MCAS Testing Will Resume in 2021
One of the countless things that didn't happen during the 2020 pandemic was the MCAS test. This spring, while students, parents, and teachers across the Commonwealth were adjusting as best they could to a remote learning situation, the state was in no position whatsoever to administer the MCAS test.
The MCAS test is not without controversy. Many believe that the tests are an unfair assessment of a student's ability. Because teachers are also measured by their students' performance, some critics say that the curriculum is slanted to teachers "teaching to the test."
Debates surrounding MCAS have been around long before COVID-19, and some have wondered whether or not the cancellation of 2020's testing may have been the end to the controversial test.
However, Massachusetts state law still requires students to successfully pass the MCAS test in order to earn a high school diploma. This means that as things currently stand, high school students will still need to pass the MCAS test to graduate. Even current high school juniors, who were supposed to take the MCAS test this past spring, will be required to complete the test this school year.
"The key word was 'postponed,'" said Old Rochester Regional High School principal Mike Devoll. "The MCAS test was not canceled, meaning students are still on the hook for passing three MCAS subject tests: Biology, Math and ELA."
Massachusetts students normally take their Biology MCAS test during their freshman year. The good news is "as long as a student either passed the Biology MCAS test or passed their Biology course," they will have fulfilled their Biology requirement, said Devoll.
All Massachusetts juniors will need to take the Math MCAS test in January and the ELA MCAS test in May.
Current sophomores will take their regularly scheduled MCAS tests in May.
Conversely, this past spring's freshman Biology MCAS was canceled (not postponed). This means that as long as current sophomores passed their freshman Biology course, they have fulfilled their Biology requirements.
Of course, these plans are all contingent upon the pandemic remaining stable here in Massachusetts this spring.