Next generation MCAS helps ensure students’ success

Education secretary cautions against judging new test on students lower scores

James Peyser | 11/9/2017, 6 a.m.

Some people will wonder how only half of our students can be Meeting Expectations when the Commonwealth’s public schools are ranked number one in the nation. The fact is that this outcome is consistent with national assessments of Massachusetts students. More important, although we outpace the rest of the country, approximately one-third of our public high school graduates going on to Massachusetts public colleges are not ready for college-level work, particularly in math. They are forced to take remedial courses, eating up their financial resources, and in many cases ultimately leading them not to complete their studies. This is unacceptable.

The path to this new assessment was years in the making, and would not have been possible without collaborative effort of over 300 experienced public school teachers from around the state, who understand best what students need to know and be able to do.

Overall, the Massachusetts public education system is a tremendous success story. At the same time, we recognize we have more work to do. The next generation MCAS exam will play a critical role in helping our schools ensure that all students, regardless of zip code, have an opportunity to build productive careers and fulfilling lives here in Massachusetts.

James Peyser is Massachusetts Secretary of Education