A message from the
Massachusetts Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education

October 19, 2022
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News from DESE Student Assessment Services

For All Schools

1. Resources for Computer-Based Testing
New principals and test coordinators who were unable to attend the “Introduction to Computer-Based Testing” training session can now view the recording on the MCAS Resource Center. New for this school year, recordings of webinars from the 2022–23 school year contain “chapter breaks” within each recording, which allow viewers to navigate between different parts of the trainings. 
As mentioned in earlier updates, principals and test coordinators (particularly individuals who are new to these roles) are encouraged to review the new Pre-Administration Guide to begin preparations for both fall and spring test administrations.

Beginning with the November 2022 retest administration, TestNav and PearsonAccess Next (PAN) are being updated with several new features. Please see the Updates to TestNav and PearsonAccess Next document for detailed information, which will be available soon on the Updates for 2022–23 web page on the DESE website. 
2. Reminder from the Previous Update: Spring 2022 Parent/Guardian Reports and Translations Now Available
Parent/Guardian Reports from the spring 2022 MCAS administration are now available (see the previous update for details). 
Paper copies have now been delivered to district offices and may be distributed to parents/guardians. Shipments include the Report Template for the ten most frequent non-English languages statewide (Arabic, Cape Verdean, Chinese [Traditional], French, Haitian Creole, Khmer, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese). To assist districts and schools in determining the number of translations to distribute, the Department has placed a data file (“MCAS2022_PG_Translation_Counts_[orgcode].csv”) in DropBox Central, in the DESE Security Portal with estimated translation counts based on SIMS.
Additionally, the MCAS Parent/Guardian Report templates in English and other languages are now available. Schools may also want to direct families to the web version.
For High Schools

1. Manuals and Training Slides for the November Retests Now Available
We are pleased to inform you that the test administration manuals for the November retests are now available. PDF excerpts from each manual are also available now, including scripts for test administrators. In addition, schools may find that excerpts of the Principal’s Administration Manual (PAM) are useful to share with staff for easy reference, including the following PAM sections:
  • a checklist of tasks to complete for testing
  • test security requirements
  • accessibility and accommodations (to share with IEP/504 teams and others)
  • procedures related to student information and guidance on reporting (to share with data staff and others)
In addition to these PDFs, on November 2, schools will receive one copy of the Principal’s Administration Manual, and one copy of each Test Administrator’s Manual (TAM) for every 15 students, based on registration in the Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile (SR/PNP).
Sample training slides for training test administrators and other staff are also now available. Use of the slides is not required, but training in preparation for each test administration is required. Principals who develop their own training slides may want to view them to confirm they have included all topics for training test administrators and other staff for the November retests. The slides contain the test security and test administration protocols, procedures for test administrators to follow in PearsonAccess Next during testing, as well as placeholder text for schools to customize based on their specific local procedures and plans.
Questions about policies contained in these materials should be directed to the Office of Student Assessment Services, and questions about logistics should be directed to the MCAS Service Center (see contact information in the footer of this update).
2. Technology Preparations for November 2022
At this time, principals should meet with their technology coordinators and complete the technology preparations listed in parts G and H of the Pre-Administration Guide and Appendix A of the PAM. Additional preparations are described below. Note that aside from technology specifications, minimal changes have been made since spring 2022 MCAS testing.

Technology coordinators are also encouraged to review the 2022–23 technology specifications and network requirements to confirm that their school’s devices can be used for November 2022 MCAS computer-based testing and that their school’s network is configured appropriately.

a. Special Instructions for Schools Using Tablets
If your school is using iPads or tablets, it is important to meet with technology staff to determine whether wired keyboards will be needed. Presentation issues arise when using iPads and other tablets during testing, such as test content “jumping” when the internal keyboard appears and having less space to view the prompt while writing an essay. The Department recommends using a wired, external keyboard for testing to help mitigate these issues. If wired keyboards will be used, students should be given the opportunity to practice using them during the Student Tutorial and while taking practice tests.

b. Chrome OS Updates
Schools that are considering updating the operating systems on their testing devices should first confirm that the update is supported by TestNav. Schools are encouraged to run an Infrastructure Trial after an operating system update to ensure that TestNav will continue to operate smoothly with the update applied.

c. Reminder to Complete an Infrastructure Trial for Computer-Based Testing
The Department recommends that schools conduct an Infrastructure Trial as described in the Infrastructure Trial Readiness Guide prior to actual testing to confirm that the network is functioning as expected and that students and staff are familiar with testing procedures. 

Prior to conducting an Infrastructure Trial, schools should review the ProctorCache RecommendationsBest Practices for MCAS Computer-Based Testing, and the Infrastructure Trial Readiness Guide. Technology staff are encouraged to set up a call with Pearson’s Technology Support Specialists for help setting up or debriefing after the Infrastructure Trial.

As a reminder, to prepare for the Infrastructure Trial, schools should use the brown PAN training site, which is separate from the blue PAN site used for operational test administration.
3. John and Abigail Adams Scholarship Letters
High schools will soon be receiving a delivery of letters for students who have qualified to receive the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship based on their MCAS scores. The letter is important because students who use the scholarship must provide a copy of the letter along with their completed FAFSA application each year. Without this letter, the college/university will not apply the tuition credit. 
The Adams Scholarship eligibility list for the class of 2023 (round 1), based on June 2022 SIMS enrollment, is scheduled to be available on the dates in the table below.  
Information Delivered Scheduled Delivery Date
List of eligible students available to principals and superintendents in the MCAS 2022 Data folder in DropBox Central on the DESE Security portal at October 14
Electronic versions of award letters available at  October 27
Paper copies of award letters delivered to district offices November 8

Schools will need to do the following:
  • Make copies of the letters for students' files for future reference.
  • (Recommended) Designate an individual in the school to be the point of contact for the letters.
  • Inform students of the name of the person at the school whom they can contact with any questions about the scholarship or the letter.
A round 2 eligibility list will be available in February 2023, based on November retest results and October 2022 SIMS enrollment.
4. Reminders from the Previous Update
a. November Retest Participation Guidelines
Schools should review the participation guidelines for the upcoming November retests and share the information with school guidance counselors and others as needed. As a reminder, November will be the last opportunity for students in the class of 2023 to qualify for the Adams scholarship or Koplik Award. Please see the previous update for further information.
b. PearsonAccess Next Passwords and Accounts: Confirm Accounts at This Time
School and district staff who had access to PearsonAccess Next 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. Principals should review the User Role Matrix and the Guide to Managing User Accounts in PearsonAccess Next for guidance on creating user accounts. Please see the previous update for further information.
c. Availability of TestNav; Requests to Test Outside Regular Hours
To maintain the security of the testing system during the November 2022 retests, TestNav will be available only during the test administration windows, and between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday–Friday on those days. To request permission to conduct testing outside the hours given above, the principal must email by October 26.  Please see the previous update for further information.

Other Important Dates

Table with category, date(s), and item. November retests. September 26-November 1, Window to conduct an Infrastructure Trial. October 3-November 8, Window to update SR/PNP for students participating in CBT. November 2, Receive manuals and PBT materials.
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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