In an update from Commissioner Chester, we learned what many of you may now know: “At its November 17 meeting, BESE voted to transition to a next-generation MCAS test that will be given for the first time in spring 2017 and use both PARCC and MCAS items, as well as items developed specifically for the Massachusetts test.” In addition, the Commissioner noted that, “The spring 2016 MCAS tests will include a limited number of PARCC items in order to help make statewide comparisons easier and to offer students and staff the opportunity to experience PARCC items while the new assessment is being developed.”
With regards to the 10th grade proficiency exam, Commissioner Chester informed districts that, “All high schools will continue to administer the grade 10 MCAS in English language arts and mathematics, as well as the high school science and technology/engineering tests, in 2016 and 2017.”Based on the vote taken by BESE the following changes also took place:
•Each MCAS test in grades 3–8 ELA and Mathematics will be supplemented with a small number of PARCC items.•In ELA, one of the PARCC items will require students to write in response to text.
•Because of this change for ELA, the Department has decided to eliminate the ELA Composition in grades 4 and 7 in spring 2016. The ELA Composition for grade 10 will continue to be administered.
•The MCAS ELA administration window for grades 3–8 will begin and end one week later to accommodate changes to the test and allow for additional instructional time. The new ELA administration window for grades 3–8 will be March 28 to April 12. Please note that grade 10 ELA testing dates will remain the same.
The district stands ready to implement these changes and our staff will continue to enhance their instructional strategies in order to provide the optimal learning environment for all of our students.