State to resume MCAS testing this year after pandemic hiatus

January 5, 2021 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — Standardized testing in Massachusetts will resume this year with some changes, after they were canceled last spring because of the coronavirus pandemic, state education officials said Tuesday.

Administering the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System tests are necessary this year to gauge how much learning loss has occurred since the shutdown of schools 10 months ago, authorities said. Many students continue take classes remotely.

“The MCAS tests will give Massachusetts educators and families critical insight into academic losses that need to be addressed this spring and summer, and data on which students and districts have been most impacted by the disruptions in schooling,” state Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley wrote in a letter to school leaders.


Passing the MCAS in high school is a requirement for a diploma. Students in lower grades also take the test, which has English math and science sections.

This year, high school seniors who have not yet passed the tests can instead earn a passing grade in a comparable course in English or math subject to approval by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The state will also reduce testing time for students in grades 3 through 8.