MCAS Grade-Level and Competency Portfolio
Updated Fall 2020
The MCAS grade-level and competency portfolios are alternative methods of student assessment that use a collection of a student's work samples to measure the educational performance of a small number of students who possess skills at or near grade level, but who cannot demonstrate those skills on the standard MCAS tests, even with accommodations, due to a significant disability. The portfolios measure a student's knowledge of the academic knowledge, concepts, and skills outlined in the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for specific, required standards described in the MCAS Grade-Level and Competency Portfolio Manual .
If a student with a significant disability is working at, near, or above grade-level, but is unable to demonstrate knowledge and skills on the standard MCAS tests in any subject due to the nature and severity of their disability, even with the use of accommodations, the student's IEP team (or individuals responsible for developing a 504 plan) may designate the student for an MCAS grade-level portfolio (in grades 3–8) or an MCAS competency portfolio (in high school).
If a student demonstrates in their grade-level or competency portfolio a level of achievement comparable to or higher than that of a student who has achieved Partially Meeting Expectations, Meeting Expectations, or Exceeding Expectation on the standard MCAS content area and grade-level test, the student will earn the corresponding achievement level. If a student in high school demonstrates in their competency portfolio the same, or higher, level of achievement as a student who has achieved the Competency Determination (CD) standard on the high school MCAS test in that subject, the student will be awarded a CD in that subject.
Students in high school who continue to attempt to earn their CD and have submitted MCAS competency portfolios multiple times should refer to Filing MCAS Performance Appeals, an option that provides those students additional portfolio submission opportunities.
Please become familiar with the portfolio submission requirements described in the MCAS Grade-Level and Competency Portfolio Manual. It is especially important to refer to information regarding whether students should be assessed using the "legacy" or "next-generation" standards.
Links are provided below to the required portfolio forms for submission of grade-level and competency portfolios in each subject.
MCAS Grade-Level and Competency Portfolio Manual
Required forms for completing grade-level and competency portfolios:
Portfolio Cover Sheet (required for both grade-level and competency portfolios)
Grade-Level Work Description Form (grades 3–8)
High School Work Description Forms
"Next-Generation" Introductory Physics
For competency portfolios based on "legacy" standards that were previously submitted at least once prior to the 2019-2020 school year and will be resubmitted in spring 2021, please review the following materials and requirements:
- English Language Arts (ELA)
Previously submitted "legacy" ELA competency portfolios may continue to include evidence based on the 2001/2011 Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for English Language Arts and Literacy.
"Legacy" High School Work Description Label: English Language Arts
Previously submitted "legacy" Mathematics competency portfolios may continue to include evidence based on the 2000/2011 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for Mathematics.
"Legacy" High School Work Description Label: Mathematics
- Science and Technology/Engineering
Previously submitted "legacy" Science and Technology/Engineering competency portfolios may continue to include evidence based on the 2006 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for Science and Technology/Engineering.
"Legacy" High School Work Description Label: Biology
"Legacy" High School Work Description Label: Introductory Physics
Excerpts for Sample Competency Portfolios
Last Updated: January 4, 2021