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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Student Assessment Update: January 7, 2014

Delivery of ACCESS for ELLS Test Materials

ACCESS for ELLs test materials were scheduled to arrive in schools on Friday, January 3, 2014. Because of the storm last week, some schools may experience a delay in the arrival of test materials. If your school does not receive the shipment by Wednesday, January 8, or if you need to order additional materials, please contact the MetriTech Help Desk at 800-747-4868. Additional materials can be ordered until January 8 (or January 31 for newly enrolled ELL students only).

Please see the ELL Assessment Update for more information about ACCESS for ELLs testing.

Preparing for the Spring 2014 MCAS Test Administration

Below are updates and reminders in preparation for the spring 2014 MCAS test administration.

1. Updates

Request for Schools to Order MCAS Test Materials

Principals must order test materials for the spring 2014 MCAS tests (including the MCAS-Alt) and the March 2014 MCAS ELA and Mathematics retests by January 17. Instructions are posted at MCAS webpage.

As part of these instructions, principals are being reminded of procedures for receiving and handling secure test materials, as well as the need to formally communicate their plans for maintaining test security to their district superintendents.

Also included in the instructions is important information for schools participating in the spring 2014 PARCC field tests.

Spring 2014 MCAS Test Administration Training Sessions

The Department is holding spring 2014 MCAS test administration training sessions beginning in early February. First-year principals and principals who did not participate in 2012 or 2013 are required to participate. Other principals and test coordinators are strongly encouraged to participate. Registrations must be submitted between January 6 and 17.

Presenters are seeking assistance from educators so that we can share schools' helpful hints during the training sessions (ideas need to be submitted by January 10).

More details, including instructions for registering, are posted at MCAS webpage.

Passwords for the MCAS Service Center Website

Passwords were sent to principals in early January. Principals will need to use their new passwords when accessing the MCAS Service Center website for the 2014 calendar year. Contact the MCAS Service Center at 800-737-5103 with questions.

2. Reminders

Overview of Principals' Responsibilities

See the back-to-school Student Assessment Update for a "top five list" of responsibilities for the MCAS and ACCESS for ELLs tests for 2013-2014.

Participation Guidelines for MCAS Testing - Students in Out-of-District Placements

The Massachusetts Education Reform Law of 1993 states that all students who are educated at public expense, including students with disabilities in approved and unapproved private special education schools, must participate in MCAS tests. The law further requires that high school students, in order to earn a diploma, must meet the Competency Determination (CD) standard by passing MCAS tests in English Language Arts, Mathematics, and STE, in addition to meeting all local graduation requirements.

Superintendents must ensure that special education schools and educational collaboratives place orders for sufficient quantities of test materials for their district's students who are in out-of-district placements.

Please contact Student Assessment Services at 781-338-3625 or with any questions about testing requirements for students with disabilities.

Requirements and Recommendations for Scheduling Testing - Legal Holidays and Religious Observances

The Department recommends that principals schedule tests that do not have prescribed dates in the early part of the testing window to allow ample time for make-up sessions and to take advantage of early return shipment options. In addition, when scheduling tests that do not have prescribed dates, principals should be aware that state and federal laws require schools to make reasonable accommodations for the religious needs of students and employees in observance of holy days.

MCAS/EPP Test Information

In school year 2013-2014, there will be one opportunity for districts to offer students with Educational Proficiency Plans the optional MCAS/EPP test for mathematics. The one-time period will be April 28-May 9, 2014. There will be no administration of an MCAS/EPP test for English Language Arts (ELA); however, schools and districts will be able to use the March 2014 ELA MCAS retest as an assessment option for EPP purposes.

For more information on EPPs, see the EPP main page.

Important Upcoming Dates

  • January 6-17: Ordering window for spring MCAS, MCAS-Alt, and March retest materials
  • January 9-February 12: ACCESS for ELLs testing window
  • January 10: MCAS November retest composition images available at MCAS Service Center
  • January 10: Deadline for submitting individualized reference sheets for students with disabilities participating in the February 2014 Biology test
  • January 13: MCAS November retest scores available electronically

About this Update

The Student Assessment Services Update provides important information about the state's testing programs. Please email your feedback to

Principals, heads of school, MCAS test coordinators, and ELL directors received this email based on contact information that was submitted to the Department. To change your email address, please follow the instructions below:

  • Public schools: Submit updates to your District-Level Directory Administrator, who is responsible for submitting updates to the Department.
  • Non-public schools and collaboratives: Submit updates (along with your District & School Code) to the Department via email at

Last Updated: January 15, 2014
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