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Massachusetts Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education

January 12, 2023
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News from DESE Student Assessment Services

For All Schools

1. Upcoming Windows for the Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile
Schools will need to complete the Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile (SR/PNP) for 2023 MCAS testing according to the schedule below. (High schools should note that, in addition to the SR/PNP windows listed below, the SR/PNP window for STE will begin in mid-April. Note that the March Retest SR/PNP window is also shorter than usual in order for the November Retest results to be included in the Department's .CSV file.)
Test Administration First Date to Submit the SR/PNP Deadline to Complete the Pre-Administration SR/PNP*
Spring grades 3–8 January 23 February 3
March Retests January 30 February 7
Spring grade 10 ELA and Mathematics January 30 February 10
* Schools must submit the SR/PNP by the pre-administration deadline to receive an on-time initial shipment of manuals as well as PBT materials for students who require them. Schools doing paper-based testing will not receive Student ID Labels for students registered in PearsonAccess Next (PAN) after this initial SR/PNP deadline. (Note that for CBT there is an extended SR/PNP window as described in the testing schedule; schools should familiarize themselves with the different purpose for each window.)
Guidance on submitting the SR/PNP was provided during the January 12 Overview of the SR/PNP training session; the recording will be posted in approximately one week. Schools may also refer to the SR/PNP module and the Guide to the SR/PNP. More information for each administration will also be shared in future updates. 
2. PAN Passwords and Accounts: Confirm Accounts at this Time
School and district staff who had access to PearsonAccess Next (PAN) during the previous school year should sign in to PAN to make sure their accounts are still active. If you are able to sign in to your account successfully, no further action is needed at this time. Staff who receive an error message upon sign-in will need to reset the password to enable the account.

Test coordinators will need to create accounts for users in both the PAN live site and PAN training site. While the sites offer similar functionality, they have two different purposes.
  • The PAN training site (brown background) is available prior to test administration to conduct Infrastructure Trials. The PAN training site does not contain live student data or results. School staff may also use the training site as a place to practice completing PAN tasks.
  • The PAN live site (blue background) is used for operational testing. This is where live student data is stored, and where the SR/PNP is submitted.
Test coordinators, technology coordinators, and test administrators should be sure to check that they are using the correct site for training and operational tasks.
Principals should refer to the Pre-Administration Guide for information on creating and updating PAN accounts.
Contact the MCAS Service Center with questions. 
3. Updates to the MCAS TestNav Tutorial and the Grades 5 and 8 STE Practice Tests
The MCAS TestNav Tutorial has been updated to include information about different types of test questions that are used on all tests.
In addition, two new TestNav features, arrow interactions and animations, have been developed for the Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) tests in grades 5 and 8 and in high school. An example of each new feature is available on both the tutorial and practice tests.
  • Arrow interactions: In questions with the arrow interaction feature, students will draw arrows on a graphic to complete a model. In the tutorial, navigate to question 50 for directions on how to draw and edit the arrow, and to practice with this question type. This same question appears in the grade 5 STE practice test as item 24.
  • Animations: Questions with animations will include a short video followed by a question. Students can pause and replay the animation as needed. Animations may be used with any question type. Question 16 on the grade 8 STE practice test shows an animation paired with a multiple-choice question. Question 49 of the tutorial also has an example of an animation without a question, for students to practice with the video controls. Please note, although the instructions in the tutorial mention an audio slider, there is no sound in these MCAS items.
We encourage teachers to share these new features with their students in grades 5 and 8 and at the high school level.
4. MCAS Test Administration Training Sessions
Registration is available for all the test administration training sessions for spring 2023 MCAS testing. We hope to have a representative from a local district share their perspective during some of the sessions; more information will be provided as details are confirmed. To help prepare themselves, new principals and test coordinators are encouraged to review the Introduction to Computer-Based Testing training from September 2022 as well as the MCAS Pre-Administration Guide prior to participating in the winter training sessions. 

We also invite schools to submit questions in advance of the trainings to help us identify specific areas of interest and topics that are important to principals and test coordinators. Please see the November 16, 2022 Student Assessment Update for further information.
5. Access to the Security Portal
The Department frequently receives requests for assistance from school and district staff who need access to the Security Portal to retrieve MCAS-related information in Edwin Analytics and/or DropBox Central. Approved users should contact their organization's Directory Administrator to request access to the Security Portal. Schools, districts, and outplacements such as collaboratives and special education schools have one or more Directory Administrators within their organization who maintain access to the Security Portal. If your Directory Administrator is not available, you can open a support ticket at by filling out the appropriate information and selecting "MassEdu Gateway/Security Portal" from the Subject drop-down menu. If you have any questions, please send an email to ESEDirectoryAdministrator@Mass.Gov.
6. ACCESS for ELLs
a. ACCESS for ELLs Test Setup
Schools may now begin their ACCESS test setup in WIDA AMS, where ACCESS Test Coordinators can verify and update student test sessions, update student demographic information (including accommodations), and remove or add students who have newly enrolled, recently exited EL status, or transferred out of the school since October SIMS was reported to DESE. See the November 10, 2022 EL Assessment Update for more information.  

b. DESE-Ordered ACCESS Test Materials
As a reminder, DESE uploaded student-level Pre-ID files in WIDA AMS for students reported in October SIMS for the purpose of pre-ordering ACCESS test materials for each school. Students in the Pre-ID file were placed in generic online test sessions. Paper test materials were ordered for kindergarten students and for students with disabilities who took the paper-based test last year. Materials should have arrived in schools on January 3. Copies of Pre-ID files showing which students were included are available in DropBox Central in the Security Portal, in the “ACCESS Data 2023” folder. Schools may want to review these files during the test setup window (now open) and make any changes needed in WIDA AMS. More information on managing test sessions is available in the WIDA AMS User Guide

c. ACCESS for ELLs Assessment Resources 
The presentation slides for the recent 2023 ACCESS for ELLs Test Coordinator Training Workshops are available in PDF format on the Massachusetts state page on the WIDA website, under the “Manuals, Guides and Workshops” drop-down menu (click “+” to expand). This training reviewed test administration procedures, technology requirements, and test administrator training and certification.  

The ACCESS for ELLs Online Checklist and ACCESS for ELLs Paper Checklist are also available on the Massachusetts state page on the WIDA website. These resources list the tasks that Test Administrators, School Test Coordinators, and District Test Coordinators should conduct before, during, and after ACCESS for ELLs testing. Other helpful resources are available on the DESE ACCESS for ELLs web page, including the Principal’s Pre-Administration Manual: Tasks to be Completed in 2022–2023 and the Massachusetts State-Specific Directions for ACCESS for ELLs Administration 2022–2023

d. Alternate ACCESS for ELLs Field Test
Schools are asked to take part in the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs field test beginning next month. Students who meet the criteria in the Participation Guidelines: Which Students Should Take the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs? will be invited to participate, including kindergarten students who otherwise meet the criteria. Materials for the field test will arrive in schools on February 7, and field testing will take place February 14–April 17. All students who take the Alternate ACCESS will participate in the current test as usual during the regular ACCESS testing window (January 5 –February 10). Participating students will also take the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs Field Test. Test administrators should take the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs training in the WIDA Secure Portal prior to administration, which includes additional information about the Field Test. The additional training material takes about 15 minutes to complete.
More information will be provided as we approach the field test administration window. For up-to-date information about the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs Field Test, please visit
For questions about participation in the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs Field Test, please email
7. Reminders from the Previous Update
a. Process to Request a Waiver from the MCAS CBT Expectation
Schools are expected to administer all winter and spring MCAS tests online. Districts/organizations with unique or extenuating circumstances may instead apply to administer next-generation paper-based testing for all students by filling out this survey by Friday, January 13. Please see the previous update for further information and contact with any questions. 

b. MCAS-Alt Submission Materials and January Review Sessions
MCAS-Alt submission materials can be ordered from now until January 13, 2023. Ordering these materials is separate from the student registration process for MCAS testing. Please check with teachers in your school to verify the number of students taking the MCAS-Alt in each grade. Please see the previous update for instructions for ordering materials.
Registration is now available for MCAS-Alt review sessions in January. Please encourage teachers who will be submitting the MCAS-Alt to register for a session. Please see the previous update for further information.
For Middle Schools

1. Reminder: Volunteer Schools Needed for Grade 8 Civics End-of-Course Pilot for Spring 2023
The Department is developing a new grade 8 civics assessment based on the 2018 Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework. For spring 2023, we are recruiting schools to participate in a shortened end-of-course pilot test. The purpose of the pilot is to provide data on test questions to schools. We will be sharing more information in an upcoming Student Assessment Update.
For High Schools
1. Update: No ASL Edition for February Biology and Introductory Physics
There will be no ASL edition embedded in the computer-based February Biology and Introductory Physics tests. Instead, schools should prepare to administer accommodation A6.1 (human signer), according to the instructions on page 21 of the Accessibility and Accommodations Manual. The Fall/Winter Principal’s Administration Manual will be updated to reflect this correction. In addition, the Guide to the SR/PNP has been updated. The ASL edition will be produced for the June administration of these tests as well as grade 10 Mathematics. Questions should be directed to
2. CD Status for High School Students in MCAS 2023 DropBoxes
To help users prepare for the next round (#13) of the Modified CD window later this month and the spring 2023 grade 10 ELA and Mathematics SR/PNP process, the Department placed a .CSV file  in school and district MCAS 2023 Data DropBoxes. This file lists the CD status as of January 1, 2023, for students reported as enrolled in grades 9, 10, 11, 12, and SP in October 2022 SIMS. A file layout is also included. Additional information about Round 13 of the Modified CD will be provided in a future update.
3. Reminder from the Previous Update: Results from the November Retest
Results for the November retest are scheduled to be available as indicated below.
Information Delivered Scheduled Delivery Date
.CSV files posted in DropBoxes in the DESE Security Portal January 27
Student Rosters and other Interactive reports available in Edwin Analytics February 3
Parent/Guardian Reports (one paper copy) delivered to district offices March 3
Parent/Guardian Reports in PearsonAccess Next, in Published Reports, at the school level March 3
Please see the previous update for further information.

Other Important Dates

Table with Category, Date(s), and Item. February Biology and Introductory Physics, December 12–January 25, Window to complete Infrastructure Trial. December 19–January 31, Window to update SR/PNP for students participating in CBT. January 25, Receive manuals and PBT materials. January 25, (Optional) If using ProctorCache, precache operational test content. January 25–30, If necessary, order additional manuals and PBT materials, and report packing discrepancies for PBT shipments. ACCESS for ELLs, January 3–February 3, Order additional materials, if necessary. January 5–February 10, ACCESS for ELLs test sessions. March Retests, January 23–March 1, Window to conduct an 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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