State Tests in Massachusetts - MCAS and More
History of Testing in Massachusetts
The commonwealth has administered MCAS tests since 1998. In 1998, students were assessed in ELA and math at grades 4,8, and 10. In the following years, additional graded and subjects have been added to the MCAS testing program. Following the No Child Left Behind Act, mathematics and ELA assessments were expanded to include all grades 3rd through 8th. NCLB also required states to adopt state science assessments. Massachusetts has chosen to go beyond this requirement and include subject tests on technology/engineering in addition to science.
Expanding testing in mathematics and ELA to all grades between 3rd and 8th has facilitated the development of a measure of year-to-year learning gains. Student Growth Percentiles (SGPs) complement MCAS test scores by providng change in achievement over time rather than static grade level results in any one year. SGPs therefore provide a more accurate measure of how a school is helping students improve, rather than scoring schools based on where students are at. Interested in learning about how to boost student growth in your district on MCAS? Click to learn more about Edcite Schools.
The accountability associated with MCAS has led many schools across Massachusetts to improve instruction which was the goal. A recent report noted that this measurement has led other schools to devote an “inordinate amount of time to test preparation rather than to building strong instructional programs”. Edcite Schools allows districts to give common assessments of their choice in a format that will also boost student preparation for the MCAS. To see Edcite’s MCAS viewer, scroll down to the “How Edcite Helps Massachusetts Students Grow” section or try out an assignment on the right hand side of the page!
- ELA - Grades 3-8 and 10 - 1 session
- Math - Grades 3-8 and 10 - 1 session
- Elem / MS Science - Grades 5 and 8 - 1 session
- HS Science - Chemistry, Biology, Introductory Physics - 1 session
Session Lengths by Subject / Grade
For more information on state testing windows, click here to download a word document on testing windows by subject / grade from the Massachusetts Department of Education.
How Does Edcite help Massachusetts Students Grow?
#1 Prepare Students for MCAS Test Format
With Edcite, students experience navigating and completing a digital assessment. With Edcite Schools, students can practice with an MCAS-Aligned viewer that mirrors the navigation and tools that look exactly like the state test. This can help students build familiarity with navigation and tools that they will need to use on the state test.
MCAS Navigation on Practice Test
Edcite MCAS-Aligned Viewer
Edcite MCAS-aligned viewer also has many of the same tools that students can use on MCAS. A short list is below:
- Text to Speech (TTS)
- Calculators - basic, scientific and graphing
- Masking Tool
- Bookmark / Flag question
- Answer Eliminator
- Line Reader
- Audio Recording for instructions and more
Want to try the MCAS Viewer for free? Participate in Massachusetts Common Assessments to try out this viewer with your students. If you want your school or district to have access to the AIR Viewer year round for any assessment, learn more about Edcite Schools.
With Edcite, Teachers can find and send quality content to students. We believe that teachers should not have to pay for premium features, so we offer live progress tracking and reports by question and by standard for free for all teachers. To try out Edcite with your class, click Sign Up or choose one of the assignments to the right.
#2 Prepare Students for Tech-Enhanced Question Types
Digital assessments present new opportunities for how to assess students. Practice throughout the year with these question types can prepare students for effective problem solving strategies. Below is a list of tech-enhanced question types that are on the Next Generation MCAS with some details about Edcite features that Massachusetts teachers are using to prepare their students. For a full list of item types and details on their scoring, click here .
- Constructed Response Math - Expression and equation entry in a format matching MCAS. Edcite version shown below.
- Short Answer - Choose whether to include units or add them for students and have them enter a number.
- Passages - Students can practice turning pages in the same format as the MCAS viewer. Coming soon - passage only questions!
- Essay Answer - Specify character count and tools available to students when writing an essay. Add a rubric to make for easier grading.
- Matching Item - Students match answers for credit. Partial credit can be awarded.
- Multi-Part Items - Use Edcite to set up part A/B scoring for multipart questions.
- Selected Response - Upload multimedia and passages to make for richer selected response items.
#3 Actionable Data for Massachusetts Educators to help students grow
We believe that teachers should not have to pay for premium features, so we offer live progress tracking and reports by question and by Massachusetts and Common Core standard for free for all teachers. To try out Edcite with your class, click Sign Up or choose to Assign one of the assignments to the right.
#4 Drive School and District Growth with Edcite Schools
Edcite Schools empowers Schools, Districts, and teams to give assessments that align to the state test in their look and feel, share data and respond to the data by creating intervention groups. To learn more, click on Edcite Schools above.
Build your own Massachusetts-Aligned Assessments
Edcite is not just a library of assessments and questions, it is also an authoring tool. Teachers can create questions and assignments for free. With Edcite Schools, districts can create content collaboratively and send across schools and classes. A full list of aligned Massachusetts resources is below, you can use Edcite to create your own versions of these questions.
- Math: http://www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/tdd/math.html
- ELA: http://www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/tdd/ela.html
- Science / Tech / Engineering: http://www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/tdd/sci.html
- History and Social Science: http://www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/tdd/hss.html
Looking for some inspiration on your content creation? The Edcite Team has digitized a set of 2018-2019 MCAS Practice Tests on Edcite. You can copy and customize any of the questions in these assignments. This is a great way to get started creating aligned content on Edcite.