MA Test Results: About the Test or Sign of Trouble?

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We’re so used to hearing good education news out of Massachusetts that this AP report from Steve LeBlanc might jar against our expectations:

Just half of Massachusetts students in grades three through eight met or exceeded expectations on the new “next generation MCAS test” in math and English — the first time the test has been administered.

Massachusetts education officials publicly released the spring 2017 test results on Wednesday.

Educators were quick to caution against making direct comparisons between a student’s performance on the new test and the original, nearly 20-year-old, MCAS.

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Of course, new tests can’t be compared with old tests.  In Massachusetts, however, the MCAS results were backed up by nation-leading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).  Those scores have been stagnant, however, since around 2006, when then-governor Deval Patrick diluted accountability measures on behalf of the teachers unions.

When the next round of NAEP scores come out we’ll have some indication of whether the new state-based test is just overly challenging or the results really do indicate a state that’s losing ground and needs to renew its education-reform vows.

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