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.
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.
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.
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:
Information about the STE tests that will be offered in 2022 is provided in the following table.
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.
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.
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
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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