A message from the
Massachusetts Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education

March 14, 2023
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News from DESE Student Assessment Services

For All Schools

1. PearsonAccess Next Training Video for Test Administrators
We are pleased to announce that a new PearsonAccess Next (PAN) training video is now available for test administrators. The training video is approximately 12 minutes long and guides test administrators through the features in PAN that they will most often use, including starting and unlocking PAN Sessions, monitoring student tests, and resuming student tests. The video is now available on the MCAS Resource Center. We encourage principals and test coordinators to share this resource with their test administration teams.
This video is intended to supplement the training resources available on the MCAS Resource Center as well as the Slide Template for Training Test Administrators (download link). We welcome your feedback on the video by emailing
2. Availability of TestNav; Requests to Test Outside Regular Hours
To maintain the security of the testing system during the spring administrations, TestNav will be available only during the test administration windows, 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 20 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 20, since schools will need to complete follow-up steps after receiving approval of their requests.
3. ACCESS for ELLs Webinars
The Department has scheduled the following webinars for ACCESS for ELLs test coordinators, EL program directors, and principals to receive important information and ask questions about ACCESS data validation and ACCESS reporting and benchmarks. Dates and times for the webinars are listed below.
  • ACCESS Data Validation – March 23, 2023, 10:00 – 11:00 am – Register here
  • ACCESS Reporting and Benchmarks – May 9, 2023, 10:00 – 11:00 am – Register here
4. MCAS-Alt: Steps to Complete before Submitting MCAS-Alt Portfolios
Principals must complete the following steps prior to submitting MCAS-Alt portfolios on March 31.

Prior to the pick-up date:

a. Prepare each student’s three-ring binder.
Include all required forms and evidence for each student in a single three-ring binder. Label all audio/visual and other unattached materials with the student’s name and SASID.

b. Complete and submit one MCAS-Alt Student Identification Booklet (SIB) for each student who participated in the MCAS-Alt.
  • Complete the SIB according to the instructions enclosed in the MCAS-Alt materials shipped to your school in February.
  • Affix the student’s label on the front cover of the SIB. If you do not have a student label, bubble in the information.
  • Insert the completed SIB in the front inside pocket of each binder.
c. Complete the Materials Summary.
Complete the Materials Summary form received in your school’s shipment of binders and submission materials. Follow the directions on the form in the “After Portfolio Submission” section and approve, sign, and return it with your binder shipment. Make a copy of the completed form for your records.

d. Pack materials for return in the box provided with your February shipment.
Put each student’s binder in a large plastic envelope. Do NOT seal the large plastic envelope. Complete a label like the one shown below for each binder and affix it to the outside of the plastic envelope. Return unused binders and SIBs with your shipment.
Picture of Massachusetts 2023 Alternate Assessment label.
e. Schedule your school’s pickup of MCAS-Alt materials.
Schedule a UPS pickup of materials through the MCAS Service Center no later than 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 30. Materials must be picked up no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 31. If materials are ready for submission before the deadline, schools are encouraged to schedule an early UPS pickup prior to the deadline.

f. Complete Sections 3 and 4 of the online MCAS-Alt Principal's Certification of Proper Administration (PCPA).
To access the online PCPA, please go to, click on “MCAS Alternate Assessment,” then click on “Principal Certification.” Once at the PCPA, please follow the instructions to complete Sections 3 and 4.  After completing all sections, click “Continue to Certification.”  Review the principal certification statements, complete your digital signature, and confirm using the same password used to log in to the PCPA.  Click “I certify that these statements are true,” and then print/save the generated PCPA PDF file for your records.

g. Retain copies of documents at the school. 
This includes packing slips, materials summaries, a printout of the PCPA, and UPS tracking numbers and confirmations.
5. Reminder: Technology Preparations for Spring 2023 Testing
In preparation for the upcoming MCAS administrations, technology coordinators are encouraged to review the 2023 technology specifications, run App Check, verify TestNav configurations, review user profile settings on student devices, and ensure that all TestNav URLs have been added to exempt lists prior to testing. Please see the previous update for further information and instructions.
For Middle Schools

1. Reminder: Spring 2023 Grade 8 Civics End-of-Course Pilot
The Department is recruiting schools to participate in a voluntary MCAS Grade 8 Civics end-of-course (EOC) pilot test for Spring 2023. Schools that participate in this pilot will receive data back on how the school performed on the test questions. The administration window for the end-of-course test will be May 22–June 9, 2023.
If your school is interested in participating, please complete the brief online form by Friday, March 31, 2023. The Department will follow up with interested schools regarding next steps, including instructions on how to register students. Interested schools should also inform their superintendents. Please see the previous update for further information.
For High Schools

1. MCAS Portfolio Appeals Submission Deadline: March 31
As part of the MCAS Performance Appeals process, Portfolio Appeals may be submitted for eligible high school students who have not yet earned their Competency Determination. The next deadline for Portfolio Appeals is March 31, 2023. Portfolio Appeals must be submitted online using the Department’s Security Portal. Please review the guide for online MCAS performance appeals (download link) for information on how to submit the online appeals application. For more information, visit the Performance Appeals page on the DESE website. Questions should be directed to
2. Reminders from the Previous Update
a. Update: March Retest Return of PBT Materials
Please see the previous update for updated procedures for the return of March retest materials, also described in the spring Principal’s Administration Manual (PAM). These instructions update those provided in the fall/winter PAM. Please contact the MCAS Service Center at 800-737-5103 with any questions. 

b. Updated Deadline for Returning PBT Materials for Grade 10 ELA
To accommodate schools that will be closed on April 7 for Good Friday, the automatic UPS pickup (and the shipping deadline) for MCAS grade 10 ELA materials has been rescheduled for Monday, April 10. Please see the previous update for further information. 

c. Round 13 Modified CD Data in DropBoxes and Edwin Analytics
Results from the Round 13 modified Competency Determination (CD) review are now available in the MCAS 2023 Data DropBoxes in the DESE Security Portal in .CSV files (e.g., Modified_CD_round_13_Feb2023_....CSV). The updated Edwin Analytics CD Roster and updated Modified CD memos are also now available. Please see the previous update for further information. Contact with any questions.

Other Important Dates

Table with category, date(s), and item. March Retests, March 14, Mathematics Session 1. March 15, Mathematics Session 2. March 20, Last date for all make-up testing. Deadline to update the SR/PNP and to mark students’ tests complete, if necessary. March 21, (PBT only) Pre-scheduled UPS pickup (and deadline). Spring Grades 3–8, January 30–March 20, Window to conduct a Preliminary System Test and, if needed, an Infrastructure Trial. February 6–March 24 (ELA), February 6–April 21 (Math and STE), Window to update the SR/PNP for students participating in CBT. March 13–23, If necessary, order additional manuals and PBT materials for ELA, and report packing discrepancies for PBT shipments. March 20, Test content available for precaching for schools using ProctorCache. Schools should not precache until one week prior to the start of the testing window for each subject area. March 27–A[ro; 28, ELA testing window (includes make-up testing). Grade 10 ELA , February 6–March 21, Window to conduct a Preliminary System Test and, if needed, an Infrastructure Trial. February 13–March 27, Window to update the SR/PNP for students participating in CBT. March 14, Receive all manuals and PBT materials. March 14–24, If necessary, order additional manuals and ELA PBT materials, and report packing discrepancies for ELA PBT shipments. March 21, Test content available for precaching for schools using ProctorCache. Schools should not precache until one week prior to the start of the testing window for each subject area. March 28, ELA Session 1. March 29, ELA Session 2.
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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