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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Test Design and Development


The MCAS test development process-from the selection of the learning standards that are included in each test to the development of test items (questions) to the production of test booklets-is designed to ensure that test results are valid and reliable. Items undergo extensive review and field testing before they become common items.

The item development cycle, from the beginning of item development to the inclusion of an item as a common item on an MCAS test, generally takes two to three years.

Select: English Language Arts | Mathematics | Science and Tech/Engineering | History and Social Science

BIAS Committee Members

The Bias and Sensitivity Committee members assist the Department with the review of all MCAS test questions and ELA passages. All test questions are reviewed before they are field tested, and again with their field-test performance data. Members review items for bias and sensitivity concerns based on considerations of age, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, geography, languages spoken, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. Members identify and make recommendations to the Department for test questions and passages with potential bias or sensitivity issues.

Last Updated: February 12, 2020

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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