MCAS test proficiency bar is set too low

A vote in the fall will determine whether to implement PARCC as the new statewide test

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GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) –  Your children’s standardized testing could become much more demanding. Every high school student needs to pass the MCAS test in order to graduate, but it may not be challenging enough.

A Massachusetts Business Alliance-Education study measured how well the state’s high school MCAS test prepares students for college or a job. The report said the MCAS proficiency bar is set too low, and found the content of the 10th grade “graduation” test is largely based on middle school material.

“I think that what it takes to go onto college is not testable by a standardized test,” says Susan Durkee of Montague. “I think that what it takes to succeed in college is knowing how to frame and ask questions for yourself without having somebody tell you what to frame and what to ask.”

The study also looked at the PARCC test, or, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. PARCC could replace the MCAS. The study shows that the PARCC test is better designed to indicate whether or not a student is ready for college or a career.

PARCC measures students against the Common Core, a multi-state set of educational standards.
Some parents worry teachers teach to the test and limit creativity.

Peter Tusinski of Linden told 22News, “Anything that involves standardized anything is subject to creating us all the same and thinking the same.”

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will vote in the fall whether to implement PARCC as the new statewide test. This spring, almost half the school districts in the state will give the PARCC test, while the others will give the MCAS.

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