Earlier this afternoon Commissioner Mitchell Chester released his recommendation regarding the Commonwealth's path to next-generation MCAS. Please see our statement below.
STATEMENT: COMMISSIONER CHESTER’S RECOMMENDATION REGARDING PATH TO NEXT-GENERATION MCAS
Massachusetts students deserve a fair and skills-based state assessment that will give students and families an accurate measure of whether students are on track to be successful in today’s colleges and careers. Currently, there’s an ‘honesty gap’ between MCAS outcomes and level of college preparedness. The majority of Massachusetts 10th graders score proficient on the MCAS. However, 36% of Massachusetts public high school graduates attending public universities and 65% of grads at community colleges require remedial courses. All too often students and families are not receiving an accurate picture of how well a student is prepared for his or her future. The PARCC test accurately measures college and career readiness.
We are pleased that Commissioner Mitchell Chester recognizes that “MCAS has reached a point of diminishing returns” and it’s time to replace it; and that “PARCC is a substantial advancement over our current MCAS test.” While we would have preferred that every district was required to administer PARCC in the interim, it’s clear that there is a shared understanding of the need for Massachusetts to move forward with a next generation assessment that accurately measures college and career readiness. While Massachusetts proceeds with the development of this next generation assessment that builds on the PARCC assessment, details are going to matter, which is why clarity and effective implementation is critically important for the Commonwealth’s educators and students. We also agree with the Commissioner’s expectation that Massachusetts will remain an active member of the PARCC consortium to provide continued “access to high-quality assessment research and new test items, with the costs shared among the participating states.”
We urge the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to support the Commissioner’s recommendation, but be consciously aware of the preceding positions noted.