The 2021 MCAS data has more noise than a Red Sox-Yankees game.
On September 21, 2021 the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education published the school and district aggregate for MCAS Mathematics, English Language Arts and Science, Technology and Engineering tests from the spring 2021 test administration.
This was the first time students in grades 3 and 4 took the MCAS as tests were cancelled in 2020. Students in grades 5-10 had not seen the inside of the testing platform since 2019. Many students set foot in a school for the first time since March 2020 only to be handed an MCAS test in the first week back while other students took the test remotely at home.
Before wading through the data, readers might want to consider the following complications for the MCAS data this year. You don’t have to take our word for it.
- Districts (and their communities) were assured that MCAS data would not be used for school and district accountability purposes
- Students in grades 3 – 8 took one session of each MCAS test. The test sessions were assigned randomly
- All four of the options of the high school STE test were paper-based tests give only in-person to 9th or 10th graders. Meanwhile, the ELA and math MCAS were computer-based tests
- Students only need to respond to one question to be counted as “participating”
- Students in grades 3-8 had the option of taking the MCAS remotely. Just under 20% of students in grades 3-5 took one or more MCAS test session remotely rather than in-school
See more from DESE:
2021 Next Generation MCAS Achievement Results
MCAS Release Memo from Commissioner 9-21-21
2021 MCAS Results Presentation to Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
And don’t forget “student growth percentiles.” DESE updated the process for calculating students’ SGP just in time for the parent reports. Take a look at the process behind the 2021 Student Growth Percentile calculations here.
Did we miss anything? Let us know if there are other documents related to the 2021 MCAS data that we can add to this list.