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A message from the
Massachusetts Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education

September 1, 2021
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Special Edition

News from DESE Student Assessment Services

For High Schools

1. Registration for the November Retests: Window Opens on September 20
Schools must complete the Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile (SR/PNP) process between September 20 and October 1 to register students and order student test materials for the November retests.

Please see the 2021-22 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 2021 DropBox in the DESE Security Portal by September 20. The file will include currently enrolled grade 11 students who were enrolled in grade 10 as of the June 2021 SIMS and who have not yet earned a passing score on the MCAS ELA and/or Mathematics tests. Grade 12 students who wish to participate for scholarship purposes should be added to the .CSV file for registration. Schools should review the file to be sure that students have been assigned to either the next-generation retest or legacy retest, according to the guidelines below. Current grade 10 students should participate in the spring 2022 administration.

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 20 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 4 below.
2. Participation Guidelines for the November 2021 MCAS Retests in ELA and Mathematics
Retests will be offered in November in both next-generation and legacy formats for ELA and Mathematics. November 2021 will be the last administration during which legacy retests will be available in ELA and Mathematics; only next-generation retests will be offered in March 2022 and in subsequent years.
 
The table below describes student participation guidelines for the November 2021 MCAS retests in ELA and Mathematics.
Table with participation guidelines for the November retests. Participation Guidelines for the  Next-Generation November 2021 MCAS Retests. Eligible to participate: Students who are repeating grade 10, Students in grade 11, including students who had a medically documented or other absence when in grade 10, Students in grade 12, if their curriculum and preparation better align to the standards and design of the next-generation tests, Adults seeking to earn their CD, if their preparation better aligns to the standards and design of the next-generation tests. Not eligible to participate: Grade 9 students, First-time grade 10 students. Participation Guidelines for the Legacy November 2021 MCAS Retests. Eligible to participate: Students who are repeating grade 11, including students who had a medically documented or other absence when in grade 10 or 11, Students in grade 12, if their curriculum and preparation better align to the standards and design of the legacy tests, Adults seeking to earn their CD, if their preparation better aligns to the standards and design of the legacy tests. Not eligible to participate: Grade 9 students, First-time grade 10 students, First-time grade 11 students.
Students should participate in the November retests for any of the following reasons: 
  • If they are attempting to qualify for the Adams Scholarship (The Adams Scholarship is based on first-time test scores and these criteria.)
  • If they are attempting to qualify for the Koplik Certificate of Mastery with Distinction Award (The Koplik Award is based on a student’s highest scores and these criteria.)
  • If they have not yet met CD requirements for either ELA or Mathematics (CD requirements vary by class)
Schools should note that students who were absent in spring 2021 have the option of participating for scholarship purposes in either the November 2021 or March 2022 retests (or both, for CD purposes or for Koplik eligibility). Schools should inform parents/guardians of these options, and note that participation in November may be a better option for most students participating for Adams or Koplik eligibility, since results from the March retests may not be available in time to make college decisions.
 
Schools should also note that students should participate in ELA and Mathematics in the same format (both subjects should be next-generation, or both subjects should be legacy). 
3. Infrastructure Trial Window for the Next-Generation November Retest Administration Opens Monday, September 27
The window for conducting an Infrastructure Trial for the next-generation November retest administration opens on Monday, September 27. 
 
An Infrastructure Trial is an opportunity for districts, schools, and students to prepare for MCAS CBT by simulating test-day network utilization. This “dress rehearsal” will help to confirm the following:
  • TestNav is configured correctly.
  • If precaching, the ProctorCache machine is properly configured to deliver test content to devices.
  • Devices can successfully run TestNav.
  • Participating staff know how to monitor and manage a computer-based MCAS test.
  • 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 27 in the MCAS Resource Center to assist schools in their preparations for the next-generation November MCAS administration.
4. MCAS Training Sessions for the November 2021 Retests
Registration is now available for the November retest training sessions. Descriptions of the sessions and the intended audience for each session are listed below. All of the sessions will be presented over Zoom and will be recorded; recordings will be available at the MCAS Resource Center approximately one week after each session. Please note that, although the Overview of the Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile training will include general information for new principals and test coordinators, staff who are new to those roles may also want to review the Introduction to Computer-Based Testing for New Staff training from November 20, 2019. Though some information from that training may not be current, it does include a more thorough overview of MCAS computer-based testing, as well as a demonstration of infrastructure trials from local school and district staff.  
CONTACT
MCAS Service Center
for logistical support, including tech support for PearsonAccess Next and TestNav

Email: mcas@cognia.org
Phone: 800-737-5103
Student Assessment Services
for policy questions, including student participation

Email: mcas@doe.mass.edu
Phone: 781-338-3625
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