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Assessment/Accountability

Science and Technology/Engineering Competency Determination Requirements for Junior and Senior Transfer Students

To:Superintendents, High School Principals and Directors of Charter Schools, Approved Private Special Education Schools, Institutional Schools, Educational Collaboratives, and Alternative Adult/External Diploma Programs
From:Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D.
Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education
Date:June 5, 2009

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The following memorandum serves to clarify the Competency Determination (CD) requirements in Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) for high school students who transfer into a Massachusetts public school from an in-state non-public or out-of-state school during their junior or senior years.

As you know, to meet the Standards for Competency Determination (603 CMR 30.03), students beginning with the class of 2010 are required to pass one of the four high school MCAS STE tests (Biology, Chemistry, Introductory Physics, and Technology/Engineering) in addition to meeting the CD requirement in English language arts and mathematics. Since the STE tests are end-of-course tests for students in grades 9 and 10, most high school students will have met the CD requirement in STE by the end of their sophomore year. Please note that students who transfer into a Massachusetts public high school as juniors or seniors, and who did not have the opportunity to participate in MCAS testing in grade 9 or 10, will still be required to meet the CD requirement as a condition for high school graduation. The information below helps to clarify how these students can meet the CD requirement in STE.

Junior Transfer Students

MCAS STE Participation

Junior transfer students must participate in either the February MCAS Biology test or one of the four MCAS STE tests offered in June. If they have previously taken a high school biology course and transfer in before the February test administration, they should participate in the February MCAS Biology test. If these juniors have not previously taken a high school course that corresponds with one of the MCAS STE tests, we strongly recommended that you enroll these students in a science or technology/engineering course during their junior year. This will allow the students to be prepared to participate in one of the MCAS STE tests offered in June.

STE Performance Appeals Eligibility

Schools may file a performance appeal in STE for junior transfer students provided they have taken one of the MCAS STE tests and they are enrolled in a science or technology/engineering course.

Senior Transfer Students

MCAS STE Participation

Senior transfer students who arrive before the February MCAS Biology test administration and have taken a Biology course at some time during high school must participate in that test administration. Senior transfer students who arrive after the February MCAS Biology test administration are exempted from participating in a MCAS STE test, but must earn a Competency Determination in Science and Technology/Engineering through the MCAS Performance Appeals process described below in order to graduate.

STE Performance Appeals Eligibility

For senior transfer students who transfer in prior to the February MCAS Biology test and are required to participate in that test, schools may file a performance appeal for those students once they have participated in the test. The appeal may be submitted as a transcript appeal without a cohort worksheet, and students are not required to be enrolled in a science or technology/engineering course. The appeal may include the results of the February MCAS Biology test (if available) and must include transcripts, GPAs, standardized test scores, college acceptance letters, and any other relevant academic evidence.

For seniors who transfer in after the February MCAS Biology test administration, schools may submit a transcript appeal for the student including transcripts, GPAs, standardized test scores, college acceptance letters, and any other relevant academic evidence.

Further guidance for submitting a performance appeal can be found at www.doe.mass.edu/mcasappeals/. If you have questions about submitting an appeal please contact MCAS Appeals at mcasappeals@doe.mass.edu or 781-338-3333. If you have questions about MCAS test participation requirements, please contact Student Assessment Services at mcas@doe.mass.edu or 781-338-3625.



Last Updated: June 5, 2009
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