MCAS And PARCC: Debating Massachusetts' Testing Future

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The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will decide soon whether Massachusetts will keep its current test, the MCAS, move to the PARCC, which is aligned with the common core curriculum, or a combination of both in what's being called "MCAS 2.0."

State education officials seem determined to move beyond the MCAS. What should the future of testing be in Massachusetts?


Sandra Stotsky, former senior associate commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education, a former member of the Board of Elementary and  Secondary Education and professor emerita at the University of Arkansas. She's a co-author of a new Pioneer Institute paper titled "How PARCC’s False Rigor Stunts the Academic Growth of All Students."

Lindsay Sobel,  executive director of Teach Plus Massachusetts, which tweets @teachplus.

More In This Series

MCAS And PARCC: The Future Of Testing In Massachusetts

  • An explainer of what MCAS and PARCC are and a conversation with two teachers from Boston Public Schools on which they prefer for their students.

MCAS And PARCC: The State Secretary And Commissioner Of Education Weigh In

  • We hear from Mitchell Chester, commissioner of elementary and secondary education, and Jim Peyser, state secretary of education.


CommonWealth Magazine: Pioneer Pans PARCC, Common Core

  • "The Pioneer Institute issued a detailed report calling the Common Core-aligned PARCC test a flawed assessment and urging the state to reject its implementation and instead revise the state-based MCAS exam. Pioneer also rejected a third option being floated by state education officials – a hybrid MCAS-PARCC exam that would draw heavily on the new Common Core-based test."

CommonWealth Magazine: Education Leaders Back PARCC Test

  • A group of Massachusetts education leaders is calling on the state to adopt the new PARCC student assessment a week after state education officials said they are preparing to pursue a compromise plan rather than recommend that the state stick with the MCAS exam or fully adopt PARCC. The statement, signed by 18 current and former leaders in K-12 and higher education, called PARCC 'a superior assessment of students’ readiness to pursue careers and college level work.'"

Learning Lab: ‘Nation’s Report Card’ Shows Massachusetts At The Top — But Slipping

  • "Massachusetts students are showing gains in fourth-grade reading but are slipping in fourth-grade math and eighth-grade reading and math. That’s the major takeaway from national standardized test scores released Wednesday. While some scores are lower than in 2013, Massachusetts students still rank at the top of the nation on those tests, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). NAEP is often called the nation’s report card because it is the only measure of student achievement given regularly to a nationwide sampling of students."

This segment aired on October 29, 2015.


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