A message from the
Massachusetts Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education

March 29, 2022
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News from DESE Student Assessment Services

For All Schools

1. Resources and Support during Testing
High schools across the Commonwealth have been successfully administering grade 10 ELA testing (any last make-up testing for extraordinary circumstances must be completed on March 31). We thank you and your test administration teams for all your hard work to make this happen! With the start of spring MCAS testing, the MCAS Service Center has been experiencing a higher-than-usual call volume. To help reduce wait time, schools are reminded that the following resources are available. 

In addition to the resources that were provided in the February 15 edition of the Student Assessment Update about preparing for testing, the recordings and slides from the two Tasks in PearsonAccess Next (PAN) training sessions (Tasks in PAN Before and During Testing on March 8, and Tasks in PAN During and After Testing on March 14) are now posted to the Training page in the MCAS Resource Center. Both trainings contain slides that show the timelines for tasks that principals/test coordinators and test administrators must complete, and these selected slides are available here in the MCAS Resource Center. Please also see these Spring 2022 MCAS Test Administration FAQs for answers to frequently asked questions.
The slides from the trainings, as well as Appendix A of the Principal’s Administration Manual, describe troubleshooting steps and guidance for situations that may occur during testing.
We have posted additional FAQs that address questions on handling accommodations that were not assigned correctly, moving students between or adding students to PAN Sessions, enrollment transfer requests, PAN user accounts, and policy guidance.  
2. Early Return Deadline for Paper-based Testing (PBT) for Grades 38 ELA, Grade 10 Mathematics, and High School STE
For grades 3–8 ELA, grade 10 Mathematics, and high school STE, in order for students’ results to be included in the early-reporting data, schools will need to return paper-based testing materials before the scheduled automatic UPS pickup date (note that this does not affect computer-based testing). Materials returned after the early-reporting deadline will be included in the regular reporting of results. There is no early deadline for grades 3–8 Mathematics and STE, because PBT results will be included in the same round of reporting as computer-based testing.
Administration PBT Early Reporting Deadline Regular Deadline for PBT
Grades 3–8 ELA Schedule UPS pickup by noon on Tuesday, April 26; UPS pickup by Wednesday, April 27 Automatic/prescheduled pickup on May 3
Grade 10 Mathematics Schedule UPS pickup by noon on Monday, May 23; UPS pickup by Tuesday, May 24 Automatic/prescheduled pickup on Friday, May 27  
High School STE Schedule UPS pickup by noon on Thursday, June 9; UPS pickup by Friday, June 10  June 14
Schools are encouraged to return materials by the early reporting deadline or prior to the regular deadline if testing has been completed. To reschedule the automatic pickup, go online to Schools should contact the MCAS Service Center with any questions on returning materials (see contact information in the footer of this update).
3. Updating Operating Systems
As a reminder, student testing devices must be updated to an operating system that meets the TestNav System Requirements. Schools that attempt to use an unsupported or beta version of an operating system may experience errors in TestNav as well as security issues. Schools using Chromebooks for MCAS testing should see this additional technical bulletin. School principals/test coordinators are asked to share this information with their technology coordinators.  
4. "Web Extension" Compatibility with iPads for Students with Accommodations
The “web extensions” for the use of speech-to-text and word prediction accommodations are now supported on iOS (iPad), in addition to Windows, Mac, and Chromebook operating systems. The web extensions are not currently supported on Android. Please refer to the Assistive Technology Guidelines for MCAS for additional information. Note: The Web Extension SR/PNP designation can be changed after a student opens the computer-based test. It is not necessary to create a new test to remove or add the web extension SR/PNP designation for computer-based ELA, High School Biology, or Grades 5 and 8 STE MCAS tests.
5. ACCESS for ELLs Pre-Reporting Data Validation: April 1119, 2022
The pre-reporting data validation window provides an opportunity for schools to correct demographic errors for students who participated in the 2022 ACCESS tests. This will be the only opportunity to correct the information listed below before ACCESS results are released in WIDA AMS on May 19 and mailed to schools on May 24. Uncorrected errors may result in duplicate student records and incomplete test results. Please make arrangements for the ACCESS test coordinator or other designee to review and correct the following information between April 11–19 as needed: 
  • First and last names (Look for incorrect spelling, hyphens, or multiple names for the same student.)
  • SASID (Ensure that local identification numbers are not listed in place of SASIDs.)
  • School
  • Birthdate
  • Enrolled grade
  • Correct missing or incorrect accommodations used by the student
  • Correct missing or incorrect “Do Not Score” codes (e.g., “SPD”) (Note: A description of Do Not Score codes can be found in the Massachusetts State-Specific Directions for ACCESS for ELLs Administration 2021–2022.)
Please email with any questions.
6. Reminders from the Previous Update
a. Update on Returning Materials for PBT 
Schools doing PBT will receive small, flat boxes for the return of materials. Instead of using the original shipping cartons to return materials as instructed in the Principal’s Administration Manual, schools should use the small, flat boxes. Please see the previous update for further information. 

b. MCAS-Alt Reminder
All MCAS-Alt portfolios must be shipped from schools no later than 5:00 p.m. on April 1. This includes shipments of MCAS grade-level portfolios (for students in grades 3–8) and competency portfolios (for students in high school). Schools should schedule their UPS pickup online no later than 3:00 p.m. on March 31. For more information on preparing the MCAS-Alt assessments for submission, see the March 15 SAS update. Information about MCAS grade-level and competency portfolios is available here.
7. Special Shout-Out to Students
A special shout-out to Malden High School for their teamwork and camaraderie around grade 10 MCAS testing – and their musicality! We loved hearing their school’s jazz band serenading sophomores on their way in to school for MCAS testing.
For High Schools

1. High School STE SR/PNP Window and Participation Guidelines
The initial window to complete the Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile (SR/PNP) for the high school STE MCAS administration will be April 4–15. In preparation, schools should review these additional participation guidelines for the high school STE tests. Principals and test coordinators are also encouraged to review the Overview of the SR/PNP training from January 13, as well as the Guide to the SR/PNP Process. More information will be shared in a future update. 
2. Desmos Calculator Update on the Introductory Physics Computer-Based Test
The Desmos scientific calculator embedded in the computer-based Introductory Physics MCAS practice test is not working properly when solving equations for Newton’s law of gravitation and Coulomb’s law. This issue will also occur on the June 2022 test. If a student encounters a question on the June test that requires solving these equations, they will see the following message: “For this question only, do not use the Desmos Scientific Calculator. You may use the other calculators available to you.” Two other scientific calculators are embedded in the computer-based test for students to use, and the Department also strongly recommends that students have access to a handheld scientific calculator. The Desmos calculator is expected to be updated for future administrations after June 2022. 
3. Translations of MCAS Parent/Guardian Reports from the November Retests
DESE has posted the templates of the MCAS Parent/Guardian reports from the next-generation and legacy November retests in English, and translations will be posted soon. The legacy template will be available in Spanish, and the next-generation template will be available in the following languages: Chinese (Traditional), Haitian Creole, Crioulo, Portuguese, and Spanish. Translations will be posted soon, and are available upon request by emailing Reports were delivered to districts in early March (see the March 1 Update for the schedule), and school principals may wish to share the translations later this month with parents/guardians.
4. Reminder from the Previous Update: MCAS Portfolio Appeals Submission Deadline: April 1
Portfolio Appeals must be submitted online using the Department’s Security Portal by April 1, 2022. Please review the PowerPoint guide for information on how to submit the online appeals application. Questions should be directed to

Other Important Dates

Table with Category, Date(s), and Item. Spring Grade 10 ELA, March 30, Last date for regular make-up testing. March 31, Deadline for updating SR/PNP information and marking students’ tests complete, if necessary. April 1, For PBT accommodations: pre-scheduled UPS pickup (and deadline). Spring Grades 3–8, February 7–March 25 (for ELA), February 4–April 22 (for Math/STE), Extended pre-administration SR/PNP window for CBT. March 28–April 29, ELA testing window.
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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