Thursday, September 8, 2016

Announcing DESE's Transition Plan for MCAS Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) Assessments

At its January 26, 2016, meeting, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to adopt the 2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Standards. These revised standards were incorporated into the 2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework, published in April 2016.

Accordingly, over the next few years the MCAS STE program will be transitioning to assess the new standards, as described below. During this time, the STE tests will also be redesigned for computer-based administration, as part of the Commonwealth’s move to “next generation” MCAS assessments. This process will include the introduction of new test designs and new item types. The Department will be recruiting schools with grades 5 and 8 to participate in a voluntary tryout administration of new item types in late spring 2017, after the regular MCAS administration. The Department will provide more detailed information about the new test designs, item types, and tryout opportunities in a future update.

Grades 5 and 8 MCAS STE Transition
The MCAS STE tests at grades 5 and 8 currently assess grade spans. The grade 5 test assesses standards for grades 3, 4, and 5, and the grade 8 test assesses standards for grades 6, 7, and 8. These grade spans will continue to be assessed on the grade 5 and grade 8 tests.

Grades 5 and 8 MCAS STE Transition Timeline

*Over the next few months, the Department will provide additional information about the Grades 5 and 8 STE tests, including lists of the 2001/2006 standards that will be assessed on the 2017 tests. The 2017 STE tests will be paper-based.
**Items that will count toward student scores will be based on content that is covered in both the 2001/2006 standards and the 2016 standards. Additional information about which standards are eligible to be assessed in 2018 will be made available by February 2017.

High School MCAS STE Transition
Currently there are four high school STE tests: Biology, Chemistry, Introductory Physics, and Technology/Engineering, that can be taken at grade 9 or 10. The Department has yet to determine which high school STE tests will be included in the testing program going forward.

High School MCAS STE Transition Timeline

If you have questions, please call 781-338-3625 or send an email to