State education officials are defending the newly required science portion of the MCAS test, even though not passing it will prevent hundreds of students from graduating next month.
The Class of 2010 will be the first class to have to pass the science MCAS in order to graduate — which almost 3,000 students were unable to do.
Just under 800 of those students passed every section on the MCAS except for the science test.
State Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester said it's the responsibility of the state education system to ensure that students have mastered a variety of basic academic skills.
"I do think it's appropriate that in the commonwealth, we have a graduation test that ensures that a high school graduate has reached a basic level of achievement," Chester said.
Chester said science literacy is a vital part of that.
"We don't like to see any student reach this point in their schooling career and not have mastered their basic subjects," Chester explained. "We know that schools are working hard and pulling out all the stops."
Five percent of test takers, or nearly 3,000 students, failed one or more sections of the latest MCAS test. That's 300 more than last year before the science requirement.
Students will have a chance to take the test in June, but not in time for graduation.
This program aired on May 28, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.