A message from the
Massachusetts Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education

September 8, 2022
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News from DESE Student Assessment Services

For All Schools

1. About This Update
We welcome everyone back for the new school year. The Department typically sends the Student Assessment Update on a biweekly basis to principals, MCAS test coordinators, special education directors, and English learner (EL) program directors based on contact information submitted to the Department.
We encourage you to share this update with your test administration teams or develop a plan for communicating relevant information to them. Individuals who would like to receive the update directly can subscribe by following the link at the bottom of this newsletter.
2. Information for New Test Coordinators
MCAS test coordinators who are starting their role as coordinator this school year are encouraged to reach out to the former test coordinator or the school principal for the following information:
  • instructions on how to contact the district-level Directory Administrator, who can assign a staff member the test coordinator role in DESE's Directory Administration application (The test coordinator will receive MCAS emails, including this update, and have access to Edwin and the Security Portal.)
  • the school password for the MCAS Service Center website
  • school procedures for MCAS testing as applicable
In addition, the MCAS Resource Center, where training materials and practice tests, among other materials, are posted, is a valuable resource. DESE staff will be conducting training for new MCAS test coordinators this fall; see item 4 below.
3. TestNav System Requirements and Updated App Available for 20222023
Schools should review the TestNav system requirements and update operating systems as necessary for the 2022–2023 school year. 

Additionally, the latest annual TestNav release, app version 1.11, is available for download. Districts that did not install this version of TestNav over the summer must install it now for use in the 2022–2023 school year. Please see the TestNav App Update support page for more information.
4. MCAS Training: Introduction to MCAS Computer-Based Testing
Registration is now available for an introductory training on MCAS computer-based testing on September 22 at 9:30 a.m.10:30 a.m. This training session will be geared towards new principals and test coordinators (and those who are looking for a refresher). The session will be presented over Zoom and will be recorded; a recording will be available at the MCAS Resource Center approximately one week after the session. Schools are welcome to submit questions prior to the session via email to
5. MCAS-Alt Fall Training Sessions
Registration will be available soon for educators and administrators to participate in fall training sessions on topics related to the 2023 MCAS-Alt. Please encourage teachers who will be submitting the MCAS-Alt to register for a virtual session(s). Administrators who are supervising teachers conducting the MCAS-Alt should attend the Administrator’s Overview. If an ASL interpreter is needed, please make your request at least 10 days in advance of the session by contacting the MCAS Service Center at 800-737-5103.
6. Reminder: Release of Embargoed Spring 2022 MCAS Results
As a reminder from the September 1 Special Edition Update, preliminary embargoed results from the spring 2022 MCAS test administration are scheduled to be available (see the September 1 update for the specific dates). As described in that update, preliminary data are embargoed and may not be shared outside your organization, with the public, or with school committee members. Please see the previous update for further information.
For Grades 3–8

1. Updated STE Instructional Guidelines for Grades 68
The STE Grades 6–8 Instructional Guidelines have been updated to include additional information about the science and engineering practices (SEPs) and the disciplinary core ideas (DCIs). The document does not include all the standards that will be assessed on MCAS and should not be used as a sole curriculum guide.

The Instructional Guidelines include guidance for instruction and assessment of the standards in the Massachusetts STE Curriculum Framework. These guidelines align with the assessment expectations for the STE MCAS tests

For High Schools

1. Registration for the November Retests: Window Opens on September 19
Schools must complete the Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile (SR/PNP) process between September 19 and 30 to register students and order student test materials for the November retests. If no students will participate, email the MCAS Service Center by September 30 with the school and district name and code. The MCAS Service Center will be calling high schools that do not complete the SR/PNP or do not contact them before the deadline.

Please see the 2022–23 Initial MCAS Testing Schedule for the November retest administration dates.

To assist schools in registering students for the November retests, the Department will place a .CSV file in the MCAS 2022 DropBox in the DESE Security Portal by September 19. The file will include students in grades 11 and 12 (based on June 2022 SIMS) who have not yet earned a passing score on the MCAS ELA and/or Mathematics tests.

New principals or test coordinators who do not have access to PearsonAccess Next (the site used to complete the SR/PNP) should contact other PearsonAccess Next users at their school or district for support. The MCAS Service Center can provide support if there are questions on adding new users (see the contact information in the footer of this update).

The Guide to the SR/PNP Process as well as a training module and accompanying slides will be available by September 19 in the MCAS Resource Center. Additionally, DESE staff will offer a live, remote training session, geared toward new principals (and individuals who would like a refresher); see details in item 2 below.
2. MCAS Training Session for the November 2022 Retests
Registration is now available for the Overview of the Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile training session on September 19 at 9:30 a.m.11:00 a.m. This training session will be geared towards new principals and test coordinators (and those who are looking for a refresher). The session will be presented over Zoom and will be recorded; a recording will be available at the MCAS Resource Center approximately one week after the session. Schools are welcome to submit questions prior to the session via email to
3. Infrastructure Trial Window for the November Retest Administration Opens on September 26
The window for conducting an Infrastructure Trial for the November retest administration opens on Monday, September 26. 
An Infrastructure Trial is an opportunity for districts, schools, and students to prepare for MCAS computer-based testing (CBT) by simulating test-day network utilization. This “dress rehearsal” will help to confirm the following:
  1. TestNav is configured correctly.
  2. If precaching, the ProctorCache machine is properly configured to deliver test content to devices.
  3. Devices can successfully run TestNav.
  4. Participating staff know how to monitor and manage a computer-based MCAS test.
  5. Students are familiar with the computer-based tools and format.
If your organization has previously successfully administered school-wide CBT, and you are able to confirm the five bulleted items above, your organization may not need to conduct an Infrastructure Trial.

If one or more items in this list cannot be confirmed, or if your technology setup has significantly changed since the last CBT administration (including schools that will be using Bring Your Own Device for the first time), an Infrastructure Trial is recommended.

Updated versions of the Infrastructure Trial Readiness Guide and Best Practices for MCAS Computer-Based Testing will be available on or around September 26 in the MCAS Resource Center to assist schools in their preparations for the November MCAS administration.
4. Process to Request a Waiver from the MCAS CBT Expectation for November Retests: Submit by September 21
High schools will be administering the November retests online. Districts/organizations with unique, extenuating circumstances may apply to instead administer next-generation paper-based testing for all students for this administration by September 21, for any of the following reasons: 
  • Technology constraints or related issues make computer-based testing unfeasible.
  • All students will take paper-based tests as an accommodation.
Please note the following:
  • Requests should be submitted at the district/organization level and must be approved by the superintendent/director.
  • Requests may be made at a granular level by school, grade, and subject (e.g., School A is requesting a waiver for November because this grade is being housed in a temporary location while the new school is being built).
To request a waiver, please fill out this survey by Wednesday, September 21. Please reach out to with any questions.
5. Spring 2023 MCAS Chemistry and Technology/Engineering Tests Available Only for Class of 2025 and Earlier
As a reminder, in January 2022, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to phase out the legacy, paper-based MCAS Chemistry and Technology/
Engineering tests
 due to low enrollment numbers.
In June 2023, only students in the class of 2025 and earlier (students in grade 10 and above) will be eligible to take the Chemistry and Technology/Engineering tests. Students in the class of 2026 and beyond (students in grade 9 and later classes) will not be eligible to take a Chemistry or Technology/Engineering test; instead, students in grade 9 must participate in a next-generation Biology or Introductory Physics test by the end of grade 10. June 2023 will be the last administration of the Chemistry and Technology/Engineering tests. No Chemistry or Technology/Engineering test will be offered in 2024 or beyond. 
More information about MCAS high school STE testing eligibility is available on the MCAS STE Transition Information webpage.  
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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