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The test results are coming!

The test results are coming!

Here’s what you can expect this year.

With several rounds of changes on testing behind us, a new federal law overseeing education, and a new administration in Washington, it’s easy to lose track of what we can expect to see when these changes come home to our districts. We’ve put together the following on what you can expect to see when the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education releases MCAS results and accountability levels the week of October 16, 2017.


Grade 10 took the legacy MCAS and will continue to do so this coming year.

Grade 10 students will receive test results; high schools will receive all accountability data. High schools will receive PPI information and accountability percentiles. High schools will be assigned accountability levels based on testing information, on graduation rates, and (as necessary) on test participation rates, as in past years.

No new schools that took the new test will be assigned to Level 4 or 5 this year.

Schools which took the new MCAS this spring cannot be harmed by those test scores, by vote of the Board of Education in 2016, reconfirmed this past spring. DESE has already issued a statement that no new grade 3-8 schools will be assigned to “underperforming” categories this year.

Schools with students in both grades 3-8 and grades 9-12 may be assigned Level 3 for persistently low graduation rates.

Schools, for example, serving grades 7-12 may be assigned to Level 3 this coming year if they have had persistently low graduation rates.

Schools with students in grades 3-8 testing less than 90% of students (by grade or by subgroup) will be assigned Level 3.

Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, the state must in some way assure that students, both by grade and by subgroup (ELL, special education, low income) are tested. For 2017, DESE has chosen to do this by assigning those schools that do not meet 90% participation (by grade and by every subgroup) Level 3.

All other schools with students in grades 3-8 WILL NOT receive accountability levels this year.

Under the new testing system and the state’s newly accepted ESSA plan, 2017 is a reset year on accountability levels. Schools using the new MCAS will NOT be assigned an accountability level, save for the above-mentioned reasons. These schools also will not receive PPI indexes or school percentiles. Likewise, districts (aside from single school secondary only districts) will not receive district accountability levels.

The new MCAS is a more difficult test, and it is expected that the test results will reflect that.

The state projects that student results will be more in line with the most recent results of the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP). There will be fewer students achieving in higher categories, not because student learning has been lost, but because the state is applying a higher standard.

Students in grades 3-8 will receive results on the new MCAS (released to districts the week of October 23) on a new parent-guardian results report.

Students will receive their individual results in the ELA and mathematics tests on a new report. Test results range from 440 to 560, and scores, as determined this summer through teacher panels, fall into four levels:

  • Not Meeting Expectations: student performance on this test do not meet grade level expectations; family and school should coordinate academic assistance and/or additional instruction.
  • Partially Meeting Expectations: student performance on this test partly meet grade level expectations; school and family should consider if additional assistance is needed.
  • Meeting Expectations: student performance on this test meet grade level expectations; as results are vertically aligned across grades, the student is on track to succeed if continuing at this level.
  • Exceeding Expectations: student performance on this test demonstrates mastery of the subject matter and exceeds grade level expectations.

Parents and guardians also are given a range of where the student could expect to achieve if given the test multiple times; a comparison relative to the school, district, and state; performance by reporting category within the subject area; and number of points earned by question. Questions are described on DESE’s website, so students and families may see the questions as they review the report.