Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Student Assessment Update: March 26, 2019

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. "Office Hours" Session #2 Recording Now Available
    The recording of the "office hours" session is now available. Topics included updating accommodations before testing, resuming tests, and tasks after testing.

  2. Enrollment Transfer
    Schools will use a new "enrollment transfer" feature in PearsonAccess Next. The March 12 "Office Hours" session provided information on using this feature. Additional guidance is now available.

  3. Draft MCAS Reporting Schedule: Need to Plan for Summer Dates
    We are most pleased that, new for 2019, the Department will return results from the spring MCAS tests to schools and districts before the end of the school year — and for grade 10 ELA, by the end of April. Reviewing results may assist schools with making decisions for instruction for the remainder of this year and the following year. Schools may also use results as an aid in planning student supports or developing suggestions for advanced work that students can complete over the summer.

    Please review the attached draft reporting schedule Download Word Document for the spring 2019 MCAS results. In particular, we ask that you and your teams plan ahead to examine preliminary results during the discrepancy reporting period between July 24 and August 6. Principals should plan for a staff member to review the results during this period. The discrepancy period is the only opportunity for reporting missing results, incorrect SASIDs, and any incorrect test status to the Department.

  4. Opportunities to Provide Feedback on MCAS Administration
    To help the Department better understand the online testing experience, DESE will provide voluntary questionnaires to grade 10 students and educators involved in test administration. While it is important for schools to email or call for support during test administration if pressing matters arise, we encourage school staff to take notes that may assist them in providing detailed input later on.

  5. 2019–2020 Testing Schedule Coming Soon
    The Department is in the final stages of confirming dates for the 2019-2020 testing schedule and expects to release the schedule in the next edition of the Student Assessment Update.

  6. Reminders from Previous Updates
    Please refer to our previous updates for information on topics such as:

For Grades 3–8

Reminder for Grades 3–8: Create PAN Sessions and Assign Students to Them
As a required step before testing, schools must create PAN Sessions and assign students to them (see step 4 on page 55 of the Principal's Administration Manual [PAM] Download PDF Document). After completing this step, schools may prepare their PAN Sessions up to two days prior to testing, following the instructions in step 5 on page 60 of the PAM. Additional steps that schools should take before testing are shown in the checklist on pages 48–49 of the PAM.

For High Schools

  1. Workaround Solution for iPad Issue for Grade 10 MCAS ELA Testing
    High schools received the attached memorandum Download Word Document today. Questions should be directed to the MCAS Service Center at 800-737-5103.

  2. Registration for Operational High School STE Tests: Due April 12
    High schools must complete the Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile (SR/PNP) process between April 1 and April 12 to order tests for the operational high school STE tests (paper-based only), which will be administered on June 4 and 5. (There is an additional window from April 22 to May 3 for completing the SR/PNP for the computer-based Biology and Introductory Physics field tests.)

    To provide assistance with completing the SR/PNP, the Department posted .CSV files for schools and districts in DESE's Security Portal in DropBox Central in the MCAS 2019 Data folder on March 22. Each file contains a list of students who are eligible to take the high school STE tests in grades 9, 10, 11, and 12 (i.e., the students listed are those who have not yet taken a high school STE test or who have not passed a test by 2018). Note that students who passed the February Biology test will be included in the file, but schools need not to remove them. The testing contractor will complete this step in PAN before shipping materials.

    As part of the registration process, schools will need to remove students who will not be testing from the file, add students to the file who will participate, and update accommodations as needed. Also, schools will need to fill in the column J in the SR/PNP file with the appropriate test code by selecting from among the following:

    • BIOSP = High School Biology
    • CHESP = High School Chemistry
    • PHYSP = High School Introductory Physics
    • TECSP = High School Technology/Engineering

    The data files in DropBox Central contain enrollment data that districts submitted by March 18, 2019 for districts that use the School Interoperability Framework (SIF) to submit their SIMS data as well as non-SIF districts. Districts will need to update the data files to be imported into PAN with any changes that occurred after this date.

    Superintendents must ensure that educational collaboratives and approved private special education schools order materials via the SR/PNP process for their students in out-of-district placements.

    A response is required from each high school by April 12.

    Adult/external diploma programs, test sites, DYS/SEIS, and other high schools with a special situation should contact the MCAS Service Center to place an order for the total number of materials instead of completing the SR/PNP process.

    The following resources are available for guidance in completing the SR/PNP:

    Questions about ordering test materials may be directed to the MCAS Service Center, and questions about policies or participation guidelines may be directed to the Office of Student Assessment Services (see contact information in the header of this update).

  3. February Biology Results Available Next Week
    On April 5, .CSV data files containing results from the February 2019 Biology test will be posted to DropBoxes. On April 12, interactive reports will be available in Edwin Analytics. Parent/Guardian Reports will be sent later this spring.

Other Important Dates

Grade 10 ELAMarch 26Prescribed administration date for grade 10 ELA Session 1
March 27Prescribed administration date for grade 10 ELA Session 2
March 28Administration date (if needed) for grade 10 ELA Session 1*
March 29Administration date (if needed) for grade 10 ELA Session 2*
April 4Last date for regular make-up testing
MCAS-AltMarch 28
  • Deadline to complete the Principal's Certification of Proper Administration (PCPA)
  • Deadline to schedule UPS pickup
March 29Deadline for UPS pickup of MCAS-Alt portfolios
Grades 3–8OngoingOperational test content is now available, but schools should not precache until two weeks prior to the start of their testing window.
Now–March 28
  • Order additional manuals and PBT materials for accommodations
  • Report packing discrepancies for PBT shipments, if necessary
*These administration dates are reserved for testing any remaining students who did not participate in the first set of dates because of technology/device limitations.

Additional Resources

Download Word Document
Frequently Asked Questions: Spring 2019 MCAS
View External Link
Resolving Incorrect Accommodations During Testing module
View External Link
Guidance on Resume and Resume Upload
View External Link
Guidance on marking tests "complete" in PAN
View External Link
Guidance on removing students from a PAN Session
View HTML Page
Next-Generation Grade 10 MCAS Tests: Information for Students and Families
Download Excel Document
Device planner
View HTML Page
Swampscott's materials from MCAS training sessions
Download PowerPoint File
NAEP Parent Tool Kit: Information for Parents
View HTML Page
Instructional guidelines for STE

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 29, 2019

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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