A message from the
Massachusetts Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education

February 1, 2022
Student Assessment Update banner/logo

News from DESE Student Assessment Services

For All Schools

1. MCAS Trainings
a. Recordings of MCAS Trainings Now Available and Upcoming Dates
Recordings of the following MCAS trainings are now available on the MCAS Resource Center, along with their accompanying slides.
  • Overview of the Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile (SR/PNP) Process – January 13, 2022
  • MCAS Accessibility and Accommodations – January 19, 2022
  • Spring 2022 MCAS Grade 8 Civics Pilot Overview – January 11, 2022      
  • Infrastructure Trials for Technology Coordinators – January 20, 2022
  • Infrastructure Trials for Test Coordinators – January 20, 2022
Recordings and slides from the following trainings will be posted soon:
  • MCAS Test Security and Administration Protocols for Returning Staff – January 27, 2022
  • Pre-Administration Tasks for Technology Staff – February 1, 2022
Registration is still available for the trainings listed below. Sessions will be recorded, and the recordings will be available at the MCAS Resource Center approximately one week after the training date. Schools are welcome to submit questions prior to the sessions via email to
Please note that the date for Tasks in PearsonAccess Next During and After Testing has changed to March 14. Additionally, due to the snowstorm this past weekend, the MCAS Test Security and Administration Protocols training session for new staff has been rescheduled for this Friday, February 4.
Table with Training, Date, and Time. MCAS Test Security and Administration Protocols for New Staff, Friday, February 4, 9:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m. Tasks in PearsonAccess Next Before and During Testing, Tuesday, March 8, 9:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m. Tasks in PearsonAccess Next During and After Testing, Tuesday, March 14, 9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
In addition to the trainings offered this winter, new principals and test coordinators may find the Introduction to Computer-Based Testing for New Staff session (previously recorded) to be of particular assistance. All principals and test coordinators are encouraged to participate in the appropriate MCAS Test Security and Administration Protocols training session, especially those who have not run an MCAS administration before.

b. Slides for Training Test Administrators
The Department will post sample training slides in early February to the MCAS test administration page to assist schools in training their test administrators for the spring administration. The slides contain the test security and test administration protocols that should be covered during training as well as placeholder text for schools to customize based on their specific local procedures and plans. Schools are not required to use the Department’s slides; they are provided as a resource so that schools do not have to create training materials from scratch.
2. Test Administration Manuals for Spring 2022
We are pleased to announce that the spring 2022 MCAS Principal’s Administration Manual (PAM) and the Test Administrator’s Manual for Computer-Based Testing are now available on the DESE website. The Test Administrator’s Manual for Paper-Based Testing will be posted on the DESE website later this week.

Experienced principals are encouraged to review the updates for 2022 listed on pages iv–v of the PAM, and all principals are encouraged to review the checklist of tasks beginning on page 42 of this manual as they begin their preparations for the spring administrations.

Shipments of hard copy manuals
  • Grades 3–8 schools will receive a shipment on March 14 that includes manuals for administering all subject area tests.
  • High schools will receive a shipment on March 8 containing manuals for both the grade 10 ELA and the grade 10 Mathematics tests. A second shipment of manuals for administering the high school STE tests will arrive on May 24.
Each school receives one copy of the Principal’s Administration Manual. Each school also receives one copy of each Test Administrator’s Manual for every 15 students, based on the school’s Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile (SR/PNP). Additional copies of manuals can be downloaded from the website linked above or, alternatively, a school may contact the MCAS Service Center to request additional copies.
3. ACCESS for ELLs
a. Ordering Additional Test Materials and District/School Labels
The deadline for ordering additional ACCESS test materials using WIDA AMS is February 25. Please attempt to limit additional orders to one order per school. Before ordering additional materials, be sure that you have enough District/School labels to place on the additional test materials. A small supply was included in the initial materials shipment which should be used before ordering additional labels. If additional District/School labels are needed, email for information. District/School labels are mailed separately from the additional materials. For information on labeling and returning test materials, see the Massachusetts State Specific Directions. We remind districts that ACCESS testing must be completed by March 4, with test materials returned no later than March 8. Arrangements should be made by schools to securely store materials over the February school break.

b. Grades 13 Writing Booklets
Schools that have completed testing are encouraged to return their Grades 1-3 Writing Test Booklets as early as possible. Returning Writing test booklets to DRC early helps support the quality of ACCESS for ELLs scoring and ensures that score reports are not delayed.
4. MCAS-Alt March Portfolios-in-Progress (PIP) Review Sessions
Registration will be available beginning the week of February 7 for educators wishing to attend a virtual MCAS-Alt Portfolios-in-Progress review session in March (see schedule below). Please encourage teachers who will be submitting the MCAS-Alt to register for a session. 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.

Virtual Portfolios-in-Progress sessions will be held on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, March 2
  • Friday, March 4
  • Tuesday, March 8
  • Thursday, March 10
  • Monday, March 14
  • Wednesday, March 16
5. Reminders from the Previous Update
a. Deadline to Submit the Spring 2022 MCAS SR/PNP: February 4
The Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile (SR/PNP) window for ordering materials for the spring 2022 grades 3–8 and 10 tests in ELA and Mathematics and grades 5 and 8 STE closes on February 4. Please see the previous update for further details. 

b. Infrastructure Trial Windows Now Open
The windows for conducting an Infrastructure Trials for the March retest and grades 3–8 and 10 administrations are now open.  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. Please see the previous update for further information. 

c. Technology Support Prior to Computer-Based Testing
Technology coordinators are able to schedule one-on-one support from Pearson's support specialists (i.e., Field Services Engineering) prior to each test administration, between now and March 25.  They may use this website to schedule “office hours” support for a 15-, 30-, or 60-minute phone meeting. Please see the previous update for further information.
For Grades 3–8

1. Grade 8 Civics Assessment Pilot and Practice Test
The Department has extended the deadline for schools to sign up for the 2022 grade 8 civics assessment pilot. If your school is interested in participating, please complete the brief online form by February 7. Please see the January 10 Special Edition Update for further information.
In addition, practice performance assessment tasks and end-of-course test questions from the grade 8 civics assessment pilot given in 2021 are now available.
Schools with questions about the civics pilot may be interested in viewing the recording of the Spring 2022 MCAS Grade 8 Civics Pilot Overview. Additionally, schools may reach out to the Department’s Student Assessment Services with other questions about the pilot (see contact information in the footer of this update).
For High Schools

1. Returning February Biology Materials Minor Update
Schools will notice that a UPS Return Service label has been placed on each Return Envelope, in which used answer booklets are packed. In the unlikely case that a school’s return shipment is damaged in transit, the label on the envelope will assist UPS in routing the booklets to Cognia for scoring as soon as possible. All envelopes containing used answer booklets must be returned in the original shipping carton.
Instructions for packing and returning February Biology materials are included in the Principal’s Administration Manual: Fall 2021/Winter 2022 beginning on page 40. Please contact the MCAS Service Center at 800-737-5103 or with any questions.
2. John and Abigail Adams Scholarship Letters Available for November 2021 Retest Results
High schools with students in the class of 2022 who participated in the November 2021 retest for scholarship purposes and qualified for a John and Abigail Adams Scholarship will soon be receiving a delivery of award letters for those students. The letter is important because students must provide a copy of it, along with their completed FAFSA application, to their college’s financial aid office each year in order to use the award. Without this letter, the college/university will not apply the tuition credit. 

The letters and data files are scheduled to be available in the formats listed below on the following dates:
Table with Delivery Format and Delivery Date. .CSV files in the MCAS 2022 Data Folder in DropBox Central, on the DESE Security Portal; for reference, round one letters (based on spring 2021 results) will be posted to the same folder. The files will be named Adams_Scholarship_Class2022_Round1_xxxxxxxx.csv and Adams_Scholarship_Class2022_Round2_xxxxxxxx.csv, February 14. PDF versions on the MCAS Service Center, March 8. Paper copies in district offices, March 10.
Schools will need to take the following steps:
  • Retain electronic or paper copies of the letters for future reference.
  • Designate an individual in the school to be the point of contact for the letters.
  • Inform students of the person at the school whom they can contact with any questions about the scholarship or the letter.
3. Reminders from the Previous Update
a. Final Opportunity for Grade 12 Students to Participate in MCAS for Scholarship Purposes
In recognition of 2021 being a disrupted school year, DESE is permitting students in the classes of 2022 and 2023 to participate in the March 2022 MCAS retests for scholarship purposes. All students attempting to qualify for the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship and/or the Stanley Z. Koplik Certificate of Mastery must have MCAS scores in ELA and Mathematics. Please note that the March retest is the final opportunity for students in the class of 2022 (current seniors) to participate in MCAS for scholarship purposes. Please see the previous update for further information.

b. Results from November Retests
As a reminder, results from the November retests are scheduled to be available as indicated below. Please see the December 14 Update for further information.
Table with Scheduled Delivery Date and Items. February 4, .CSV files posted in DropBoxes in the DESE Security Portal. February 11, Student Rosters and other Interactive reports available in Edwin Analytics. February 28, Parent/Guardian Reports (one paper copy) delivered to district offices. February 28, Next Generation Parent/Guardian Reports in PearsonAccess Next.

Other Important Dates

Table with Category, Date(s), and Item. February Biology Administration, February 2, Biology Session 1. February 3, Biology Session 2. February 7, Last date for regular make-up testing. February 8, Deadline for updating SR/PNP information, if necessary. Deadline to complete the PCPA. February 9, Pre-scheduled UPS pickup (and deadline). ACCESS for ELLs (Dates were updated Jan. 7), December 2–March 4, WIDA AMS test setup. January 4–February 25, Order additional materials, if necessary. January 6–March 4, ACCESS for ELLs test sessions. March Retests, January 24–March 2, Review Best Practices document, and if recommended, download ProctorCache software and conduct an Infrastructure Trial (both suggested in certain circumstances). February 1–March 8, Extended pre-administration SR/PNP window for CBT. Spring Grades 3–8, January 24–February 4, Complete the pre-administration SR/PNP process. January 31–March 14, Review Best Practices document, and if recommended, download ProctorCache software and conduct an Infrastructure Trial (both suggested in certain circumstances). Spring Grade 10 ELA and Mathematics, January 24–February 4, Complete the pre-administration SR/PNP process. January 31–March 8, Review Best Practices document, and if recommended, download ProctorCache software and conduct an Infrastructure Trial (both suggested in certain circumstances).
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
Deeper Learning Logo
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education logo
Copyright © 2022 Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, All rights reserved.
Principals, MCAS test coordinators, special education directors, and EL program directors will receive the update automatically. See this page for details. For others wishing to receive this update, please subscribe
Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can
update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Twitter Facebook You Tube Website