Massachusetts schools poised to try out new state test

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Developed 15 years ago, the MCAS was not designed with college and career-readiness in mind, state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education officials said during a board meeting Tuesday. The new assessment program, set to launch with trial runs at 1,250 schools, is designed to move schools in that direction, they said.

The new test, in math and English, is aimed at evaluating the ability of students to think critically about questions and requires more writing. It also includes literary analysis, research abilities, and diagnostic assessment, according to education officials. MCAS science tests will remain the same. Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester said the MCAS needs to be updated.

"We know more about assessment today than we did 15 years ago when we developed MCAS. It is time to upgrade our assessment program and to take advantage of new technologies that are available," Chester told the News Service during a break in the board meeting.

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