Drive to dump MCAS should be left in park

Sep 8, 2015 by


By Jim Stergios and Charlie Chieppo –

Among this fall’s most pressing K-12 education issues is the November vote by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education about whether to stick with MCAS or replace it with national tests developed by the Partnership for Assessment of College and Careers (PARCC).

MCAS is a cornerstone of Massachusetts’ 1993 Education Reform Act, which has led to historic gains in virtually every national and international measure of student achievement.

Massachusetts Secretary of Education James Peyser has rightly said he would gather as much data as possible to ensure an informed decision on the MCAS or PARCC question. The board should not lose sight of that data during the well-financed pro-PARCC campaign that will be unleashed by Washington, D.C.-based education lobby groups in the coming weeks.

It’s likely to begin with a report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute comparing MCAS to PARCC. Fordham is one of the longest-standing supporters of national standards and tests. Theirs was one of the comparisons that state Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell Chester relied on in 2010 when he recommended that the board jettison Massachusetts’ best-in-the-nation English and math standards for national standards known as Common Core.

Fordham rated the two sets of standards “too close to call,” even though the Common Core English standards cut classic literature, drama and poetry by 60 percent and the math standards end with what Stanford University mathematician R.

Source: Drive to dump MCAS should be left in park – Lowell Sun Online

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