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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 Significant Disabilities
      The MCAS-Alt is available for students with significant 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 and if so, in which subject(s).

    • 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: May 6, 2021

    Contact Us

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

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


    Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.