Although the DOE denies the existence of a curve on the MCAS test, it is a normed test in that it references back to a normative group. According to the DOE, ?The standard scoring system was developed in August of 1998 when 200 panelists were asked to assess the students’ tests and categorize the resultant scores into one of four categories: Failing, Needs Improvement, Proficient, or Advanced.? Every year the MCAS test is referenced back to this original scoring. If the scores on, say, the 2005 test vary from this norm, the cutoffs for failing, needs improvement, proficient, and advanced are adjusted. In spite of new questions every year, the MCAS test remains the same.
Of MCAS and curves, the DOE says,