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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Guidance on Collecting MCAS-Alt Evidence Produced During Remote Instruction

Challenges exist in collecting and preserving "primary evidence" for the MCAS-Alt portfolio when students are not receiving face-to-face instruction and instead are learning remotely. Multiple methods are identified in this guidance for compiling and collecting work samples and other final products completed remotely by the student. Different approaches can be used depending on the method of remote instruction, the availability of technology for teacher and student, and the degree of success in obtaining parents' support to help document their child's independence during assignments.

Below are options for collecting portfolio evidence for remote learners:

  • Printed (i.e., paper-based) activity sheets and other work samples can be sent to the home of the student and returned to the teacher by mail or drop-off.

  • In cases where sending printed assignments to the student's home is not practical, the student can dictate answers to questions posed by the teacher over Zoom or other video conferencing application, while the teacher records verbatim the student's responses on a blank copy of the work sample.

  • Teacher-scribed work samples can be created when working with students over a conferencing application (e.g., Zoom), particularly for students who do not typically produce tangible work samples. Examples of teacher-scribed work samples are available.

  • Teacher-scribed work samples must include:
    • the student's name, date, and a description of the materials and context of the activity,
    • documentation of a series of trials conducted at the same time, and
    • the student's accuracy and independence for each response, plus the overall percentages of accuracy and independence.

  • The student or teacher can save or print out a copy of the baseline or final writing sample, or completed work sample, from Google Docs, Google Forms, Google Slides or other document-sharing applications; or the teacher can take a screenshot of the baseline or final writing sample, or completed work sample. The teacher may be able to take a screenshot of the student's final product, if the final product is visible, legible, and clear on the screen. The image can be pasted into a blank Word document and saved.

    In this case, the teacher can use either:

    1. the "Print Screen" command for PC and MAC
    2. the "Snipping Tool" for PC

  • The student or parent may be able to use a mobile device (cellphone) camera to scan the student's work to PDF.

  • In cases where parents are actively engaged in working with their children remotely, the teacher may be able to orient the parent on how best to assist their child during an activity. In those cases, the teacher can explain the assignment to the parent and suggest ways to effectively assist their child when needed. A worksheet has been developed for this purpose entitled "Assisting Students with Assignments: A Parent's Guide". Parents can complete the worksheet during remote assignments and return it with the completed assignment. The documentation provided by the parent on this sheet will provide the teacher with information needed to determine the number of prompts used by the parent during the assignment and allow the teacher to calculate the percentage of independence.

  • Parents may also be able to assist in completing the MCAS-Alt Skills Survey (download from DESE MCAS-Alt Resources) by observing and documenting their child's performance on some or all of the tasks listed in the skills survey. The teacher can coordinate this process, then follow up with a teacher-parent interview.

  • Printing out the completed work samples, skills surveys, and other materials for the student's MCAS-Alt portfolio may be possible at your school closer to the time of portfolio submission.

    However, if access to a printer is not available, digital images may be substituted as part of a student's MCAS-Alt portfolio. Click and drag (or "Save") the student's completed digital folder to a flash drive and submit that in the supplied plastic portfolio envelope with a completed Student Information Booklet. Please use one flash drive per student.

    • How to create a folder and sub-folders on the computer desktop.

  • Completed forms and graphs in the MCAS-Alt Forms and Graphs Online application can either be printed (as before) or saved as PDF documents and submitted digitally as part of the student's MCAS-Alt.

    • How to save completed MCAS-Alt forms and graphs as PDF documents for teachers who do not have access to a printer.

Last Updated: February 8, 2021

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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