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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Grades 5 and 8 Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) Assessment Transition

DESE is developing new Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) MCAS tests for grades 5 and 8 that are designed to support DESE's deeper learning goals for all students. The new STE assessments will build on the current grades 5 and 8 MCAS STE tests by having students dive deep into performance tasks focused on real-life scenarios. The design of the new assessment is based on best practices for STE learning, mirroring the design of high-quality STE curricula.

Examples of state-level MCAS performance tasks are currently available. Each task consists of three elements:

  • an illustrated storyline about students making sense of a real-life science phenomenon
  • an interactive simulation in which students conduct investigations, make observations, and/or solve science or engineering problems
  • a series of selected-response items (including multiple-choice, multiple-select, and technology-enhanced items) and a constructed-response item aligned to the standards and practices in the 2016 STE Framework

Pilot Highlights

List of Schools Participating in the 2024 Science Pilot (8/31/23)

Timeline for the New Grades 5 and 8 STE MCAS

Local-Level Classroom STE Performance Assessment Tasks

If you have questions about these new assessments, please contact DESE at .

Last Updated: March 18, 2024

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