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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Student Assessment Update: June 5, 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. Opportunities to Give Input on MCAS Test Administration
    To help the Department evaluate the testing experience and determine how it can be improved, the Department will provide voluntary surveys to principals, administrators, and other educators who were involved in test administration, and to high school students who participated in the grade 10 computer-based tests.

    The school survey is available online. Please share this link with your staff so that they may have the opportunity to share their input. All responses must be submitted by Friday, June 21.

    High school principals will receive links to the student surveys (one link for ELA, and one for Mathematics) via email later today. These surveys must also be submitted by Friday, June 21.

  2. MCAS Alternate Assessment Results and Score Appeals

    1. Preliminary 2019 MCAS-Alt Results Available on June 10
      Portfolio Feedback Forms (PFFs) containing preliminary MCAS-Alt results will be available in PDF format in each school's DropBox in the DESE Security Portal on June 10. The principal or test coordinator should download the PFFs and share them with each teacher in the school who compiled one or more MCAS-Alt portfolios. For assistance logging in to the Security Portal, contact the district (or organization) Directory Administrator.

      Student portfolios will be returned to schools in early September with a print copy of each PFF.

    2. MCAS-Alt Score Appeals Due June 21
      Once principals and educators review the preliminary MCAS-Alt results, if there is evidence that a portfolio was scored incorrectly, the principal or other designee may submit an MCAS-Alt score appeal. The deadline for score appeal submission is 5:00 p.m. on Friday, June 21. Score appeals will not be accepted after this date and no changes to an MCAS-Alt score can be made after the score appeal process.

      Schools must review the following materials before submitting an MCAS-Alt score appeal for a portfolio:

      • the PFF from the scored portfolio (available as described above);
      • the photocopy of the portfolio kept at the school; and
      • the frequently asked questions about MCAS-Alt score appeals.

      To submit an MCAS-Alt score appeal, log into the 2019 MCAS-Alt score appeal website and follow the instructions on the appeal application. Once the appeal is submitted, an email will be sent to the administrator confirming receipt.

      Note that additional portfolio evidence may not be submitted with the school's appeal. Notification of appeal results will be provided by mail in late July.

  3. Delay in Early Release Data File for Grades 3–8 MCAS Mathematics and Grades 5 and 8 STE
    The MCAS early release data file for grades 3–8 Mathematics and grades 5 and 8 STE, originally scheduled for delivery in PearsonAccess Next on June 6, will be delayed up to two business days. The testing contractor is working to provide the file as soon as it is available, which may be as early as Friday, June 7, and no later than the close of business on Monday, June 10. The 2019 MCAS Early Reporting Schedule Download Word Document is being updated with this information; please consult the schedule for details.

    Results for grade 10 ELA hand- and machine-scored items (including PBT) will be available June 7.

    Please share this updated schedule with your teams. We apologize for any inconvenience this delay may have caused.

    Instructions on accessing and viewing results previously provided for grade 10 are also applicable for grades 3–8. Schools may wish to view the recording of the training webinar from April 29 (scroll down to the last section on the page).

  4. Reminders from the Previous Update

    1. ACCESS for ELLs 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.

    2. Obligation to Send ACCESS for ELLs Reports to Parents
      Schools must send the ACCESS for ELLs Individual Score Report to each student's family, along with an appropriate translated report. Print copies of translated score reports containing actual student data can be generated in 47 languages in WIDA AMS, under Student Score Results > On Demand.

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

    3. 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. The online testing contractor, Pearson, plans to drop support for certain operating system (OS) and browser versions in 2019-20. In general, for the coming school year, Pearson will continue to support only those OS and browser versions that device manufacturers continue to support as of July 15. In particular, note that Pearson will no longer support Chrome OS 73 and below in 2019-20. Schools are encouraged to revisit their device purchase/lease strategies over the summer, following this guidance.

For High Schools

  1. Sample Reference Sheets for Students with Disabilities on the MCAS High School Operational STE Tests and the Biology and Introductory Physics Field Tests
    Students with disabilities who have the sample reference sheet accommodation should be familiar with the organization, abbreviations, diagrams and/or mnemonic devices prior to MCAS test administration. Additionally, schools are encouraged to use an approved customized reference sheet or a sample reference sheet throughout the school year. The sample STE reference sheets available on the Department's website may be used as is, or may be used with selected text and graphics removed; however, additional Department approval is required if any text or graphics are added, or if a different reference sheet is created.

    As a reminder, students without this accommodation will not have access to the reference sheets described above. All students will use reference sheets only as described in the Principal's Administration Manual Download PDF Document (see pages 25–28 for information about reference sheets for computer-based testing, and pages 82–83 for information for paper-based testing).

  2. Reminders from the Previous Update: Biology and Introductory Physics Field Tests

    1. Test Administrator's Manuals
      The Test Administrator's Manual for Computer-Based Tests 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 and provide the manuals to the test administrators for the field tests. In addition, the TAM script for the field test sessions 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.

Other Important Dates

High School Biology and Introductory Physics Field Tests Window:
May 28–June 14, except June 3, 4, 5

Recommended date: June 6
Biology and Introductory Physics field test session
June 17Deadline to
  • Update SR/PNP information, if necessary
  • Complete the PCPA
  • Mark students' tests complete, if necessary
Operational High School STE TestsJune 4Prescribed administration date for STE Session 1
June 5Prescribed administration date for STE Session 2
June 6–June 11Make-up testing
June 12
  • Deadline for updating SR/PNP information, if necessary
  • Deadline to complete the PCPA
June 13Prescheduled UPS pickup (and deadline)

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: June 7, 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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