MCAS Tech Preparation

What is MCAS 2.0?

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) is in the process of upgrading MCAS to better measure the critical thinking skills students need for success in the 21st century.

The new test, informally called "Next-Generation MCAS," will build upon the best aspects of the MCAS assessments that have served the Commonwealth well for the past two decades. The test will include innovative items developed by PARCC, along with new items specifically created to assess the Massachusetts learning standards.

Next-Generation MCAS are designed to be taken on a computer. The plan is to phase in computer-based testing so that computer-based tests are fully administered statewide in 2019, with many students participating as well in 2017 and 2018.

The development of Next-Generation MCAS will focus on:

    • Combining PARCC, MCAS, and newly developed items into new ELA and math tests
    • Creating stronger alignment to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks
        • Introducing writing in response to text at all grades
        • Developing and implementing new types of items that more deeply assess the standards
        • Assessing Massachusetts-specific standards
    • Developing a consistent set of performance standards across all grades
    • Phasing in computer-based testing
    • Developing an appropriate sequence of tests for high school to gauge college and career readiness
    • Setting standards for the 10th grade Competency Determination (CD) tests in English language arts and math, beginning with the class of 2021, to provide reliable feedback on whether students are on track for success after high school. (The current MCAS remains a requirement through the class of 2020.)

(Information collected from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education)

Transitioning to MCAS 2.0

2017: All students in grades 3-8 will be transitioning to MCAS 2.0 in the spring.

    • Students in grades 4 and 8 will be participating in the computer-based administration of MCAS 2.0.
    • Students in grades 3, 5, 6, and 7 will be taking the paper-based version of MCAS 2.0.
    • Students in grade 10 will be given the current MCAS test. Transition to MCAS 2.0 will not occur until the class of 2021 (this year’s eighth graders).

2018: All students in grades 4, 5, 7, and 8 will be participating in the computer-based administration of MCAS 2.0.

    • Students in grades 3 and 6 will take the paper-based version of MCAS 2.0.
    • Students in grade 10 will be given the current MCAS test. Transition to MCAS 2.0 will not occur until the class of 2021.

2019: All students in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 will be participating in the computer- based administration of MCAS 2.0.

2017 Test Schedule Grades 3-8

ELA test session window April 3rd – May 3rd

Math test session window April 4th – May 26th

STE test session window (5 and 8) April 5th – May 26th

(Information collected from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education)

Test Design

English Language Arts

Some parts of the MCAS 2.0 assessment will remain the same.

    1. Students will be given reading passage sets (both Literary and informational) to complete.
    2. All test questions are based on the given reading passages.

Some parts of the MCAS 2.0 will be new for students.

    1. The test will be computer based. (see Transitioning to MCAS 2.0)
    2. MCAS 2.0 will include new question types.
    3. Writing will be embedded within the ELA test at all grade levels and connected to the reading passages

Mathematics

Some parts of the MCAS 2.0 assessment will remain the same.

    1. Students will participate in two sessions.
    2. Certain test item types will remain the same. (Multiple-choice, short- answer, and open-response)
    3. The number of open-response items per grade will remain the same. (4 per grade level)

Some parts of the MCAS 2.0 will be new for students.

    1. The test will be computer based. (see Transitioning to MCAS 2.0)
    2. MCAS 2.0 will include new item types.
    3. Calculator restrictions for grades 7-8.
        • Grade 7: A five-function calculator is allowed (Session 2 only)
        • Grade 8: A scientific calculator is allowed (Session 2 only)
    4. The number of points in grade 3 has increased.
    5. Students will not be using tool kits as on previous tests.
    6. Updated reference sheets for will be available for grades 5-8.

(Information collected from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education)


Helping your Student at Home

The following are suggested links to websites and resources that may assist your child in preparing for MCAS 2.0. In addition, your child’s teacher will also spend time throughout year exposing your child to sample questions, passages, and practice tests so that they are prepared to participate in the spring testing sessions.

Student Tutorial & Practice Tests

Keyboarding Resources: