Massive MPs urged to increase MCAS passing scores


“This proposal will add even more stress to the already stressful lives of high school students.”

Tom Landers / The Greeley Tribune Globe

Twenty-seven legislators on Beacon Hill are urging state education regulators to reject a proposal to raise passing marks for the MCAS exams required for high school graduates, arguing that the move would lead to long achievement gaps and students’ loss of interest. Tension will increase.

In a letter Monday to Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeff Riley and members of the department’s board, the bipartisan group of legislators spoke out against a pending resolution, which the board will consider on June 28.

If passed, students graduating high school from 2026 to 2029 will have higher MCAS scores than previous classes to pursue graduation in math, English language arts and science.

The lawmakers wrote, however, that raising passing grades “is likely to intensify, rather than reverse, negative consequences of 24 years of high-stakes MCAS,” with the most impact being students who are already English learners, Students with disabilities are facing disproportionate challenges. , and students of color.

Still, DESE has said that closing the achievement gap among student demographics is one of its top priorities, the officials wrote.

The proposal is “unwise and unjust”, the lawmakers wrote.

“If the state’s goal is racial and social equality, this is the wrong way to go,” he wrote.

The letter was led by Northampton Democrat Sens Joe Comerford, and Somerville Democrat Pat Zehlen, and Attleboro Democrat Representative Jim Hawkins.

According to officials, MCAS scores were the first requirement for graduation in 2003, so more than 52,000 students have completed high school without passing the mandatory exams.

The letter said, “Students who have been denied a diploma based on MCAS scores are effectively treated as high school dropouts, even if they have successfully completed all other graduation requirements or No.” “Their promise has been closed. We believe that all children in the Commonwealth deserve a bright future.”

Bay State is one of only 11 states that still require some form of standardized tests as a graduation requirement.

And such tests have broad limitations, the lawmakers wrote.

“High-stakes tests, such as the MCAS, focus learning on a narrow range of skills, leading to an impairment of skills needed in the wider world such as problem solving, innovation, communication, social skills, emotional resilience, appreciation of diversity, and teamwork. Skills,” he wrote.

Legislators also have serious concerns about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of students.

“This proposal will add even more stress to the already stressful lives of high school students,” the letter reads. “Many students who fail high-stakes tests suffer from negative emotional consequences, including decreased self-confidence. Even those who do suffer weeks of stress during exam preparation and testing. face it.”

“Raising the score will make it harder for our most vulnerable students to obtain diplomas, limiting their opportunities for jobs and military service,” Zehlen said in a statement.

“Their schools will focus even more on exam preparation; Students will not have the opportunity to develop skills in collaboration, creativity and critical thinking,” Zehlen said.

Read the full letter:

20220621 Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Re Macc Passing Score 1 By Christopher Gavin on scribbled

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