MCAS Test: Test Overview, Guidelines and Benefits of Practice Tests

Tests make everyone anxious because of the pressure and stress that comes with preparation. Nobody likes exams, but with good preparation and knowing what to expect, they can be interesting and instructive. Nowadays, technology plays a major role in helping students prepare for exams by practicing and completing regular class assignments on digital platforms during the school year.

MCAS Test: What is it?

MCAS is an acronym for The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System. These are statewide exams administered to Massachusetts students studying in public schools across the state. MCAS is an annual exam that is administered to all students in grade 3-8 and Grade 10. Subjects tested in MCAS exams are English Language Arts (ELA), Math and Science. Grade 3-8 students take Math and ELA tests, while grade 5 and 8 students also take Science.
Grade 10 and 11 students take MCAS STE (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System Science and Technology/Engineering) end-of-course tests. STE tests cover Biology, Introductory Physics, Chemistry and Technology/Engineering. At grade 10, students need to pass Math, English Language Arts and a Science subject in order to graduate.

Objectives of MCAS Tests

MCAS is a standardized test that has been existence since 1993. The test is designed to meet the expectations of the 1993 Education Reform Law. MCAS tests are taken by all Massachusetts public school students. Testing aims to measure student’s ability based on the Massachusetts Curriculum Framework learning standards. MCAS assessment reports and analyzes the performance of individual students giving teachers and parents an idea of weak areas that need to be focused on in the following school years. At each grade level, the tests determine whether students have the skills and knowledge required for their respective grade. In addition, after MCAS assessment results, educators have an opportunity to modify their lesson plans and approaches to help students meet the standards.

MCAS Testing Procedures

The testing procedures vary according to the academic year but generally, grade 3-8 begin with English Language Arts then Mathematics and lastly, STE for grades 5 and 8. There are both online tests and paper based tests depending on the grade and the subject being tested. Edulastic’s MCAS practice tests identify areas to focus on with each student before the main exam and give students practice with the online testing format.
Exam testing times vary depending on the subject and grade tested; most testing periods last between 2-5 hours. For instance, ELA test for grade 3 students which is divided into session 1 and 2 takes 165 minutes, while Math test lasts for about 130 minutes. Middle and high school tests last a bit longer.

2018 MCAS Testing Dates

Since MCAS tests cover multiple grade levels, the testing timetable varies. However, most exams are usually taken from late March to early June. For the 2018 MCAS exam schedule, grade 3 -5 students are expected to take their ELA tests from April 2-May 4, while Mathematics tests take place from April 3-May 25. Grade 5 Science and Technology/Engineering students are scheduled to sit for their tests starting April 4-May 25.
For Middle School, MCAS ELA tests for grades 6-8 begin on April 2- May 4, while Mathematics tests are scheduled for April 3-May 25. Grade 8 Science and Technology/Engineering tests are scheduled for April 4-May 25. High school students were the first group to take their exams with Grade 10 ELA Composition test taking place on March 27th and Grade 10 ELA Reading Comprehension on March 28th and 29th. Grade 10 Mathematics tests are expected on May 23rd and 24th while Grade 9 Science and Technology/Engineering tests coming last on June 6, 7 and 8.

How Edulastic can help students prepare for MCAS

Edulastic helps students prepare for MCAS tests by giving them practice with the format of the questions they will see on the main exam, as well as providing access to questions from previous MCAS tests. Taking a practice MCAS practice test on the online platform helps students to familiarize themselves with test formats and get used to various technologies used to administer the exam. Practice test questions are mostly copies of tests from previous years. Students have ample time to spend reviewing various test related concepts.
When students practice regularly, they understand crucial skills such as keyboard commands and how to maneuver technical questions to perform functions such as drag and drop. In addition, MCAS practice test assessments given on the same type of device they will use during the main test, such as Chromebooks, tablets, desktops, etc.) should help them feel comfortable with the technology. In addition, by taking free Edulastic practice tests, teachers can spot areas to focus on with each student -- which skills and standards need intervention -- before the end of the year test.

Instructional Topics or Subjects to Cover During the Year

MCAS tests cover a wide variety of topics for each grade, since they are given at the end of the year and meant to be comprehensive. However, some of the key topics to cover for 3rd grade in English Language Arts include; Comprehension, Process Skills, Synonyms, Homonyms and Antonyms (introduction of new vocabulary). Mathematics subject areas for lower grades include fractions and decimals, addition and subtraction, Number Theory and Systems, Money, Algebra, Properties of Shapes and Time among others. Science curriculum for third graders covers Energy, Force and Motion, Effects on the Shape of the Earth, Scientific Investigation and Nature of Matter. The syllabus changes as students continue to advance to the next grade.
Resource Links

MCAS Practice tests

MCAS Spring Release 2016 Grade 10 Math
42 questions | MCAS
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MCAS Spring Release 2016 Grade 5 Math
21 questions | MCAS
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MCAS Spring Release 2016 Grade 4 Math
21 questions | MCAS
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MCAS Spring Release 2016 Grade 7 Math
21 questions | MCAS
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MCAS Spring Release 2016 Grade 8 Math
21 questions | MCAS
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MCAS Spring Release 2016 Grade 6 Math
20 questions | MCAS
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MCAS Spring Release 2016 Grade 3 Math
17 questions | MCAS
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MCAS Spring Release 2016 Grade 3 ELA
17 questions | MCAS
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