NCEO Synthesis Reports: Massachusetts: One State's Approach to Setting Performance Levels on the Alternate Assessment (#48)


This year 2002 report describes Massachusetts' approach to setting performance levels on its Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) Alternate Assessment. The state's portfolio approach was based on "expanded" state standards describing academic outcomes appropriate for students with significant disabilities. The report explains the technical phase of standard setting and describes the context of earlier conversations and theoretical debates that came before their decisions in the development process of the alternate assessment. The report further describes how performance levels were calibrated between the alternate and general assessments, due to the alternate being used for high school diploma requirements, and the ways performance levels in each strand were combined to produce an overall performance level.


November 2002 
Number 48
National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO)


  • Specific life stage
    • Children
    • Adolescents and young adults
  • Educational accountability and assessment
    • Diplomas and Graduation Requirements
    • Assessment Reporting
    • Standards and Accountability
    • Students with Disabilities
    • Alternate Assessments