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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/.

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 Sullivan
(978) 975-5905 x25671