MCAS HS Science Question Tryouts - Respond by Nov. 30

Dear High School Principals and Directors of Approved Private Special Education Schools, Educational Collaboratives, and Institutional Settings:

We are pleased to invite your school to participate in a voluntary, computer-based question tryout in spring 2018 for the next-generation MCAS high school Biology and Introductory Physics tests. If your school is interested in participating, please complete the brief online form (see instructions below). The deadline for submission is 5:00 p.m., Thursday, November 30.

As you know, the MCAS science assessments will be transitioning to both computer-based testing as well as the new learning standards in the 2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework.

The purpose of this MCAS question tryout is to evaluate computer-based test questions; no student, school, or district results will be generated. The Department plans to release a set of the questions for instructional purposes for use in the following school year.

The tryout will include new interactive, technology-enhanced test questions based on the 2016 STE standards. Any school that educates high school students can participate in the question tryout, regardless of where the school is in the process of adopting the new 2016 standards. Any school can also participate regardless of whether other schools in the same district participate.

Question tryout administration and participation guidelines

The tryout administration window will be May 29–June 15, 2018, except for June 6–7. (Schools may not administer the question tryouts on the dates for operational high school STE testing.) Each of the question tryouts consist of one sessionthat should take approximately 45 minutes. The tryout session does not need to be administered concurrently to all students. For example, one classroom at a time may participate, as students cycle through the school’s computer lab.

Schools may choose to have one or more classrooms participate. Students in grade 9 or 10 who are taking a Biology or an Introductory Physics course may participate. Schools may administer the tryouts in both content areas, or just one. Students with certain accommodations (e.g., text-to-speech edition, Braille, large-print) as well as first-year ELL students should not participate. More information on these exceptions will be provided to schools that register.

Next steps

To complete the online form:

·         Click this link.

·         Enter your four-digit password, included at the top of this email. Passwords are unique for each school.

·         Enter your school’s information, including the estimated number of students expected to participate in the Biology or Introductory Physics question tryout.

Schools interested in participating in the tryout should inform their superintendents. The Department will follow up with interested schools in early 2018 regarding next steps, including instructions on completing the Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile (SR/PNP) to register students to participate.

If you have any questions, please contact us at 781-338-3625 or mcas@doe.mass.edu.

Thank you,

The Office of Student Assessment Services