Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Student Assessment Update: November 12, 2019

Contact Information

Phone: 800-737-5103
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. Recommended Testing Times for Spring 2020
    The Department has released updated recommended testing times for the spring 2020 MCAS tests, based on Department staff's analysis of 2019 testing time date.

    We are pleased to announce a reduction in expected ELA testing times based on the new test design. Schools should also note that the recommended testing times for STE in grades 5 and 8 are less than in 2019. This was based on the Department's analysis of the testing time students used.

  2. MCAS Training Sessions for 2020
    We are pleased to announce the schedule for MCAS test administration and technology training sessions for 2020. Descriptions of the sessions and the intended audience for each session are listed below and on the Student Assessment Training Opportunities web page. Registration will be available approximately one month before each session. All of the sessions will be recorded, and recordings will be available approximately one week after the session at the MCAS Resource Center.

    As in 2019, some of the training sessions will be differentiated by level of experience with computer-based testing. Sessions for returning staff will be held prior to the sessions for new staff. Individuals with varying levels of experience can participate in the first session to determine if they also need to participate in the second.

    We hope to have school representatives share their perspectives during the training sessions. There will be an opportunity for schools to suggest specific topics in advance of each session. More information will be provided in upcoming Student Assessment Updates.

    TopicsTraining DateAudience
    MCAS Accessibility and Accommodations for New Staff Thursday, January 16, 2020, 10:00–11:30 a.m.

    Principals, MCAS test coordinators, technology coordinators, special education administrators and supervisors, and test administrators

    For new staff or those who want a full refresher

    Overview of the Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile for New Staff Thursday, January 23, 2020, 10:00–11:30 a.m.

    Principals, test coordinators, technology coordinators

    For new staff or those who want a full refresher

    MCAS Test Security and Administration Protocols for Returning Staff Tuesday, January 28, 2020, 10:00–11:30 a.m.

    Principals, test coordinators, technology coordinators

    For returning staff

    MCAS Test Security and Administration Protocols for New Staff Thursday, January 30, 2020, 9:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

    Principals, test coordinators, technology coordinators

    For new staff or those who want a full refresher

    Pre-Administration Tasks for Technology Staff Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 9:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Technology coordinators
    Overview of Infrastructure Trials for Returning Staff Date to be announced

    Principals, test coordinators, technology coordinators

    For returning staff

    Overview of Infrastructure Trials for New Staff Date to be announced

    Principals, test coordinators, technology coordinators

    For new staff or those who want a full refresher

    Tasks in PearsonAccess Next Before and During Testing Thursday, February 27, 2020, 10–11:30 a.m. Principals, test coordinators, technology coordinators, test administrators
    Tasks in PearsonAccess Next During and After Testing Friday, March 20, 2020, 10:00–11:30 a.m. Principals, test coordinators, technology coordinators
  3. Reminders from the Previous Update

    1. "Introduction to MCAS Computer-Based Testing for New Staff" Training Session on November 20
      Principals, test coordinators, and technology coordinators who are new to their role or would like a refresher are encouraged to participate in the training session on November 20 at 10:00–11:30 a.m. The session will include a special district presentation by the Swampscott test administration team.

      Department staff would like to include answers to specific questions about preparations and readiness for computer-based testing; please email mcas@doe.mass.edu by November 13 with requests for specific topics to be covered.

    2. PearsonAccess Next (PAN) Passwords
      Passwords for PearsonAccess Next (PAN), the online test management system, expire every 180 days. School and district staff, particularly those who had access to PAN during last school year but have not yet used PAN this school year, should update their passwords. If a user's password expires, they will receive an email with a link to reset their password, or they can select the "Forgot Password" link on the PAN Sign In page.

For High Schools

  1. Reminder: New Procedure for Returning November Retest Materials
    Beginning with the November retests, schools will return test materials in a single return shipment (instead of separate scorable and nonscorable shipments). In addition, schools will return materials using the original shipping cartons. Additional cartons will not automatically be shipped to schools; schools should retain all original shipping cartons for use when returning materials.

Other Important Dates

CategoryDate(s)Item
November Retest AdministrationNovember 6–15November retest administration
November 18
  • Make-up testing for students not able to participate in regularly scheduled sessions or earlier make-up sessions
  • Deadline for updating SR/PNP information, if necessary
  • Deadline to complete the PCPA
November 19 Pre-scheduled UPS pickup/pickup deadline
ACCESS for ELLs
Test Coordinator Training Sessions
Returning Test Coordinators:
  • November 19
  • November 20
  • December 13

New Test Coordinators:
  • December 5
See the back-to-school EL Assessment Update for details.
February Biology Administration December 2SR/PNP file of students eligible for the February Biology test posted to DropBoxes in the Security Portal (and SR/PNP window opens)
December 13Deadline to import the SR/PNP for the February Biology test into PearsonAccess Next
Spring 2020 MCAS CBT December 6 Deadline to request to participate in the MCAS Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program for MCAS testing by emailing mcas@doe.mass.edu; for schools that allow students to bring in their own devices for use during regular instruction

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 imailsrv@list1.doe.mass.edu 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 mcas@doe.mass.edu. Thank you.





Last Updated: November 12, 2019



 
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