The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System commonly called MCAS, is the Commonwealth's statewide standards-based assessment program developed in 1993, in response to the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of the same year. State and federal law mandates that all students who are enrolled in the tested grades and who are educated with Massachusetts public funds participate in MCAS testing.
MCAS has three primary purposes: (1) to inform and improve curriculum and instruction; (2) to evaluate student, school, and district performance according to Massachusetts Curriculum Framework content standards and Performance Standards; and (3) to determine student eligibility for the Competency Determination requirement in order to award high school diplomas. If necessary, students are given multiple opportunities to pass the test. Massachusetts fulfills the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act by administering MCAS tests in English language arts (ELA) and Mathematics to students in grades 3-8 and 10. Additional MCAS tests are administered in Science and Technology/Engineering (grades 5, 8, 9/10).