Student Assessment Update: January 27, 2014- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Student Assessment Update: January 27, 2014

MCAS Alternate Assessment (MCAS-Alt) Training Offered in February/March

Flyers will be faxed to schools and districts on Wednesday, January 29, with registration information for Portfolios-in-Progress, a series of statewide MCAS-Alt portfolio review sessions for educators who are conducting the MCAS-Alt. Portfolios-in-Progress dates are as follows:

WednesdayFebruary 26Springfield, Sheraton Hotel
ThursdayFebruary 27Marlborough, Best Western Hotel
MondayMarch 10Taunton, Holiday Inn
TuesdayMarch 11Danvers, Double Tree Inn

We encourage teachers who are conducting the MCAS-Alt in your school to register to attend one of these sessions.

Comparison of Accommodations and Accessibility on MCAS and PARCC Now Available

Educators, particularly in schools selected to participate in spring 2014 PARCC field testing, should review the memo and attachment to obtain important information about

  • the comparison of accessibility features and accommodations available on MCAS and PARCC; and
  • the participation of certain students with disabilities and English language learners (ELLs) in the spring 2014 PARCC field tests.

Although accommodations are quite similar between MCAS and PARCC, there are some important differences, including the timing of tests, the availability of individualized graphic organizers and reference sheets, the availability of new accommodations for ELL students, and the expansion of some MCAS accommodations for all students on PARCC.

Additional PARCC Communication Tools and materials recently sent to districts are being posted to the Department's website.

Important Upcoming Dates for Schools Participating in the PARCC Field Test:

  • January 28: last day to upload demographic data file for students taking the paper-based Performance-Based Assessment (PBA) to Pearson
  • By January 31: demographic data file available for students participating in the End of Year (EOY) assessment in dropboxes (PARCC 2014 Data folder)
  • February 7: last day to upload the demographic data file for students taking the online PBA to Pearson
  • February 28: last day to upload the demographic data file for students taking the EOY assessment (paper-based and online) to Pearson

If you have questions regarding the PARCC field test or need further support, please contact the PARCC Help Center at 888-493-9888 (Monday-Friday, 7:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.) or You may also contact the Department at or 781-338-3625.

Other Important Upcoming Dates

  • January 9-February 12: ACCESS for ELLs testing window
  • January 28-February 12: MCAS test administration training sessions for principals and MCAS test coordinators
  • February 3 and 4: MCAS Biology test for students taking biology on a block schedule and for students who need an additional testing opportunity
  • February 25: November 2013 retest Parent/Guardian reports received by districts
  • March 3-March 10: MCAS March Retests in ELA and Mathematics

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: February 4, 2014

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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