Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Student Assessment Update: October 30, 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. Recommended Testing Times for Spring 2019 Download Word Document
    DESE staff recently concluded our analysis of testing time data from 2018, and we are now releasing the recommended testing times and guidance for spring 2019.

  2. Last Year's PearsonAccess Next (PAN) Passwords: Update in Mid-November
    School and district staff who had access to PAN during last school year will need to update passwords, because passwords expire 180 days (or most likely mid-November) after initial use. If a user's password does expire they will still be able to receive an email with a link to reset their password. More information about PAN accounts will be provided in early 2019.

  3. Reminder: ACCESS for ELLs: Order Materials by November 9
    Schools must order ACCESS for ELLs materials for the 2019 administration by following the instructions in the previous update. The deadline for ordering materials is November 9.

For High Schools: November Retest Resources and Next Steps

  1. Resources Now Posted
    High schools that will administer the November retests should note that test administration manuals and other resources are now available.

    Materials are scheduled to be delivered to high schools this Thursday, November 1. Contact the MCAS Service Center with questions about logistics or the delivery of materials, and contact the Department with questions about policies or security requirements (see contact information in the header).

  2. Reminder about Nonscorable Compositions for the ELA Retest
    In preparation for the upcoming November ELA retest, we would like to remind high schools 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 previous retest administration did not address the prompt and therefore earned 0 out of 20 points for the Composition portion. Most of the nonscorable retest compositions summarized a book but did not address the topic of the writing prompt.

    We encourage you and your English teams to remind students of the importance of writing a composition that uses a work of literature to address the retest writing prompt. Educators may wish to view previously administered writing prompts, scoring guides, and sample student work at each legacy composition score point.

  3. Reminder: Submit Alternate Setting Requests by November 1
    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.

Other Important Dates

CategoryDate(s)ItemResources for More Information
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
TrainingNovember 5Grade 10 MCAS informational meeting, remote sessionRegistration


Resources Currently Available:

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: November 1, 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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