A message from the
Massachusetts Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education

April 28, 2023
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News from DESE Student Assessment Services

For All Schools

1. Resources and Support during Testing
With spring MCAS testing underway, we are offering reminders about available resources. In addition to the resources from the previous update, a consolidated list of spring test administration FAQs is available. Additional questions can be added; please email with any questions you would like us to consider adding.  
2. TestNav on Chromebooks: Check Managed Status and Update Blocklist URLs
DESE was recently made aware of two potential test security risks in TestNav on Chromebooks.

a. It is currently possible to bypass security settings on a Chromebook by performing a series of complex processes that include resetting the device and then reconfiguring it as unmanaged. To avoid this issue, technology coordinators should check that student devices are in managed status prior to testing, and should ensure that each device is set to force re-enrollment as a managed device after it is powerwashed/wiped and restarted. Please see additional information and step-by-step instructions in Pearson’s Technical Bulletin from April 20.

b. On Chromebooks that have content filtering applied after device sign-in, users are currently able to bypass content filtering using third-party sign-in pages to TestNav. To avoid this issue, technology coordinators should ensure that the proper URLs are added to the blocklist configuration settings. Please see the Technical Bulletin from March 14 for a list of URLs and further information.
3. Reminders from Previous Updates
a. Verify Accommodations Prior to Testing
To avoid a situation that might cause a test to be voided or results to be invalidated, principals and test coordinators should follow the instructions for verifying accommodations prior to testing, as described in the Principal’s Administration Manual (PAM) on page 49. Test administrators are prompted to check students’ accommodations prior to testing in the “Before Students Arrive” section of each script in the Test Administrator’s Manual for Computer-Based Testing. Additional information and resources are available in the previous update

b. Manuals Shipments
Schools are reminded that they should keep the manuals received in their ELA shipment for Mathematics and grades 5 and 8 STE testing. High schools will receive a second shipment of manuals for high school STE testing. 

c. Middle Names in PAN for Grades 3–8
Students with no middle initial were mistakenly listed with the middle initial “N” in the original spring 2023 grades 3–8 SR/PNP files that DESE placed in DropBoxes. This has been corrected by DESE directly in PAN. No steps are required by schools or districts.
d. Clarification on Using the Speech-to-Text Accommodation
The embedded web extension for speech-to-text is not available for Mathematics or Introductory Physics due to its incompatibility with the Equation Editor answer box used for constructed responses. Students with accommodation A10.2 for these tests may use their own speech-to-text devices on a separate computer, or they may use a scribe.
e. ACCESS for ELLs Reporting and Benchmarks Webinar
Registration is still available for the ACCESS for ELLs Reporting and Benchmarks webinar, which will be held on May 9, 2023, from 10:00–11:00 am. During the webinar, ACCESS for ELLs test coordinators, EL program directors, and principals will receive important information and have the opportunity to ask questions about ACCESS reporting and benchmarks. 

f. MCAS-Alt Submission Follow-Up
If they have not yet done so, principals must now complete Sections 3 and 4 of the online MCAS-Alt PCPA. To access the online PCPA, go to, click “MCAS Alternate Assessment,” and then click “Principal Certification.”
For Grades 3–8

1. Grades 38 ELA Testing Ends on April 28: Complete Steps after Testing
Schools are reminded that the ELA testing window for grades 3–8 ends on April 28. Schools should plan to complete all testing, including all make-up testing, on or before this date.
As testing is completed, principals should follow the instructions listed in the Tasks to Complete after Test Administration section of the PAM, starting on page 56, including the following:
  • checking that all computer-based student tests in PAN are in Complete or Marked Complete status (Schools will need to mark tests complete for students who did not complete testing and have at least one test session with a status of Exited, Resumed, or Resume-Upload, including students who started testing but did not finish; see details in step 8 on page 58 of the PAM.)
  • checking that all PAN Sessions are stopped (See page 59 of the PAM.)
  • updating PAN for students who were absent (See page 132 of the PAM.)
The deadline to complete these tasks for grades 3–8 ELA is May 1.
For High Schools

1. Results from the March 2023 Retest
Results for the March 2023 retest are scheduled to be available as indicated below. Results from retests are not embargoed and can be shared with students, families, and staff.
Information Delivered Scheduled Delivery Date*
.CSV files posted in the MCAS 2023 Data DropBox, in the DESE Security Portal May 2
Student Rosters and other interactive reports available in Edwin Analytics May 9
Electronic Parent/Guardian Reports posted in PearsonAccess Next May 16
Paper Parent/Guardian Reports (one copy) delivered to district offices May 24
* All dates are tentative
2. Reminder about the Updated CD Standard in Biology for Students in the Class of 2026
When reviewing results from the February STE tests, note that students in the class of 2026 must meet a different Competency Determination (CD) standard in Biology and a corresponding higher minimum scaled score than students in the classes of 2025 and earlier. To help identify the appropriate CD standard for students in these classes, the Department is including students' original graduating class (and appropriate CD status) on the Parent/Guardian Report. Below is an excerpt of the February STE Parent/Guardian Report that shows how a student’s graduating class will be presented (without yellow highlighting). Note that the CD standard for Introductory Physics is the same for the class of 2026 as it is for the classes of 2025 and earlier. See the April 11, 2022 Student Assessment Update or the Department's Graduation Requirements page for more detailed information.
Image of February 2023 MCAS STE Tests Parent/Guardian Report.
3. Reminders from the Previous Update
a. Deadline to Register Students for the High School Science and Technology/Engineering Tests: May 2
Schools must complete the SR/PNP process by May 2 to register students for the high school STE test administration. All high schools must complete the SR/PNP process by May 2 to receive an on-time shipment of paper-based test materials as well as manuals for CBT and PBT. If no students in your school will participate in high school STE testing this Juneemail this information to the MCAS Service Center with your school and district name and code. Please see the April 12 Special Edition Student Assessment Update for further information. 

b. MCAS/EPP Mathematics Test for Spring 2023
An Educational Proficiency Plan (EPP) is required for Massachusetts public high school students in the class of 2023 and beyond who have not yet earned the next-generation MCAS equivalent of a score of Proficient or higher on the grade 10 MCAS ELA and/or Mathematics test(s). The MCAS/EPP Mathematics test is an option for students in the classes of 2023 and 2024 to successfully complete the mathematics assessment portion of their EPPs (other assessment options are described on DESE’s website). The window to administer the Mathematics MCAS/EPP test is April 24–May 5, 2023, and secure MCAS/EPP Mathematics tests are now posted to MCAS EPP DropBoxes in the DESE Security Portal. Please see the previous update for further information, including participation guidelines.

Other Important Dates

Table with Category, Date(s), and Item. Spring Grades 3–8, March 27–April 28, ELA testing window (includes make-up testing). April 24–May 26, Mathematics testing window (includes make-up testing). April 25–May 26, STE testing window (includes make-up testing). May 1, ELA: Deadline to update the SR/PNP information and to mark students’ tests complete, if necessary. May 2, ELA: (PBT only) Pre-scheduled UPS pickup (and deadline). Grade 10 Mathematics, February 13–May 15, Window to update the SR/PNP for students participating in CBT. May 2, Receive Mathematics PBT materials. May 2–12, If necessary, order additional manuals and Mathematics PBT materials, and report discrepancies for PBT shipments. May 9, Test content available for precaching for schools using ProctorCache.
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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