A message from the
Massachusetts Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education

February 7, 2023
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News from DESE Student Assessment Services

For All Schools

1. Recordings of MCAS Trainings Now Available and Upcoming Dates
Recordings of the following MCAS trainings are now available on the MCAS Resource Center, along with their accompanying slides. 

Under “Recordings of Trainings to Assist with Pre-Administration Tasks”:
  • Pre-Administration Tasks for Technology Staff – January 31, 2023 (to be posted soon)
  • Overview of Infrastructure Trials for Principals and Test Coordinators – January 24, 2023
  • Overview of Infrastructure Trials for Technology Coordinators – January 20, 2023
  • MCAS Accessibility and Accommodations
    • For returning staff – January 17, 2023
    • For new staff – January 18, 2023
  • Overview of the Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile (SR/PNP) Process – January 12, 2023
Under “Recordings of Trainings to Assist with Tasks to Complete During and After Testing”:
  • MCAS Test Security and Administration Protocols
    • For new staff – January 25, 2023
    • For returning staff – January 23, 2023
Registration is still available for the trainings listed below. Sessions will be recorded, and the recordings will be available at the MCAS Resource Center approximately one week after the training date. Recordings of the 2022 trainings will remain posted until the new ones are available. Schools are welcome to submit questions prior to the sessions via email to
Training Date Time
PearsonAccess Next (PAN) Tasks for Accessibility and Accommodations Tuesday, February 28 9:30–10:30 a.m.
Tasks in PAN Before Testing Wednesday, March 1 9:30–11:00 a.m.
Tasks in PAN During Testing Tuesday, March 7 9:30–11:30 a.m.
Tasks in PAN After Testing Friday, March 10 9:30–10:30 a.m.
2. Technology Preparations for the March Retests and Spring 2023 Testing
For both the upcoming March retests and the spring tests for grades 3–8 and 10, principals should meet with their technology coordinators and complete the technology preparations listed in Appendix A of the Principal’s Administration Manuals (PAMs): Principals are also encouraged to review the 2023 technology specifications with their technology coordinators to confirm that their school’s devices can be used for the March retests and spring 2023 MCAS computer-based tests (CBT). Any technology coordinators who did not participate in the Pre-Administration Tasks for Technology Staff webinar held on January 31 should view the recording that will be posted soon
Additionally, schools that are considering updating the operating systems on their testing devices should first confirm whether the update is supported by TestNav. Schools are encouraged to run a Preliminary System Test or an Infrastructure Trial after an operating system update to ensure that TestNav continues to operate smoothly with the update applied. Technology coordinators are encouraged to schedule a call with Pearson’s technology support specialists if they have questions about operating system updates.
Note for high schools: if you successfully completed computer-based testing for the February STE administration, you may not need to run an Infrastructure Trial unless there will be significant changes to your technology setup prior to the March retests or spring testing. Technology coordinators and principals should review the steps in the PAM and conduct a Preliminary System Test prior to the next test administration.
3. Resources for Preparing Students for Computer-Based Testing: Student Tutorial and Practice Tests
Schools are encouraged to administer the student tutorial and practice tests to students, including students who have previously participated in CBT. In addition to the tutorial, schools can use the grade 10 practice tests at the MCAS Resource Center to prepare students for the March retests.

Practice tests are available online and can also be accessed via the TestNav app. More information is provided in the Fall/Winter PAM (pages 33–34) and the Spring PAM (pages 38–39). A third way to access the practice tests is through the Infrastructure Trial; more information on these practice tests is available in the Infrastructure Trial Readiness Guide

4. MCAS-Alt March Review Sessions
Registration is now available for MCAS-Alt review sessions in March. Please encourage teachers who will be submitting the MCAS-Alt to register for a session. Educators have a choice of attending an in-person or a virtual review session. If an ASL interpreter is needed, please request one by February 17 by contacting
5. ACCESS for ELLs
a. ACCESS for ELLs: End of Testing Window and Returning Materials
ACCESS testing must be completed by February 10, with test materials returned no later than February 14.  Schools that have completed testing are encouraged to return their Grades 1–3 Writing Test Booklets as early as possible. Returning the Writing Test Booklets early helps support the quality of ACCESS for ELLs scoring and the timely reporting of results. 

b. Alternate ACCESS for ELLs Field Test: Additional Materials Orders
Field Test materials will arrive in schools on February 7. Additional materials may be ordered beginning February 7 by filling out the Additional Materials Order (AMO) form. Students should be tested between February 14 and April 17, and materials should be returned no later than April 19 (or April 14 for schools that take the April vacation week off). To ensure that students can be tested before the testing window closes, schools should order additional materials at least one week in advance of the return date. Please see the previous update for further information, including information on participation guidelines.
6. Reminders from the Previous Update
a. SR/PNP Deadlines
The pre-administration SR/PNP windows for ordering CBT and PBT materials for the March retests and the spring grades 3–8 administration have been extended to February 8. The pre-administration SR/PNP window for the grade 10 ELA and Math administration will close on February 10. See the previous update for further information.
b. New MCAS Service Center Chat Feature; Fax Discontinued
Schools may now communicate with MCAS Service Center representatives during regular business hours using a live chat feature to receive support in addition to phone and email. Live chat is available from the MCAS Resource Center in the footer of any page as well as the PAN home page on the right-hand side of the screen in the “Contact Us” section. Additionally, the MCAS Service Center is no longer receiving faxes. See the previous update for further information.
c. Infrastructure Trial Windows for Spring Administrations
The windows for conducting an Infrastructure Trial for the March retests and spring grades 3–8 and 10 tests are now open.  An Infrastructure Trial is an opportunity for districts, schools, and students to prepare for CBT by simulating test-day network utilization. See the previous update for further information, including new guidance on Preliminary System Tests.
For High Schools

1. Availability of TestNav; Requests to Test Outside Regular Hours for the March Retests
To maintain the security of the testing system during the March 2023 retests, TestNav will be available only during the test administration window, and only between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on those days.
To request permission to conduct testing outside the hours given above (e.g., an evening high school that would like to begin testing after 4:00 p.m.), the principal should email by March 1 with the following information: 
  • school and district names and codes
  • specific days/times being requested for testing
  • reason for request
  • PAN Session Name(s)
It is important that requests be submitted by March 1, since schools will need to complete follow-up steps upon receiving approval of their requests.
2. Updated Electronic Parent/Guardian Report Date for the November Retests
Electronic versions of Parent/Guardian reports for the November retests will be available on February 15, approximately two weeks earlier than previously announced in the January 12 Student Assessment Update. The reports will be available at the school level in PAN on the Published Reports page for users with the PAN role of Principal, School Test Coordinator, or District Test Coordinator. The dates for the delivery of paper versions of the reports and the availability of interactive reports in Edwin Analytics are unchanged. See the table below for specific dates. 
Information Delivered Scheduled Delivery Date
Student Rosters and other Interactive reports available in Edwin Analytics February 3
Parent/Guardian Reports available in PearsonAccess Next, in Published Reports, at the school level February 15 (updated)
Parent/Guardian Reports (one paper copy) delivered to district offices March 3
3. John and Abigail Adams Scholarship Letters Available for November 2022 Retest Results
High schools with students in the class of 2023 who participated in the November 2022 retest for scholarship purposes and qualified for a John and Abigail Adams Scholarship will soon be receiving an eligibility list and award letters for those students. In order to receive the scholarship, students must notify the financial aid office of the Massachusetts public college or university to which they have been accepted, and must complete the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The Adams Scholarship eligibility letters and data files (round 2), based on October 2022 SIMS enrollment, are scheduled to be available on the dates in the table below.  
Information Delivered Scheduled Delivery Date
.CSV files in the MCAS 2023 Data folder in DropBox Central on the DESE Security portal at; for reference, round one letters (based on spring 2022 results) will be posted to the same folder. The files will be named
Adams_Scholarship_Class2023_Round1_xxxxxxxx.csv and
February 14
PDF versions of letters available at March 2
Paper copies of letters delivered to district offices March 9
Schools will need to take the following steps:
  • Retain electronic or paper copies of the letters for future reference.
  • (Recommended) Designate an individual in the school to be the point of contact for the awards.
  • Inform students of the person at the school whom they can contact if they have any questions about the scholarship or the letter.
4. Reminder: Modified CD Round 13 Update
The deadline for this round of the modified Competency Determination (CD) certification is February 17. DESE intends to review submissions and issue CDs to eligible students in late February. A Frequently Asked Questions document and the list of DESE-identified courses that fulfill the modified CD requirements are available on our website. Please see the previous update for further information, and direct questions about the data submission process to the Office of Data Analysis and Reporting at

Other Important Dates

Table with Category, Date(s), and Item. February Biology and Introductory Physics, February 7, Last date for all make-up testing. Deadline for updating SR/PNP information and marking students’ tests complete, if necessary. February 8, (PBT only) Pre-scheduled UPS pickup (and deadline). ACCESS for ELLs, January 5–February 10, ACCESS for ELLs test sessions. March Retests, February 9–March 7, Window to update SR/PNP for students participating in CBT. January 23–March 1, Window to conduct a Preliminary System Test and/or Infrastructure Trial. Spring Grades 3–8, January 30–March 20, Window to conduct a Preliminary System Test and/or Infrastructure Trial. February 9–March 24 (ELA), February 9-April 21 (Math and STE), Window to update SR/PNP for students participating in CBT. Grade 10 ELA, February 6–March 21, Window to conduct a Preliminary System Test and/or Infrastructure Trial.
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
Schedule a Call with Technology Support Specialists
available prior to test administration
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