See the update from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on January 5th, 2021regarding MCAS test administration and school/district accountability.

The Department will take the following steps to modify testing this spring: 

Modify the Competency Determination for the Class of 2021: The make-up MCAS administration window for 12th graders scheduled to open on January 14th will be postponed. I will recommend to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education(Board) that the competency determination (CD) requirement be modified in English language arts and mathematics for students in the Class of 2021 who have not yet earned their CD.1 The recommended modification would allow students to receive their CD by passing an approved course and demonstrating competency in that subject in lieu of a qualifying MCAS score. Seniors who still want to take the tests may take them later this school year. Members of the class of 2021 will have opportunities to receive additional academic support this spring and summer.

Shortened MCAS testing time for Grades 3-8: The Department will significantly reduce testing time for students in grades 3-8 through a session sampling approach, in which each student will take only a portion of each MCAS assessment in each subject. This modified MCAS administration will preserve the validity and reliability of the test at the school, district, and state levels. When combined with other data points, this approach will provide meaningful diagnostic data at the individual student level.

Accountability relief: I will not name or recommend to the Board any new underperforming or chronically underperforming districts or schools in the upcoming school year. The Department will also consider any available flexibilities provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

Extending ACCESS testing window: ACCESS testing for English language proficiency is key to strengthening education programs for English learners. As previously announced, the Department is extending the testing window for ACCESS, which normally concludes in February, until May 20, 2021.

MCAS Biology test: The Department has provided school districts flexibility on scheduling the high school biology MCAS test. Schools may offer the biology MCAS to first-time 9th graders in June, instead of or in addition to offering it in February.

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