Guidelines for Filing Portfolio Appeals for the Competency Determination
Submission Requirements for MCAS Portfolio Appeals
In a small number of cases, a student's comparison group, or "cohort," may be too small to make the reliable correlation between students' MCAS scores and grade point averages needed for a cohort appeal (i.e., if fewer than 6 other students have taken the same sequence of courses as the student for whom the appeal is filed). When this occurs, and when the student meets all other eligibility requirements to file an appeal, the superintendent or director of an educational collaborative or approved private school may submit a portfolio on behalf of the student that includes work samples that demonstrate the student's highest level of performance on the required standards in a content area.
Provided the student is eligible for an MCAS Performance Appeal and the district has submitted a completed MCAS Performance Appeal application, the student's portfolio appeal will be granted if the student fulfills the requirements outlined in the guidelines below and demonstrates in his or her portfolio a comparable level of performance to a student who has scored at least Needs Improvement (or the next-generation equivalent passing score) on the high school MCAS test in the content area. Expert panelists in English language arts (ELA), mathematics, and the four disciplines of science and technology/engineering (STE) (biology, chemistry, introductory physics, and technology/engineering) will review and make a recommendation on each portfolio. Feedback will be provided to the district, once the portfolio has been reviewed, describing which sections of the portfolio are sufficient and in which sections more or different work is needed.
Each piece of student work in the portfolio must be attached to a completed High School Competency Portfolio Work Description (links provided below). Links to sample MCAS portfolio excerpts are provided below.
Portfolio Requirements in Each Content Area to Earn a Competency Determination
Please note that due to the transition to the "next-generation" MCAS tests there are updated requirements for competency portfolios for English Language Arts and Mathematics. The term "legacy" refers to the earlier versions of the curriculum frameworks and high school MCAS tests that have now largely been replaced with "next-generation" standards based on the 2017 curriculum frameworks for English Language Arts and Mathematics. Competency Portfolios to earn a CD may be based on either "next-generation" or "legacy" requirements during the 2020-2021 school year; however, a student's individual portfolio in ELA or Mathematics may not combine (or mix and match) standards from the 2011 and the 2017 curriculum frameworks. Portfolio requirements for Science and Technology/Engineering appeals will transition after spring 2021.
English Language Art Requirements
"Legacy" ELA competency portfolios requirements based on the 2001/2011 Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for English Language Arts and Literacy.
High School Work Description Label: English Language Arts
"Next-generation" ELA competency portfolios requirements based on the 2017 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for English Language Arts and Literacy.
"Next-generation" High School Work Description Label: English Language Arts
"Legacy" Mathematics competency portfolios based on the 2000/2011 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for Mathematics.
High School Work Description Label: Mathematics
"Next-generation" Mathematics competency portfolios based on the 2017 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for Mathematics.
"Next-generation" High School Work Description Label: Mathematics
Science and Technology/Engineering Requirements
Portfolio appeal requirements for STE portfolios have not changed for the 2020-2021 school year. Portfolios Appeals in STE will continue, at least for the 2020-2021 school year, to include evidence based solely on the 2006 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for Science and Technology/Engineering.
High School Work Description Label: Biology
High School Work Description Label: Chemistry
High School Work Description Label: Introductory Physics
High School Work Description Label: Technology/Engineering
Excerpts from Sample MCAS Appeals Portfolios
Science and Technology/Engineering — Biology
Science and Technology/Engineering — Introductory Physics
English Language Arts
Next-Generation Mathematics — Number and Quantity
Number Sense and Operations
Patterns, Relations, and Algebra
Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability
Sample Competency Determination Portfolio Feedback Forms
English Language Arts
Last Updated: September 8, 2020