A message from the
Massachusetts Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education

December 1, 2022
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News from DESE Student Assessment Services

For All Schools

1. 202223 Statewide Testing Schedule and Administration Deadlines
We are pleased to release a detailed MCAS testing schedule for the 2022–23 school year, including registration dates and administration deadlines, as well as the ACCESS for ELLs testing schedule and the submission deadline for the MCAS Alternate Assessment (MCAS-Alt). Districts and schools should review the schedule and contact with any questions.

As noted in the schedule, most windows for completing the Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile (SR/PNP) are two weeks in length. However, the SR/PNP window for the March retests and June high school STE are a little shorter so that we can provide up-to-date information and remove students who pass the November retests and February Biology/Introductory Physics tests, respectively.

Experienced principals will remember that in previous years the schedule included a date for make-up testing for students with extraordinary circumstances who could not participate during the regular make-up window. To help avoid confusion, the schedule for this school year does not contain this date; all make-up testing will need to be completed during the listed make-up testing window.

Additional guidance was provided in the initial release of the schedule.
2. Passwords for the MCAS Service Center Secure Website
School and district passwords for the MCAS Service Center are changed at the close of each calendar year to maintain the site’s security. 

Memos containing passwords for use in 2023 will be posted as a file named MCAS_Service_Center_Password_2023_xxxxxxxx.pdf (where xxxxxxxx is the school or district code)
on January 3, 2023, in the MCAS 2023 Data folder in DropBox Central in the DESE Security Portal.
School principals will receive the passwords for their school in DropBox Central, and district superintendents will receive a list of passwords for all the schools in their district. Paper copies are not being mailed. Once you print your 2023 password, you will need to store it securely. School principals will need to use the new password beginning on January 3, 2023, for ordering MCAS Alternate Assessment (MCAS-Alt) submission materials; the ordering window is January 3–13, 2023. Note: You will retain your 2022 password for use with certain tasks as described in the memo.
Schools that do not see their password in their DropBox by January 3 should contact DESE’s Office of Student Assessment Services (see contact information in the footer of this update). Questions about the MCAS Service Center website can be directed to the MCAS Service Center (also see the footer for their contact information).
3. MCAS BYOD Participation: Notification Deadlines for Winter and Spring 2023
A “bring your own device” (BYOD) policy allows students to use their own devices for instruction. Schools with students who are using their own devices for instruction, and who would like to utilize these devices for MCAS testing in 2023, should email by the following deadlines for instructions on preparing devices:
  • February Biology and Introductory Physics Tests: Friday, December 16, 2022
  • March Retests, Spring Grades 3–8 and 10: Monday, January 30, 2023
Schools who are using BYOD for MCAS for the first time are encouraged to reach out well before the above deadlines to ensure that the student devices can be used for MCAS computer-based testing.
4. Intent to Seek a Waiver from the One-Percent Limit on Alternate Assessments
The Department has issued a Notice of Intent to Apply for an extension of its waiver from the U.S Department of Education’s one-percent limit on the number of students who can take alternate assessments (the MCAS-Alt). Massachusetts has made steady progress in reducing the number of students taking the MCAS-Alt; however, reaching the one-percent threshold may take several more years. In pursuit of this goal, DESE has posted a memo containing guidance and resources on this topic.
The waiver, if granted, will permit DESE to continue to provide oversight, resources, and training to help Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams make informed assessment decisions for students with disabilities.
The Department welcomes the public’s comments regarding its intent to apply for this waiver. Comments may be submitted via email to until Friday, December 16.
5. ACCESS for ELLs
a. Test Setup Window Opens December 1
Test setup will open in WIDA AMS on December 1. Students have been placed in generic test sessions by DRC. ACCESS for ELLs Test Coordinators can verify and change test sessions, update student demographic information (including accommodations), add students who enrolled in their school after the October SIMS submission, or remove students who exited after the October SIMS submission. More information on managing test sessions is available beginning on page 58 of the WIDA AMS User Guide, located within WIDA AMS.
b. Technology Preparations
ACCESS for ELLs Test Coordinators should meet with their technology coordinators to ensure that the DRC Insight Secure Application is installed on each student testing device and has been updated to Version 13. Installers for the DRC Insight Secure Application can be found in WIDA AMS under My Applications > General Information > Technology Downloads.
A Central Office Services Service Device (COS-SD) update took place the night of September 29. Devices that were connected to the internet and left on overnight automatically received this update. To check whether your COS-SD device received the update, view the COS Configuration page in WIDA AMS by following these steps:
  1. Go to My Applications > Central Office Services.
  2. Set the Testing Program to WIDA, click on Select Site, and search for your organization.
  3. Scroll down to the name of your configuration.
  4. If the COS-SD is not up-to-date, you will see the status of the configuration as “Version Outdated;” follow the instructions beginning on page 50 of the Technology User Guide in WIDA AMS to manually update your COS-SD.
Please reach out to DRC Customer Support with any questions at 855-787-9615.

c. Reminder: Test Coordinator Training Workshops
DESE will conduct virtual workshops for new and returning school and district ACCESS for ELLs Test Coordinators in December. Please see the previous update for a list of dates and times.  Registration is now available.
6. Reminder from the Previous Update: MCAS Test Administration Training Sessions
Please see the previous update for a list of training sessions for the spring 2023 MCAS test administrations. Registration for these sessions is available on the Training Opportunities web page.  Note that a new session on writing expectations for the ELA tests, during which DESE staff members will review writing expectations, will be held on December 12.
For High Schools

1. Student Registration for the February Biology and Introductory Physics Tests: Window Opens on December 5
Schools must complete the Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile (SR/PNP) process between December 5 and 16 to register students and order student test materials for the February Biology and Introductory Physics tests. If no students will participate, email the MCAS Service Center by December 16 with the school and district name and code. The MCAS Service Center will be calling high schools that do not complete the SR/PNP and do not contact them before the deadline.
To assist schools in registering students, the Department will place a .CSV file in school and district MCAS 2023 DropBoxes in the DESE Security Portal on December 5. The files are based on October 2022 SIMS and include students in grades 9–11 who have not yet earned their Competency Determination (CD) in STE. Students in grade 12 who are eligible for the modified CD in STE will not be included (see the November 16 Update for information about the current round of the modified CD).
As in prior years, the registration file includes pre-populated accommodations and accessibility features that were used on the most recent spring MCAS administration (2022). Schools must review and update students’ accommodations (e.g., text-to-speech). The February 2023 MCAS administration will be the first time the Introductory Physics test is offered in February as well as the first time that the Biology test is offered in February in a computer-based format, and schools should confirm that the correct next-generation accessibility features as well as accommodations for students with disabilities and EL students are assigned in the SR/PNP.
When registering students, schools should be mindful that high school STE participation guidelines differ by students’ graduating class, as described below:

1. Students must meet the STE graduation requirement that corresponds to their original graduating class. Students' original graduating class is assigned when they first enter a Massachusetts high school (grade 9 for most students). 
  • Students in the original graduating class of 2026 must earn a score of 470 or higher on the Biology or Introductory Physics test.
  • Students in the original graduating classes of 2025 and 2024 must earn a score of 467 or higher on the Biology test or 470 or higher on the Introductory Physics test.
  • Students in the original graduating class of 2023 are eligible for the modified CD in STE.
Additional information about graduation requirements is available on the DESE website.

2. Schools should have a comprehensive plan for which STE tests students will take this school year, including both February and June. Note the following spring 2023 high school STE participation requirements that are dependent on students’ graduating class:
  • Only students in the class of 2025 and earlier (students in grade 10 and above) will be eligible to take the Chemistry and Technology/Engineering tests (in addition to the Biology and Introductory Physics tests). June 2023 will be the last administration of the Chemistry and Technology/Engineering tests; no Chemistry or Technology/Engineering test will be offered in 2024 or beyond.
  • Students in the class of 2026 and beyond will not be eligible to take a Chemistry or Technology/Engineering test in spring 2023. Instead, students in the class of 2026 must participate in a next-generation Biology or Introductory Physics test by the end of grade 10. 
Additional information about the transition to next-generation high school STE tests and MCAS participation requirements is available on the DESE website.
2. Infrastructure Trial Window for the February Biology and Introductory Physics Administration Opens on December 12
The window for conducting an Infrastructure Trial for the February Biology and Introductory Physics administration opens on Monday, December 12. 
An Infrastructure Trial is an opportunity for districts, schools, and students to prepare for MCAS computer-based testing (CBT) by simulating test-day network utilization. 

New for 2023: If your school does not administer a full-scale Infrastructure Trial with students, DESE strongly recommends running a Preliminary System Test. A Preliminary System Test is a small-scale Infrastructure Trial during which several technology or other school staff members sign in to TestNav instead of students and click through each practice test. Conducting a Preliminary System Test will help ensure that secure test content will be accessed on test day, that local device security settings are correct, and that TestNav can run successfully on student devices. An updated Infrastructure Trial Readiness Guide and Best Practices for MCAS Computer-Based Testing will be posted in the MCAS Resource Center by December 12 with further information and instructions.
3. Reminder from the Previous Update: Round 12 Modified CD Data in DropBoxes and Edwin Analytics
The Department has concluded its review of the modified CD Round 12 data that districts certified in the Security Portal during the October 2022 collection window. Information is now available in the DESE Security Portal and in Edwin Analytics. Please see the previous update for further information.
4. Reminder: November Retest Results
For students who took the retest for scholarship purposes, an MCAS next-generation–to–legacy scaled score conversion table and instructions have been posted to the MCAS Resources for Parents/Guardians page. Refer to the previous update for details.

Other Important Dates

Table with Category, date, and item. February Biology and Introductory Physics, December 5–16, Complete the pre-administration SR/PNP process. December 12–January 25, Window to complete Infrastructure Trial. December 19–January 31, Window to update SR/PNP for students participating in CBT.
Additional Resources
MCAS Service Center
for logistical support, including tech support for PearsonAccess Next and TestNav

Phone: 800-737-5103
Student Assessment Services
for policy questions, including student participation

Phone: 781-338-3625
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