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Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

Spring 2015 District Assessment Decision Update

As part of Massachusetts' two-year "test drive" of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), the Department asked school districts (including charter schools and vocational-technical high schools) to choose whether to administer MCAS or PARCC tests in English Language Arts and Mathematics to students in grades 3–8 spring 2015. (The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will vote whether the state should adopt PARCC later in 2015.)

In most cases, a district's decision applies to each school across the district. The only exception is for the three largest districts — Boston, Springfield and Worcester — which had the option to decide on a school-by-school basis.

All districts will continue to administer the grades 5, 8 and high school MCAS Science and Technology/Engineering tests. Districts will also continue using the MCAS Alternate Assessment for students designated for alternate assessment. The three high school MCAS tests (grade 10 English Language Arts, grade 10 Mathematics and high school Science and Technology/Engineering) will continue to be a graduation requirement through the class of 2019. Additionally, all districts — regardless of their selection for grades 3–8 — had the option to administer PARCC assessments to students in grades 9 and 11 in spring 2015.

To facilitate the state's planning for the 2015 operational assessment, the Department provided districts with two decision deadlines — an early deadline of June 30, 2014, and a final deadline of Oct. 1, 2014. Districts that communicated their binding decision to the Department by June 30, 2014, were guaranteed their choice of assessment (PARCC or MCAS) in grades 3–8 in spring 2015. Districts that were not ready to make a selection by June 30 were required to do so by Oct. 1. Districts choosing to administer MCAS tests were not required to respond, and therefore districts that did not respond were informed they will administer MCAS tests in 2015.

All districts will be able to administer the test of their choosing.

Below is a summary of districts' assessment decisions for spring 2015.

For more information, please contact Student Assessment Services at 781-338-3625 or .

Assessment Decision for Spring 2015

March 18, 2015

Spring 2015Number of public districts
(including charters)
# of districts%# of students (approx.)# of districts%# of students (approx.)
Grades 3–835916546%207,50019454%227,000
PARCC for Grade 9 and/or 11 (optional)295N/AN/AN/A6923%22,500


PARCC Details

GradesNumber of Districts
Administering PARCC
Paper-Based Tests
Computer-Based Tests
Mix of Paper and Computer
# of districts%# of districts%# of districts%
Grades 3–81946131%9750%3619%
Grade 9 and/or 11 (optional)691927%4464%69%
Algebra I (Grade 8)
# of districts%estimated # of students

Last Updated: March 20, 2015

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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