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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Science and Technology/Engineering Test Design and Development

Transition Information for MCAS Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) Tests

In January 2016, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to adopt the 2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Standards. These revised standards were incorporated into the 2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework Download PDF Document, which was published in April 2016. The MCAS STE program has been transitioning to assess the new standards, as described below. The STE tests have also been redesigned for computer-based administration, as part of the Commonwealth's move to "next-generation" MCAS assessments. This process has included the introduction of new test designs and new item types.

Grades 5 and 8 MCAS STE Transition

The grades 5 and 8 next-generation MCAS STE tests, based on the 2016 STE standards Download PDF Document, were first administered in spring 2019. New achievement levels for these tests were set in August 2019. The tests have new designs and include assessing both the content and science and technology/engineering practices in the standards. Practice tests and released items are also available for these tests.

High School MCAS STE Transition

The Department currently anticipates that the Biology MCAS and the Introductory Physics MCAS tests will transition to a next-generation, computer-based (CBT) format that is aligned to the 2016 STE standards Download PDF Document in June 2022. When the next-generation tests are administered, it is expected that new achievement levels will be set. The tests will have new designs and include assessing both the content and science practices in the standards. Examples of new items can be found in the revised practice tests. More information about the transition to next-generation tests is below.

High School MCAS STE Testing in 2021

The Department plans to offer high school STE tests in February 2021 (legacy biology only) and June 2021 (all four subjects).

Due to the COVID-19 school closures in spring 2020, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted Download Word Document that the STE component of the CD for students in the classes of 2020–2023 will be awarded upon demonstration of course credit in the relevant subject matter and competency in one of the four tested disciplines during their high school career.

As a result, the only students eligible to participate in STE testing this school year are:

  • Students in grade 9 (Students in the class of 2024 must take a high school STE test by the end of grade 10.)
  • Adults in the class of 2019 or earlier

February 2021 Biology Test Information

A legacy, paper-based Biology test based on "overlapping" standards from both the 2006 and 2016 STE frameworks will be offered to eligible students. The Department expects to offer the legacy, paper-based Biology test between February 8 and 26, 2021.

June 2021 STE High School Test Information

Legacy, paper-based Biology and Introductory Physics tests based on "overlapping" standards from both the 2006 and 2016 STE frameworks will be offered to eligible students. Schools should be using the 2016 STE Framework Download PDF Document to prepare students for the Biology and Introductory Physics tests. The Chemistry and Technology/Engineering tests will remain legacy, paper-based tests and will only align to the 2006 STE standards Download Word Document.

The June STE schedule is still under development (with longer windows planned). Testing information about the June 2021 STE tests is provided in the table below.

STE TestEligibilityAdministration ModeStandards Assessed
Legacy Biology and Introductory Physics
  • grade 9 students who are enrolled in a biology or introductory physics course
  • adult learners in the class of 2019 or earlier who have not yet earned a scaled score of at least 220 on a STE test
paper-based "overlapping" standards from both the 2006 and 2016 Download PDF Document STE frameworks, see below
Legacy Chemistry and Technology/Engineering
  • grade 9 students who are enrolled in a chemistry or technology/engineering course
  • adult learners in the class of 2019 or earlier who have not yet earned a scaled score of at least 220 on a STE test
paper-based 2006 STE Framework

Overlapping Standards for Legacy Tests

The overlapping standards for the Legacy Biology and Introductory Physics tests are below.

Download Word Document
February and June 2021 High School Biology Legacy Test Overlapping Standards
Download Word Document
June 2021 High School Introductory Physics Legacy Test Overlapping Standards

Introductory Physics Reference Sheet

The next-generation Introductory Physics Reference Sheet Download PDF Document will be used with all Introductory Physics MCAS tests (both legacy and next-generation).

Additional Information

The Department continues to recommend phasing out the Chemistry and Technology/Engineering tests due to low enrollment numbers. More information about the timing of the phasing out of these tests will be available at a later date.

September 29, 2020 Memo: Statewide Testing Schedule and Administration Deadlines MCAS, MCAS Alternate Assessment, and ACCESS for ELLs

Archived memo: Eligibility for MCAS High School Science and Technology/Engineering Tests in School Year 2019-2020

Last Updated: November 18, 2020

 
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