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Reminder about the New Competency Determination Requirement Beginning with the Class of 2010

To:Superintendents, High School Principals, and Directors of Charter Schools, Approved Private Special Education Schools, Educational Collaboratives, and Special Education in Institutional Settings
Copy:MCAS Test Coordinators
From:Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education
Date:August 31, 2009


I am writing to remind you about new Competency Determination (CD) requirements that go into effect in 2010.

Beginning with the class of 2010, students must either earn a scaled score of at least 240 on the grade 10 MCAS ELA and Mathematics tests, or earn a scaled score between 220 and 238 on these tests and fulfill the requirements of an Educational Proficiency Plan (EPP). Also beginning with the class of 2010, students must earn a scaled score of at least 220 on one of the high school MCAS Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) tests: Biology, Chemistry, Introductory Physics, or Technology/Engineering. More information about the high school graduation requirements, including information about retesting opportunities and Educational Proficiency Plans (EPPs), is posted on the Department's website at

To assist educators in making appropriate coursework and assessment decisions for students in the class of 2010, the Department posted CD attainment status data files to the Security Portal this summer. Please refer to my August 5, 2009, memorandum for instructions on accessing these files. In addition, superintendents will soon receive a list of students, by high school, who have not yet participated in a high school STE test.

I also want to remind you about the MCAS Performance Appeals process as an option for a student to earn a CD. In order to be eligible, a student must meet a minimum attendance rate, participate in tutoring, and must have participated in the MCAS high school tests/retests or the MCAS Alternate Assessment (MCAS-Alt) as follows:

  • ELA: at least three times or MCAS-Alt twice
  • Mathematics: at least three times or MCAS-Alt twice
  • STE: once or MCAS-Alt at least once and must be currently enrolled in a STE course

Please contact Student Assessment Services at 781-338-3625 or with questions about the CD and MCAS testing. Please contact Secondary School Services at 781-338-3010 or with questions about EPPs. You may contact the MCAS Performance Appeals group at 781-338-3333 or

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Last Updated: August 31, 2009
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