MCAS Tech Preparation

What is MCAS 2.0?

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) is in the process of upgrading MCAS to better measure the critical thinking skills students need for success in the 21st century. 

The new test, informally called "Next-Generation MCAS," will build upon the best aspects of the MCAS assessments that have served the Commonwealth well for the past two decades. The test will include innovative items developed by PARCC, along with new items specifically created to assess the Massachusetts learning standards. 

Next-Generation MCAS are designed to be taken on a computer. The plan is to phase in computer-based testing so that computer-based tests are fully administered statewide in 2019.

The development of Next-Generation MCAS will focus on: 

  • Combining PARCC, MCAS, and newly developed items into new ELA and math tests 
  • Creating stronger alignment to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks 
    • Introducing writing in response to text at all grades
    • Developing and implementing new types of items that more deeply assess the standards
    • Assessing Massachusetts-specific standards 
  • Developing a consistent set of performance standards across all grades 
  • Phasing in computer-based testing 
  • Developing an appropriate sequence of tests for high school to gauge college and career readiness 
  • Setting standards for the 10th grade Competency Determination (CD) tests in English language arts and math, beginning with the class of 2021, to provide reliable feedback on whether students are on track for success after high school. (The current MCAS remains a requirement through the class of 2020.) 

(Information collected from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) 

Transitioning to MCAS 2.0

2017: All students in grades 3-8 will be transitioning to MCAS 2.0 in the spring. 

  • Students in grades 4 and 8 will be participating in the computer-based administration of MCAS 2.0. 
  • Students in grades 3, 5, 6, and 7 will be taking the paper-based version of MCAS 2.0. 
  • Students in grade 10 will be given the current MCAS test. Transition to MCAS 2.0 will not occur until the class of 2021 (this year’s eighth graders). 

2018: All students in grades 4, 5, 7, and 8 will be participating in the computer-based administration of MCAS 2.0. 

  •  Students in grades 3 and 6 will take the paper-based version of MCAS 2.0. 
  • Students in grade 10 will be given the current MCAS test. Transition to MCAS 2.0 will not occur until the class of 2021. 

2019: All students in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 will be participating in the computer- based administration of MCAS 2.0.