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Center for Instructional Support

Science gear STE Assessment Resources


Student Assessment Services provides information about the end-of-year MCAS exam, practice tests, released test items, and other supports at Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System.

Instructional Support, in collaboration with Student Assessment Services, provides instructional guidelines to support standards-aligned instruction. This guidance is aligned with the assessment expectations of the next-generation MCAS test based on the 2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework. The information provided in these documents are not an exhaustive list of what will be assessed on the MCAS test. These documents may be updated as necessary; please refer to the revision dates on the bottom of each document.

New 5th and 8th Grade STE Performance Assessment

DESE is developing a new Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) test for grades 5 and 8 that is designed to support DESE's goals of deeper learning for all students. The new STE assessment will build on the current MCAS grades 5 and 8 STE tests by having students dive deep into performance tasks focused on real-life scenarios. The design of the new assessment is based on best practices for STE learning, mirroring the design of high-quality STE curricula.

For more information about the new assessment and resources to support the transition, please visit the Student Assessment site.

Classroom Assessment

The 2016 PK–12 Science & Technology/Engineering Frameworks emphasize the teaching of science content using the Science and Engineering Practices. We recommend that classroom-based assessments also examine practices along with content.

DESE is currently developing local-level classroom STE performance assessment tasks, which will be posted on the Student Assessment site on a rolling basis. The tasks are designed to complement the new grades 5 and 8 STE MCAS performance tasks and to support DESE's deeper learning goals for all students.

The classroom tasks require students to apply their knowledge and skills to real-world problems. The tasks include hands-on investigations using computer simulations and manipulatives, group work, and individual student work.

Access the tasks at Local-level Classroom STE Performance Assessment Tasks.

Additional resources for classroom performance tasks are available at the following sources:

Last Updated: March 25, 2024

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