State plans to raise MCAS standards for class of 2026

Schools

Members of the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education plan to vote on the measure in June.

An MCAS test sheet. Adobestock

State education officials are considering a proposal to raise the minimum score on the MCAS, or Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, test to graduate, according to WBZ NewsRadio.

The plan, proposed by state education commissioner Jeff Riley, would affect students in grades 2026 through 2029, WBZ reported.

Currently, students graduating in 2023 must score 472 in English, 486 in Mathematics and 220 in Science and Technology/Engineering, or 455 in English, 469 in Mathematics, with an educational proficiency plan and taking relevant courses in Science and Technology/Engineering

The new proposal would raise those thresholds to 486 on English and math exams, or score 470 with a teaching proficiency plan, WBZ reported. It would include a science and technology/engineering test score of 470, according to the radio station.

Earlier this week, education officials approved a plan to seek public comment on the proposal, according to The Boston Globe. Members of the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education plan to vote on the measure in June, according to the newspaper.

Education advocates disagree on whether the proposal would benefit students, according to the World.

Gerry Mroz, treasurer of the Massachusetts Association for Gifted Education, addressed the board, linking the higher standards to incentivizing adults working with disadvantaged students, according to the newspaper.

Have a “low bar”. . . exacerbates inequality,” Mroz said, according to the World. “The more privileged districts will naturally do more, as they always have. Less privileged districts will do less and students will be harmed.

Lisa Guisbond, executive director of Citizens for Public Schools, argued that data shows graduation tests do not improve the quality of equity education, according to the newspaper.

“Massachusetts education officials claim to be data-driven,” she said. “So when will they start tracking the data, instead of letting their faith in testing get in the way?”

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