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To Parents or Guardians:
State and federal laws require all students in Massachusetts to participate in the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), the state’s student assessment program. Massachusetts gives MCAS tests in three subjects: English language Arts, Mathematics, and Science and Technology/Engineering. A student’s IEP team determines whether a student with a disability should take standard MCAS tests, either with or without test accommodations, or whether the student requires an alternate assessment. MCAS-Alt provides a method for assessing the academic performance of students with significant disabilities who are unable to take standard MCAS tests, even with accommodations.
Brief description of the MCAS-Alt: During the school year, your child’s teacher will collect educational information documenting your child’s performance. The teacher will compile this information in a portfolio and send it to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education where it will be reviewed and scored by qualified scorers. Portfolios are scored in April and May, and will be returned to your child’s school in the fall. Your child’s portfolio will remain in his or her file at the school.
Components of the MCAS-Alt: Your child’s MCAS-Alt portfolio will include some or all of the following:
- Samples of student work: a collection of your child’s best classroom work demonstrating his or her performance at different times during the year
- Photographs, videotape, or audiotape: documentation of your child participating in classroom activities and assignments through video or audio recordings, or photography.
- Performance tasks: a record of your child’s participation in tasks and classroom activities related to the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks, such as listening, communicating, and using object and materials appropriately.
- Your child’s weekly school schedule: a schedule of the academic courses taken by the student.
- Other documentation: your child’s introduction to the portfolio; and a verification letter signed by parents stating that they have reviewed their child’s portfolio, or were invited to do so.
Submission of the Portfolio: In early April, your child’s teacher will submit your child’s portfolio to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to be scored. In all, no more than 20 people outside your child’s school will view this material, including staff from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the state’s test contractor, and professional scorers under a formal agreement with the Department trained for the purpose of scoring alternate assessments.
Confidentiality of Your Child’s Student Records: The information submitted as part of the MCAS-Alt constitutes student record material that is confidential under state and federal law. The people who review and score the information will be instructed regarding the confidentiality of the material. Your child’s name and other identifying information will not be released to third persons other than those with whom the department has contracted for purposes of implementing the MCAS-Alt. Portfolios are returned to your school and must be kept on file as part of your child’s temporary record.
Revocation of Consent: You may revoke your consent to allow your child to be recorded, photographed, or videotaped for purposes of the MCAS-Alt at any time and for any reason. However, your child will still be required to participate in the MCAS-Alt.
Obtaining More Information about the MCAS-Alt: If you have any questions about the MCAS-Alt or your child’s participation, please contact the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education at 781-338-3625 or email at email@example.com.
This Consent Form must be signed by one or both of the child’s parents or guardians. Consent signifies agreement to your child being recorded on video, audio, or photography for purposes of the MCAS-Alt.
Within thirty days of receiving this form, sign and return it to your child’s teacher or principal.
Statement of Consent:
I have read and understand all of the information on in this Consent Form. I knowingly and voluntarily allow my child’s school to release information about my child: