Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Updated Guidance for Spring 2021

ChromeOS Updates (5/25/2021)

Chromebook users may see the following message when opening the TestNav app: "Software Update Required. Please restart TestNav to complete this necessary software update. Updates will install on restart." This message indicates that ChromeOS will be updated, not the TestNav app. If this message appears, reboot the machine and allow the update to install, and then students can continue with testing. Questions can be addressed to the MCAS Service Center at 800-737-5103.

Deadline for Paper-Based Testing (PBT) Results to be Included in Early Reporting (5/12/2021)

In order for PBT results to be included in the early reporting of machine-scored items on or around July 2nd, schools will need to have an early UPS pickup of materials by Friday, June 4, and schedule the pickup by 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 3. (As always, schools are encouraged to return materials as soon as they have completed testing.) This early return date applies to all tests except for high school STE, which will not be included in early reporting of machine-scored items. Instructions for scheduling an early return of materials can be found in the MCAS Principal's Administration Manual Download PDF Document on page 92.

Schools are reminded that an automatic pickup has been scheduled for all schools for Tuesday, June 15 for all spring 2021 MCAS tests. Test results for students who are not included in early reporting in early July will be included in the regular rounds of reporting (the full schedule will be provided in an upcoming edition of the Student Assessment Update).

Mask Breaks during MCAS Testing (4/28/2021)

As described in the TAMs, at the test administrator's discretion, students may be given a 3–5 minute supervised break to stand and stretch approximately halfway through each test session. If students are six feet apart, and the school chooses to allow it, students may remove their masks during this short break. If needed, test administrators may permit individual students an additional opportunity for a brief (1–3 minutes) supervised mask break.

Group mask breaks during which students go outside the testing room or the school building are not permitted during MCAS testing; students who regularly receive these breaks should be provided with opportunities for outside mask breaks before or after testing.

Additional questions on mask breaks may be addressed to the school reopening team at

Updated Guidance on Seating Arrangements for Spring 2021 MCAS Testing (4/13/2021)

For MCAS testing, schools should arrange testing rooms as best they can so that students cannot see the screens on other students' devices while maintaining the health and safety protocols described in the school reopening guidance. To the extent possible, schools should seat students in desks facing in the same direction. Students should not be seated at opposite ends of a table facing each other unless there is a barrier between them or they are separated by an appropriate distance. Please email with any specific questions or to consult on a seating arrangement. The Office of Student Assessment Services may consult with the DESE school reopening team before responding to queries.

Updated Procedure for Monitoring Students with Diabetes During MCAS Testing (4/13/2021)

A unique MCAS accommodation has recently been updated regarding the use of a cell phone application during MCAS testing to monitor the glucose levels of a student with diabetes. Under certain conditions, these students may now retain possession of their cell phones for this purpose. The updated policy is available.

Last Updated: May 25, 2021

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