New Massachusetts school tests need cost estimates

Thursday, June 26, 2014

There are a lot of questions to be answered before school districts and the state can expect to effectively implement the new PARCC tests — for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers — across the state.

For starters, school officials need to confirm they have the technology to let students take the exams online — one of the PARCC tests’ selling points over the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, or MCAS, exams that state Education Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester is clearly looking to phase out.

While it’s fine for the state to grant “hold harmless” assurances to school districts choosing the new PARCC exams over MCAS for the coming school year, it seems grossly unfair not to grant the same recognition to teachers, who would, as of now, still be on the evaluation hook if the students’ scores on the new tests plummeted the first time out — through no fault of the teacher, or the school.

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