Testing Schedule and Administration Deadlines Now Available
The testing schedule that was posted last spring has been updated to include test administration deadlines as well as test dates.
2019–2020 Statewide Testing Schedule and Administration Deadlines, and Recommended Testing Times
This schedule also includes the recently released recommended testing times for the spring 2020 MCAS tests. 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 shorter than in 2019.
Best Practices for MCAS Computer-Based Testing and Updated ProctorCache Recommendation
Two updated documents are now available to assist schools in their preparations for the spring 2020 MCAS computer-based test administration.
Best Practices for MCAS Computer-Based Testing provides guidance for technology set-up, steps for test coordinators and test administrators during administration, and information about troubleshooting common computer-based testing issues.
In addition, there are new recommendations for precaching tests. ProctorCache Recommendation for Spring 2020 MCAS Computer-Based Testing details the steps that schools should take to determine whether they will need to use ProctorCache this spring. Questions about using ProctorCache should be directed to the MCAS Service Center (see contact information in the header of this update).
Additional Option for Technology Support Prior to MCAS Computer-Based Testing
Technology coordinators will be able to schedule one-on-one support from Pearson's support specialists (i.e., Field Services Engineering) prior to test administration, between December 2, 2019 and March 20, 2020. They may use this website to schedule "office hours" support for a 15-, 30-, or 60-minute phone meeting.
This is an opportunity for technology coordinators to receive support with the following:
- Technology set-up and site readiness
- Questions about TestNav
- ProctorCache set-up
- TestNav configurations in PearsonAccess Next
- Infrastructure Trials (set-up as well as debriefing)
These "office hours" supplement the support provided by the MCAS Service Center (see contact information in the header) and will only be available prior to test administration. During test administration, the MCAS Service Center will be available for real-time support.
Please share this information with your technology coordinators and staff.
MCAS Training Sessions for 2020
The full schedule for MCAS test administration and technology training sessions for 2020 is now available. The dates for the Overview of Infrastructure Trials sessions have been set as follows:
- January 29 for returning staff
- January 31 for new staff
ACCESS for ELLs Online Test Set-Up
The Department will order ACCESS test materials for your school based on the information provided in the October 2019 SIMS reports, and based on any accommodations and special test formats those students used for ACCESS testing last year. We will preload a student data file into the WIDA Assessment Management System (AMS) and your school's ACCESS Data 2020 DropBox in the DESE Security Portal on or around December 5 for students who were reported as ELs in your district last October.
Between December 5, 2019 and February 7, 2020, test coordinators will be able to review the student data and perform the following tasks:
- manage student records by reviewing the names and accommodations information for each student and revising as needed;
- enter information for students who arrived after the October 2019 SIMS submission;
- review names of students placed into test sessions; and
- print test tickets.
Additional information will be included in the next EL Assessment Update, scheduled for early December.
Supporting Teachers Who Conduct the MCAS-Alt
A new component, called the Skills Survey, has been added to the MCAS-Alt this year. The Skills Survey will require teachers to "pre-test" each student on a range of skills in the required subjects. In anticipation of the time it will take teachers to compile students' MCAS-Alt portfolios, the Department encourages principals to support teachers in this important work by:
- encouraging an early start to the portfolio process (i.e., identifying students taking the MCAS-Alt, setting up student work folders, and identifying measurable outcomes and assessment activities);
- encouraging collaboration among general education, special education, and related services staff, including paraprofessionals, to collect data and evidence for the portfolios;
- encouraging teachers to attend a Department-sponsored winter portfolio review session;
- providing flexible scheduling, planning time, and classroom coverage when possible to allow teachers to work on portfolios; and
- reviewing portfolios periodically to ensure that portfolios are on schedule to be completed by the submission deadline of April 3.
More information about the MCAS-Alt can be found in the November/December MCAS-Alt Newsletter , and in the Principal's Manual for the MCAS-Alt .
New Fax Number for the MCAS Service Center
The MCAS Service Center has a new fax number: 603-516-1121. Please make note in case there is a need to send a fax to the MCAS Service Center.
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:
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.