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State Board of Education Raises MCAS Graduation Requirements

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The next class of freshmen will face higher hurdles to graduate from high school after the Elementary and Secondary School Board voted to raise MCAS test score requirements by Monday.

Commissioner Jeff Riley, who sponsored the proposal, said: “Parents need to be told the truth about where their students are working.

Voting will establish higher passing standards in English Arts, Mathematics, and Science/Engineering on the high-stakes MCAS tests starting in the 2026 class.

Massachusetts is one of 11 states that use standardized testing as a graduation requirement. The state has an appeals process available to a student who failed her MCAS in 10th grade.

Students must score 486 (within the ‘Partially Meets Expectations’ range) on the English and Math exams, or 470 on the Educational Proficiency Plan (EPP) for the class 2026-2030 . The science and technology score requirement is set to 470.

Board member Martin West has amended the original proposal so that post-2031 classes must obtain a 500, the threshold for “meeting expectations”, on English and math tests.

Riley says the change builds on a collaborative study by Brown, Harvard and DESE that links competency scores to long-term student outcomes. For example, the study states that “only 11% of her students in the 2011 class who scored on current math passing standards were admitted to her four-year college in Massachusetts.”

“The bottom line is that the students[who scored at the passing level]weren’t prepared for what they were going to face after high school,” said DESE Commissioner Rob Curtin. rice field.

Board members Mary Ann Stewart and Darlene Lombos voted against the proposal.

“How can you claim competency when there is only one test that determines competence?” Stewart said. “We are digging further down an increasingly narrow hole, making it even harder for historically marginalized groups. You should do well.”

Riley said that while the board felt the standards needed to be updated to keep the system working today, the framework for evaluating educational success would need to change in the future. said.

Public comment on the proposal was overwhelmingly opposed, including several school districts, teachers’ unions, politicians and more than 200 individuals.

Many pointed to the fact that students are still performing poorly after the disruption caused by the pandemic. MCAS requirements were suspended for several years during the pandemic.

According to a letter signed by 99 state legislators, 52,000 students — disproportionately students of color, low-income students, non-native English speakers, and non-traditional Students with specific learning styles and needs — reach the highest standards. School, but I didn’t pass the test.

“Students who are denied a diploma based on MCAS scores are effectively granted high school dropout status, regardless of whether they successfully meet all other graduation requirements,” the letter reads. “Their future was foreclosed.”

Several board members pushed back the opposition.

Board member Matt Hills said, “There is very good analysis that has shown over time that the standards we have set are important in terms of future life outcomes. …” It may be good politically in the department’s arena, but it’s not good policy for us to pretend that these things don’t matter.”