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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Notice of Intent to Apply for a Waiver of Federal Requirements Related to Testing the Full Range of the State's Academic Content Standards and Opportunity for Comment

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education intends to seek a waiver for 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 of the federal requirement that states assess speaking and listening standards through their statewide assessment systems. This notice is to provide you with an opportunity to review and comment on this intended waiver request. Under the requirements of the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act, now known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), all states are required to assess the full range of their academic content standards. This requirement applies to the Speaking and Listening standards contained in the 2011 Massachusetts English Language Arts and Literacy Curriculum Frameworks. However, because states have not yet established viable ways to measure speaking and listening skills using a large-scale summative assessment, the U.S. Department of Education is allowing states to apply for a waiver of this requirement for at least the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years. The waiver, if granted, will permit Massachusetts to fully develop its new, next-generation MCAS tests while providing additional time to complete the work of developing a valid and reliable measure of the speaking and listening standards. We welcome your comments regarding our intent to apply for this waiver. Comments may be submitted via email to by April 12.

Last Updated: March 22, 2016

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

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