MCAS Testing at BHS

To the Classes of 2022, 2023, and 2024

This update will be helpful for all students and families and especially for our remote-only students and families. 

As you may know, the state did not provide high schools with the option to test students remotely. If students (grades 9-11) would like to participate in the spring 2021 test sessions, they must come into the building. Luckily, there are additional opportunities for each grade to test next year. 

The state did put forth a participation guide which is pasted below. We have also pulled out the most relevant details by class. Please note: this guidance applies to all students and may hold particular relevance for remote-only students.

Class of 2022:

All students (including remote-only students) may opt to take the ELA and Math MCAS next fall 2021. If you do not OPT IN for the spring 2021 testing, you will have the opportunity to OPT IN for the fall 2021 testing (we will collect this information when we have more details from the state about when the fall testing is happening). 

There will be no OPT OUT process for juniors - if you do not opt in, we are assuming you’ve opted out.

Juniors are eligible for the Adams and Koplik Scholarships whether they take the tests in the spring or fall of 2021.

Class of 2023:

All students (including remote-only students) have the option of taking the ELA and Math MCAS tests either this spring or next fall. Students in the Class of 2023 must pass these tests to graduate.

If you are a remote-only student who would like to OPT-OUT of the spring 2021 ELA and Math MCAS testing, you may have already indicated that preference on the form you submitted with your “remote-only” choice for quarter 4. If you as a remote-only student planned on coming into the building for testing and you have changed your mind since submitting the quarter 4 form, you may indicate your OPT OUT on this form. I will have to report to the state all remote-only students who opted out of the testing, citing a “Medical Absence.” 

Please note: tenth graders who have a medical absence indicated for spring testing will still be eligible for scholarship qualification in the fall testing. Tenth graders who are simply absent during spring testing will not be eligible for scholarship qualification in the fall testing. Please see below for more guidance from the state.

Class of 2024:

All students (including remote-only students) who are absent for the Science/Technology/Engineering (Physics) MCAS will take the Science/Technology/Engineering (Chemistry) MCAS next spring 2022 (there is no Physics make-up test in the fall of 2021). 

If you opted-out of in-person testing when making your remote-only choice for quarter 4, great! That information is helpful for proctoring. If you did not opt-out on that form, that’s okay, too. I am not collecting further information about ninth grade students opting out - if you do not show up for testing, you have opted out of the 2021 testing window. The state is not labeling MCAS absences for ninth graders in the same way that it is for tenth graders.

High School Participation Guidelines for the Spring 2021 MCAS Tests


ELA and Mathematics

Grade 10 Students

Students in grade 10 are expected to participate in the spring 2021 MCAS next-generation ELA and Mathematics tests.

First-time grade 10 students are ineligible to participate in the legacy ELA and Mathematics MCAS tests.

See instructions below on coding students’ absences in PearsonAccess Next.

Students in Grades 11 and 12

At its April 20 meeting, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to modify the state graduation requirements for students in grade 11 (the class of 2022) so that they would not need to pass the MCAS ELA and Mathematics tests to meet the state graduation requirement (as is already the case with the STE part of the CD). 

Grade 11 students who choose to take the MCAS ELA and Mathematics tests for scholarship purposes (Adams Scholarship and Koplik Certificate of Mastery Award) may do so in spring or fall 2021. Students who test this spring will have results this fall, in time to learn whether they qualify for scholarships before applying to colleges. Students who participate in spring 2021 testing for scholarship purposes and pass the MCAS tests will earn their CD through testing, and will not be part of the modified CD process.

Some students in grade 12 may wish to participate in the spring 2021 MCAS in order to qualify for the scholarships. Grade 12 students are eligible to participate if they:

  • are new to a Massachusetts public school and enrolled after grade 10 MCAS testing; or
  • had a medically documented absence in 2019 in grade 10; or
  • had a non-medical absence in 2019 in grade 10.*

* Grade 12 students who had a non-medical absence in grade 10 can qualify for the Koplik Certificate of Mastery Award by participating in spring 2021 MCAS testing, but are not eligible to qualify for the Adams Scholarship.

Grade 12 students are also eligible to participate if they would like to attempt to improve their score for the Koplik Certificate of Mastery Award. 

For more information about qualifying for these scholarships for students in grades 11 and 12, please refer to the Student Assessment Update.

Schools are also reminded that they were asked to make a school-wide decision to administer either the legacy tests in ELA and Mathematics or the next-generation tests in ELA and Mathematics to students in grades 11 and 12 (in addition, students who are repeating grade 10 are eligible to participate in the legacy or the next generation tests). Schools must register students for the same test (legacy or next-generation) in both subjects. A student should not be registered, for example, for the legacy Mathematics and next-generation ELA. 

Adults who did not previously earn their CD are also eligible to participate.

High School STE

Students in grade 9 are eligible to participate in a spring 2021 MCAS high school STE test in Biology, Chemistry, Introductory Physics, or Technology/Engineering. Students currently in grade 9 are expected to participate either this spring or next year in grade 10.

Students repeating grade 9, and students in grades 10, 11, and 12 are not eligible to participate in the spring high school STE tests (a modified CD should be pursued for these students instead) for CD or scholarship purposes. However, adults and students who were not eligible for a modified CD in STE are also eligible to participate.

Reporting Not Tested Reasons for Grade 10 Students

Grade 10 students who do not participate in the spring 2021 MCAS tests for medical reasons or who are learning remotely (and choose not to come to school for testing) may participate in fall 2021 for CD and scholarship purposes. 

These students should be reported in PAN with the not-tested reason “Medical Absence” on the Manage Students Test screen for the ELA and Mathematics tests, as appropriate (see the graphic below for an example).

Schools with large numbers of students with a medical absence may update the Not Tested Reason by using the SR/PNP file export/import process. If choosing this option, complete the steps below:

  1. Follow the instructions in the Guide to the SR/PNP to export the SR/PNP file.
  2. For Medical Absence in ELA, enter MED in Column N; for Medical Absence in Mathematics, enter MED in Column O.
  3. Save the file in .CSV format on your computer.
  4. Follow the instructions in the Guide to the SR/PNP to import the .CSV file into PAN.

Students without a Not Tested Reason in PAN will default to being reported as Absent. As a reminder, grade 10 students who are Absent from spring 2021 MCAS testing (without a medical absence) will not be eligible to compete for the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship in future years.

Not tested reasons are not required for grade 11 or grade 12 students.