) who meet both of the following requirements:
      • were previously counted1 in a school's state and federal Accountability Participation results for either grade 10 ELA or Mathematics
      • have not yet earned a scaled score of at least 220 on that subject area test
    • students in grade 11 or 12 (class of 2020 or 2019) who have not yet earned a scaled score of at least 220 on that subject area test2
    • adults who have exited high school and are attempting to meet the MCAS testing portion of the CD requirement for that subject area

    Not eligible to participate:
    • grade 9 students (class of 2022)
    • first-time or repeating grade 10 students (class of 2021) who were never counted in a school's state and federal Accountability Participation results for either grade 10 ELA or Mathematics
    • students in grade 11 or 12 (class of 2020 or 2019) who have earned a scaled score of at least 220 on that subject area test

Other Important Dates

CategoryDate(s)ItemResources for More Information
TrainingOctober 22 and 23MCAS-Alt training sessionsRegistration
TrainingOct. 25, Nov. 5, 9Grade 10 MCAS informational meetingsRegistration
DeadlineOctober 26Notification that schools will do BYOD for spring 2019 MCAS dueDescription of BYOD Download Word Document
TrainingOctober 26Introduction to CBT training sessionRegistration
Nov. retest administrationNovember 1Schools receive November retest materialsTesting schedule
Nov. retest administrationNovember 1–6Schools complete the Nov. retest PCPA, report packing discrepancies, and order additional materialsTesting schedule


Resources Currently Available:

Resources Coming Soon:

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.



1 For the purpose of these guidelines, a student is defined as having counted in a school's Accountability Participation results if he or she was reported on a spring 2017 MCAS Student Roster (All Subjects) (report "PE617" in Edwin Analytics) for the grade 10 ELA or Mathematics test with any of the following Test Status Codes: T (Tested), NTA (Not Tested Absent), NTL (Not Tested First-Year Limited English Proficient), NTM (Not Tested Medically Documented Absent), or the performance level INV (test results were invalidated).

2 Students in grade 11 or 12 who were in grade 9 during the previous school year and did not participate in the spring 2018 grade 10 tests may participate in retests. However, for accountability purposes, they are also required to participate in the spring 2019 grade 10 tests.

Last Updated: October 16, 2018

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

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TTY: (800) 439-2370


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