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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Student Assessment Update: May 20, 2019

Contact Information

for logistical support, including tech support for PearsonAccess Next and TestNav

for policy questions, including student participation

Latest Updates from Student Assessment Services

For All Schools

  1. Update on the Early Release of ELA Results
    The reporting schedule for ELA results is being updated as follows:

    • Grades 3–8 ELA round 1 machine-scored items only will be available May 28 (originally scheduled for May 20)
    • Grade 10 ELA round 2 hand- and machine-scored items (including PBT) will be available June 5 (originally scheduled for May 29)

    We appreciate your sharing this schedule with your teams, and we apologize for any inconvenience this delay may cause.

  2. Release of ACCESS for ELLs Test Results

    1. Schedule for Release
      On or about May 28, schools should expect to receive a shipment of the following ACCESS for ELLs printed reports:

      • Individual Score Reports (ISR)
      • Student Roster Report
      • School Frequency Report

      Also on this date, districts will receive a printed District Frequency Report.

      ACCESS results will also be available electronically as follows:

      • Reports will be available in WIDA AMS on or about May 28.
      • Student data files (.CSV) will be available in DropBoxes (on the Department's Security Portal) on or about June 28 (without SGPA, Yes/No progress indicators, and attainment indicators) and July 31 (including SGPA, Yes/No progress indicators, student-level progress targets, and attainment indicators).

    2. Data Validation Deadline: June 5
      Test coordinators must verify and update student demographics in WIDA AMS for any student whose results are missing or whose demographic information is incorrect. The Department will not accept requests for data corrections; schools and/or districts must validate their own data by June 5. A separate email was sent by DRC with instructions for Post-Data Validation.

    3. Obligation to Send Reports to Parents
      Schools must send Individual Score Reports (ISR) to the student's family, along with an appropriate translated report. Print copies of translated score reports containing actual student data are available in 47 languages and can be generated in WIDA AMS, under Student Score Results > On Demand.

    Questions may be directed to or the Office of Student Assessment Services at 781-338-3625.

  3. Upcoming Deadlines to Complete the PCPA
    As you know, the purpose of the Principal's Certification of Proper Test Administration (PCPA) is for the principal to certify that all students participated in testing as required and that all test administration and security protocols were followed.

    New for spring 2019, the PCPA has been streamlined to reflect the shift to computer-based testing; schools did not have to complete a "before testing" section, and schools are completing fewer forms:

    • Grades 3–8 principals will complete one PCPA that covers all grades and subjects by Tuesday, May 28.
    • High school principals will complete a PCPA at the end of Mathematics testing by Friday, May 31, which will cover grade 10 ELA and Mathematics. (They will also complete one for operational STE, and one for the Biology and Introductory Physics field tests.)

    Instructions appear in the Principal's Administration Manual Download PDF Document (PAM) on page 63 in step 3. Schools that would like to view the certification statements prior to completing the form can find them online.

  4. Administration of the Student Questionnaire for Grades 4, 5, 8, and 10
    Some schools have requested to administer the student questionnaire prior to administering Session 2. However, since the questionnaire appears as Session 3 for students in grades 4, 5, 8, and 10 (after Mathematics Session 2 for grades 4 and 10, and after STE Session 2 for grades 5 and 8), it is logistically impractical to administer the questionnaire before Session 2. Also, since the questionnaire includes questions about school safety and bullying, there is concern about students answering these questions and then taking a test without an opportunity to discuss their feelings with educators.

    However, since students may progress through the test at different paces, schools may follow this sequence. Before administering Session 2, test administrators can introduce the topic of the questionnaire (e.g., tell students they will answer the questionnaire after they finish Session 2) and read the script for the questionnaire, answer questions that students have, and then read the script for Session 2. As students finish Session 2, the test administrators can lock that session and open Session 3 for students.

    As a reminder from the PAM, the questionnaire is only provided in a CBT edition (PBT editions and special editions were not produced).

  5. TestNav Requirements for 2020
    Schools are encouraged to share with their technology coordinators the changes to the system requirements to run TestNav that will go into effect for the next school year. In general, the online testing subcontractor, Pearson, will match their support for OS versions and devices to those that manufacturers support as of each July 15 for the next school year. In particular, since 70% of testing devices are Chromebooks, note that Pearson will no longer support Chrome OS 73 and below in 2020. Schools are encouraged to revisit their device purchase/lease strategies over the summer, following guidance from DESE's Office of Digital Learning.

  6. End-of-Administration Tasks
    This is to remind schools of tasks to complete at the end of test administration:

  7. Reminders from the Previous Update

    1. Clarification on Test Security Protocols
      This notice is to provide clarification about the steps that schools should take if a student reports a concern about an MCAS test question. If a student reports to a teacher or other educator that he or she has a concern with a test question (e.g., the student thinks there is a problem with the question, the student is uncomfortable with the content of the question for a non-academic reason), the school should call Student Assessment Services for consultation and guidance, as needed. Students and school staff should continue to refrain from discussing secure test content among other students or educators, except as needed to report the issue.

    2. Release of the 2019–2020 MCAS Testing Schedule
      Districts and schools should review the testing schedule and prescribed administration dates for the next school year and email the Office of Student Assessment Services with any concerns.

For High Schools

  1. Grade 10 Mathematics Reference Sheets for Paper-Based Testing
    Schools doing paper-based testing are reminded that shipments of new grade 10 Mathematics reference sheets were delivered on Friday, May 10.

    To ensure that your school is using the correct version for testing tomorrow, May 21, we ask that you please check your school's inventory against the grade 10 reference sheet online Download PDF Document, and if not already done, shred/recycle all of the reference sheets that were included in the initial shipment of materials delivered on May 7.

  2. Administration of the Biology and Introductory Physics Field Tests

    1. Test Administrator's Manuals
      The Test Administrator's Manual for Computer-Based Testing Download PDF Document (TAM) includes scripts for the Biology and Introductory Physics field tests. However, hard copies of the TAM are not being shipped for the field tests. High schools will need to save the TAMs after ELA and Mathematics testing to provide the manuals to the test administrators for the field tests. In addition, the TAM script for the field test session is available online Download PDF Document.

    2. Letters to Parents/Guardians
      As a reminder from the previous update, schools may want to send letters to parents/guardians to provide information about the upcoming field tests.

  3. Reminder from the Previous Update: MCAS Performance Appeals: May 31 Deadline
    The last opportunity to submit MCAS cohort appeals for this school year is Friday, May 31. Submissions will be reviewed in early June, and superintendents will receive notification by June 7. Questions may be directed to

Other Important Dates

February Biology and March RetestsMay 20February Biology and March retest Parent/Guardian Reports delivered to districts
Grades 3–8 Mathematics and STENow–May 24Mathematics test sessions
Now–May 24STE test sessions (grades 5 and 8)
May 28
  • Deadline for updating SR/PNP information, if necessary
  • Deadline to mark students' tests complete, if necessary
  • Deadline to complete the PCPA (combined)
  • Make-up testing for students with extraordinary circumstances (i.e., students not able to participate in regularly scheduled or make-up sessions)
May 29For PBT accommodations: prescheduled UPS pickup (and deadline)
MCAS/EPP Mathematics TestNow–May 24Securely transport materials to the superintendent's office for storage
Grade 10 MathematicsMay 20Deadline to precache operational test content
May 21Prescribed administration date for grade 10 Mathematics Sess. 1
May 22Prescribed administration date for grade 10 Mathematics Sess. 2
May 23Administration date (if needed) for grade 10 Mathematics Sess. 1*
May 24Administration date (if needed) for grade 10 Mathematics Sess. 2*
May 30Last date for regular make-up testing
May 31
  • Deadline for updating SR/PNP information, if necessary
  • Deadline to mark students' tests complete, if necessary
  • Deadline to complete the PCPA (grade 10 ELA and Mathematics)
June 3For PBT accommodations: prescheduled UPS pickup (and deadline)
May–June High School Biology and Introductory Physics Field TestsNow–May 24Precache field test content
June 6
(Recommended date)
Biology and Introductory Physics field test session
(Window: May 28–June 14, except June 3, 4, 5)
Operational High School STE TestsMay 21Receive test materials
May 21–31Schools report packing discrepancies, and order additional materials
June 4Prescribed administration date for STE Session 1
June 5Prescribed administration date for STE Session 2
*These administration dates are reserved for testing any remaining students who did not participate in the first set of dates due to technology/device limitations.

Additional Resources

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: May 22, 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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