The 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Law, state law M. G. L. Chapter 69, section 1I, mandates that all students in the tested grades who are educated with Massachusetts public funds participate in MCAS. The MCAS tests are administered in grades 3-8 and 10; refer to the student participation guidelines for details.
Students in grades 11 and 12 and beyond who are eligible according to these guidelines have the right to participate in high school MCAS tests and retests.
In addition, the Department encourages grade 9 students to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in Science and Technology/Engineering testing in grade 9 instead of grade 10. The Department encourages grade 9 students to participate in an STE test if they are enrolled in a course that corresponds to one of the tests. Parents/guardians, in consultation with principals and other school personnel, have the option to request that their child participate in testing at grade 10 instead.
The Department recommends that high schools prepare for each test administration period by notifying parents/guardians of eligible students in writing of their children's right to participate. Also, districts are required to provide annual written notice to former students from the previous two years who have not yet earned their Competency Determination (CD) to inform them of academic support options and retesting opportunities.
For students who choose not to participate, it is recommended that parents/guardians sign an acknowledgment of their children's nonparticipation. If students do not wish to participate in an MCAS testing opportunity, and the parents/guardians agree, schools are encouraged to obtain their signatures on a form to document that the opportunity was offered and refused.
Note that since first-time grade 10 students — as well as students in grades 3–8 — are required to participate in MCAS testing, there is no form to be used to "opt out" of testing.
Last Updated: March 8, 2019
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906
Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370
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