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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS)

Education Reform Law of 1993. This law specifies that the testing program must
  • test all public school students in Massachusetts, including students with disabilities and English Language Learner students;
  • measure performance based on the Massachusetts Curriculum Framework learning standards;
  • report on the performance of individual students, schools, and districts.
As required by the Education Reform Law, students must pass the grade 10 tests in English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics and one of the four high school Science and Technology Engineering tests as one condition of eligibility for a high school diploma (in addition to fulfilling local requirements).
Additional information regarding MCAS may be found at http://www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/.

General MCAS Performance Level Definitions

Performance Level Description
Advanced (A) Students at this level demonstrate a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of rigorous subject matter and provide sophisticated solutions to complex problems. (Scores 260-280)
Proficient (P) Students at this level demonstrate a solid understanding of challenging subject matter and solve a wide variety of problems. (Scores 240-258)
Needs Improvement (NI) Students at this level demonstrate a partial understanding of subject matter and solve some simple problems. (Scores 220-238)
Warning/Failing (W) Students at this level demonstrate a minimal understanding of subject matter and do not solve simple problems. (Scores 200-218)


ACCESS for ELLs (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners)

Federal and state laws require that English language learner (ELL) students be assessed annually to measure their proficiency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking English, as well as the progress they are making in learning English. In fulfillment of these laws, ELL students are required to participate in ACCESS for ELLs tests, which replaced MEPA tests, beginning in the 2012-2013 school year. 
ACCESS for ELLs will be administered once annually in January-February. ACCESS for ELLs tests are based on the WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment) English Language Development standards. 
Additional information regarding ACCESS may be found at http://www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/access/.


NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)

Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) are computerized adaptive assessments that provide educators with information they can use to improve teaching and learning. MAP tests provide highly accurate results that can be used to: identify the skills and concepts individual students have learned; diagnose instructional needs; monitor academic growth over time; make data-driven decisions at the classroom, school and district levels; and place new students into appropriate instructional programs. In addition, the MAP tests are state-aligned and may be used as an indicator of preparedness for state assessments. MAP test results are timely; educators have the information they need when it's needed most, not months later. Individual student scores are reported in RITs (Rasch Unit) and are available immediately following a test. A student's RIT score is then assigned a performance level in one of three categories: Warning, Basic or Proficient. These scores provide teachers and school administrators with information about the mastery and instructional levels of each student. School level results are provided by grade as the number and percent of students in each performance level. Students in grades K-10, enrolled at schools that have selected MAP as their diagnostic, take MAP assessments in reading and mathematics in the fall, winter and spring of the school year. 
Additional information regarding NWEA MAP may be found at https://www.nwea.org/.



i-Ready Diagnostic adapts to each student, providing easier or harder questions depending on students’ answers to previous questions. By adapting across grades K–12, i-Ready Diagnostic helps teachers understand the root causes behind student challenges. This is especially beneficial for providing differentiated instruction and for identifying gaps spanning back multiple years, or for determining where students are ready for further challenge. i-Ready Diagnostic assesses student performance across the key domains in reading and mathematics for grades K–12, providing a valid and reliable measure of student growth with detailed diagnostic results and individualized next steps for instruction. iReady results are available immediately after a student finishes testing. A student is given a scaled score and grade level equivalent. Students in grades K-8, enrolled at schools that have selected iReady as their diagnostic, take iReady assessments in the fall, winter and spring of the school year.
Additional information regarding iReady may be found at http://www.curriculumassociates.com/products/iready/diagnostic-instruction.aspx.


MKEA & Teaching Strategies Gold

In collaboration with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, EEC is implementing the Massachusetts Kindergarten Entry Assessment (MKEA) system, which will support school districts in using a formative assessment tool that measures growth and learning across all developmental domains during the child’s kindergarten year.  As part of the MKEA initiative, school districts will use a formative assessment tool that is evidence based and aligned with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.  EEC has identified Teaching Strategies-GOLD System as the assessment tool.  Teaching Strategies GOLD is an online portfolio assessment system for children from birth through kindergarten designed to help teachers: observe and document children’s development and learning over time; support, guide, and inform planning and instruction; identify children who might benefit from special help, screening, or further evaluation; and report and communicate with family members and others.  Teaching Strategies GOLD also enables to teachers to (1) collect and gather child outcome information as one part of a larger accountability system and (2) provide reports to administrators to guide program planning and professional development opportunities.  Teaching Strategies GOLD addresses the following Developmental Domains: (1) Social-Emotional, (2) Physical, (3) Language, (4) Cognition, (5) Literacy, (6) Mathematics, (7) Science and Technology, (8) Social Studies, (9) The Arts, and (10) English Language Acquisition.
Additional information regarding MKEA may be found at http://www.mass.gov/edu/birth-grade-12/early-education-and-care/mkea/.

Achievement Network (ANet)

ANet interim assessments help teachers understand what students know and are able to do with respect to the common core standards. ANet assessment questions align to the standards and format of state summative assessments (MCAS).  This helps teachers understand the standards students are mastering and the ones they aren’t. They go well beyond right and wrong—they provide information about which students are succeeding or struggling, with what, and why.  ANet reports provide timely, actionable, and student-specific data. These specific, targeted data are powerful tools teachers can use to help and empower each of their students. In other words, these are assessments for learning, not assessments of learning. Students in grades 2-8, enrolled at schools that have selected to use ANet interim assessments, are tested four times throughout the school year. 
Additional information regarding ANet may be found at http://www.achievementnetwork.org/.

Coordinator of Assessment
Kristyn Rice
(978) 975-5905 x25671