May 20, 2024


Science It Works

Department of Elementary and Secondary Education board proposes raising MCAS score requirement for high schoolers to graduate

Massachusetts high school students graduating in the class of 2026 may have to produce higher MCAS scores than the classes that preceded them as education officials consider raising the score requirement for graduating seniors.

During a Department of Elementary and Secondary Education board meeting on Tuesday night, Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley said research showed “MCAS scores predict later outcomes in education and earnings.”

The education commissioner originally proposed the score revision during a February board meeting.

“Only 11% of students in the class of 2011 who scored at the current passing standard in mathematics went on to enroll in a four-year college in Massachusetts, and only 5% graduated from a four-year college within seven years,” the education official said.

The proposal would require students from classes 2026 to 2029 to earn a scaled score of 486 on the English and math exams or score a 470 and complete an educational proficiency plan. The requirement would be set at 470 for science and technology/engineering tests.

The current score requirement for English is 472 or 455 with an educational proficiency plan. The math required score is 486 or 469 with an educational proficiency plan.

Riley’s proposal also includes changes to the educational proficiency plan that makes accommodations to select students.

Citizens for Public Schools, an education advocacy group, oppose changes to the MCAS score graduation requirement.

“The data clearly show that graduation tests do not improve educational quality or equity and do not close achievement gaps,” said Lisa Guisbond, executive director of Citizens for Public Schools. “Massachusetts education officials claim to be data-driven. So when will they start following the data, instead of letting their faith in testing get in the way?”

Educational officials will meet again in June to vote on the proposal.

Related Content: