Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Invitation to Apply for Next-Generation MCAS Standard Setting Panels

To:Principals, Charter School Leaders, Approved Private Special Education School Directors, and Interested Educators
From:Michol Stapel, Associate Commissioner for Student Assessment
Date:April 23, 2019

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is pleased to invite educators and other stakeholders to apply to participate in a standard setting meeting for the next-generation MCAS tests. The meeting will take place August 5–7, 2019.

The purpose of the standard setting is to identify and recommend achievement level cut scores for the next-generation MCAS tests. A cut score defines the minimum performance required for a particular level of achievement. The standard setting will be conducted by four panels of Massachusetts educators and other stakeholders, working under the direction of trained facilitators, in the following grades and subject areas:

  • Grade 10 English Language Arts (ELA)
  • Grade 10 Mathematics
  • Grade 5 Science and Technology/Engineering (STE)
  • Grade 8 STE

DESE will select up to 20 participants for each panel. Each panel will be divided into tables of 4 or 5 participants, one of which will serve as a table leader. The roles and responsibilities of participants are described below, and additional information is included about each panel.

We are looking for candidates with content expertise, familiarity with the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks, and teaching experience in the grade and content area indicated on the application. We strongly encourage educators with diverse backgrounds and who teach groups of diverse students to apply. In addition, we are recruiting educators from institutions of higher education who are familiar with the curriculum frameworks and the specified content area.

The deadline to submit an application is Monday, May 13, 2019. This is an excellent professional development opportunity for educators to help define the next-generation MCAS, and we hope that you will share this invitation widely with your teachers and school communities.

Roles and Responsibilities of Panelists and Table Leaders

All panelists and table leaders will meet August 5–6 to make recommendations regarding the level of knowledge that students are expected to demonstrate for each next-generation MCAS achievement level (Exceeding Expectations, Meeting Expectations, Partially Meeting Expectations, and Not Meeting Expectations). The panelists and table leaders will review test questions, student work, scoring guides, and other information and data to make their recommendations.

In addition, each table leader will be expected to facilitate discussions among the panelists at their table, assist in maintaining security measures, and perform other duties in support of the room facilitator.

For grades 5 and 8 STE, table leaders will also be expected to participate in a cross-panel discussion during the morning of August 7.

For grade 10, table leaders and up to six other selected panelists will participate in two activities on August 7: a cross-panel discussion and a validation session. During the validation session, participants will review scores on the 2019 tests that are associated with the cut scores on the legacy tests and, if needed, recommend changes.

Required Dates and Times

Below are the required dates and times of attendance for each content area, by role.

Grades 5 and 8 STE
Late July–early AugustMeeting pre-work, which includes reading and completing some online information and forms from a personal or work computer (approximately 1 hour)All panelists and table leaders
August 5–6,
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Standard settingAll panelists and table leaders
August 7,
8:00 a.m.–12:00 noon
Cross-panel discussionTable leaders only
Grade 10 ELA and Mathematics
Late July–early AugustMeeting pre-work, which includes reading and completing some online information and forms from a personal or work computer (approximately 1 hour). For ELA, we expect the pre-work to take an additional 1–2 hours, because participants will be asked to read the ELA passages prior to the meeting.All panelists and table leaders
August 5–6,
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Standard settingAll panelists and table leaders
August 7,
8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Cross-panel discussion and cut-score validationTable leaders and selected panelists only

Logistics, Reimbursement of Expenses, and Professional Development Points

Panelists will be reimbursed for mileage to and from the meeting, which will be held in Wakefield, MA. Overnight accommodations will be provided for participants who need them. Breakfast and lunch will be provided each day, and those staying overnight will be reimbursed for dinner.

In addition, a stipend will be offered to all panelists, and all will receive professional development points for their service on the panels.

Application Procedure

The deadline for receipt of applications is Monday, May 13, 2019. Follow these steps to complete the application:

  1. Send a statement of interest and a current résumé to When sending the email, include in the subject line your last name, first name, and your panel choice (for example: Smith, Bob, Grade 10 ELA).

    • The statement of interest should consist of a brief summary of why you wish to serve on a standard setting panel and how you may bring a diverse perspective; be sure to include your history of working with students from diverse backgrounds and other relevant experiences.

    • Your résumé should include the following:
      • your current position (including your roles and responsibilities)
      • any degrees you have earned in relevant subject areas and/or other content expertise training you may have received
      • your experience working with special populations, including English learners and students with disabilities.

  2. Complete the online application

Notifications will be sent via email by mid-June 2019. Upon selection, successful applicants will be sent additional information and be asked to confirm attendance.

If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Student Assessment Services.

Thank you.

Last Updated: April 23, 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


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.