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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Student Participation

  • Participation Requirements for Students in Grades 3–8 and 10
    Students educated with Massachusetts public funds are required by federal laws and the 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Law, state law M. G. L. Chapter 69, section 1I, to participate in statewide testing.

  • Accessibility, Accommodations, and Participation Requirements for MCAS and ACCESS for ELLs
    Students with disabilities and EL students must participate in all MCAS testing scheduled for their grades regardless of the program and services they are receiving, with the exception of EL students who are in their first year of enrollment in U.S. schools (i.e., students first enrolled after the March SIMS submission), for whom ELA testing is optional; and students taking the MCAS Alternate Assessment (MCAS-Alt) who must take alternate assessments in the grades and subjects required for students in that grade.

    In addition, all EL students are required to participate in the ACCESS for ELLs tests, regardless of the English language services they receive, to comply with federal and state laws. Details are posted on how all students participate in spring MCAS testing and how EL students participate in ACCESS for ELLs testing.

  • Participation Requirements for Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities
    The MCAS-Alt is available for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who, due to the nature and severity of their disabilities, are unable to participate in the standard MCAS tests, even with accommodations. The IEP or 504 plan must state whether a student requires an alternate assessment.

  • Student Participation Guidelines for the High School Tests
    All Massachusetts students who are seeking to earn a high school diploma must meet the Competency Determination (CD) standard, in addition to meeting all local graduation requirements.

Last Updated: November 14, 2023

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149

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


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