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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) Test Design and Development

Transition Information for MCAS 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 , which was published in April 2016. The MCAS STE program has been transitioning to assess the 2016 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 , were first administered in spring 2019. The achievement levels for these tests were set in August 2019. The test design includes 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 and Standard Setting Meeting Recruitment

In June 2022, the Biology and the Introductory Physics MCAS tests will transition to a next-generation, computer-based test (CBT) format that is aligned to the 2016 STE standards . The tests will have new designs and include assessing both the content and science practices in the standards. Examples of items can be found in the practice tests. More information about the transition to these tests is below.

The Department is recruiting educators to apply to participate as panelists in a standard setting meeting for the high school Biology and Introductory Physics MCAS tests. The meeting will be held on August 9–12, 2022 and panelists will be offered a $200/day stipend. The purpose of standard setting is to identify and recommend achievement level cut scores for the Biology and Introductory Physics tests. DESE is looking to select from a diverse pool of candidates that have experience teaching grades 9 and 10 biology or physics and experience working with racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse students. DESE is especially interested in recruiting educators of color for the standard setting panels. More information, including how to apply to the standard setting panel, is available in the Biology & Introductory Physics Standard Setting Recruitment memo. The deadline to apply is Monday, March 28, 2022. However, educators are encouraged to apply prior to this deadline.

High School MCAS STE Testing in 2022

Please also refer to this additional guidance on high school STE participation.

The Department plans to offer the following high school STE tests in 2022:

  • The February 2022 Biology test will be a legacy, paper-based test that will be aligned to "overlapping" standards from both the 2006 and 2016 STE frameworks. This will be the final legacy Biology test that will be offered. Students in the class of 2024 who completed a high school biology course last year in 2020-21 are eligible and should be provided the opportunity to take the February 2022 Biology test.
  • The Spring 2022 Biology and Introductory Physics tests will be next-generation, computer-based tests aligned to the 2016 STE Standards .
  • The Spring 2022 Chemistry and Technology/Engineering tests will be legacy, paper-based tests aligned to the 2006 STE standards .

Information about the STE tests that will be offered in 2022 is provided in the following table.

STE TestEligibility1Administration ModeStandards Assessed
February Legacy Biology Test
  • students in grade 9 and 102 who have completed or are expected to complete a high school biology course and have not yet earned a scaled score of at least 220 on an STE test
  • students in grade 11 or 12 who do not have an eligible course for the modified CD in STE
  • adult learners in the class of 2019 or earlier who have not yet earned a scaled score of at least 220 on an STE test
paper-based "overlapping" standards from both the 2006 and the STE frameworks
June Next-Generation Biology and Introductory Physics Tests
  • students in grade 9 and 102 who have completed or are expected to complete a high school biology or introductory physics course and have not yet earned a scaled score of at least 220 on an STE test
  • students in grade 11 or 12 who do not have an eligible course for the modified CD in STE
  • adult learners in the class of 2019 or earlier who have not yet earned a scaled score of at least 220 on an STE test
computer-based 2016 STE Framework
June Legacy Chemistry and Technology/Engineering
  • students in grade 9 and 102 who have completed or are expected to complete a high school chemistry or technology/engineering course and have not yet earned a scaled score of at least 220 on an STE test
  • students in grade 11 or 12 who do not have an eligible course for the modified CD in STE
  • adult learners in the class of 2019 or earlier who have not yet earned a scaled score of at least 220 on an STE test
paper-based 2006 STE Framework

1 Due to the COVID-19 school closures in spring 2020, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted 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. More information can be found at MA Graduation Requirements and Related Guidance.

2 Repeating grade 10 students may be eligible for the modified CD, and if so, may not need to take an STE test. See the FAQs on the modified CD for details.

High School MCAS STE Testing in 2023 and Beyond

Biology and Introductory Physics

Next-generation MCAS Biology and Introductory Physics tests will be offered in both February 2023 and June 2023. No legacy MCAS tests in these content areas will be offered in 2023 or beyond.

Chemistry and Technology/Engineering (Phasing out)

In January 2022, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to phase-out the Chemistry and Technology/Engineering tests due to low enrollment numbers. As a result, legacy MCAS tests in Chemistry and Technology/Engineering will be offered in June 2023 to students in the class of 2025 and earlier (grade 10+ students). Students in the class of 2026 (grade 9) and beyond will not be eligible to take a Chemistry or Technology/Engineering test and must participate in a Biology or Introductory Physics test by the end of grade 10. No Chemistry or Technology/Engineering test will be offered in 2024 or beyond.

Last Updated: September 26, 2022

 
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