Teaching, Learning & Testing

Teaching, Learning, and Testing

Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to institute learning standards that outline what all students are expected to know and be able to do in each subject area and grade level.

These standards aren't classroom curriculum. Curriculum lesson plans, books, materials, and other resources are all selected locally by the school district, school, or individual teachers.

To find out how well students understand what is being taught, educators give students local and state tests. School districts and teachers use test results to identify areas where students need more help and where teachers should adjust the curriculum or their instruction to help students reach high expectations.

Each student learns differently, so the state supports a variety of educational options for K-12 students and adult learners.

Massachusetts recently adopted revised learning standards in math and in English language arts and literacy, representing more than a year of work by Massachusetts educators and ESE staff.

Several resources are available to help understand the next-generation MCAS and the results, including the interactive Parents' Guide to the MCAS and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Other resources will be posted on our MCAS parents page.

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.