Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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In MCAS era, belief that older measures of student performance had value

To the editor:

I recently read the article about MCAS tests in the Gazette. University of Massachusetts professor Stephen Sireci makes a strong argument as to the validity of the student growth percentiles scores. Overall, Sireci thinks the MCAS tests are “a national success story.”

He makes a good point about the reliability of student growth percentiles. Perhaps it is time to eliminate the MCAS tests altogether and bring back standardized tests created by independent test makers given yearly in all disciplines.

It seems to me that the state created MCAS testing to identify those systems that are under-performing, to the detriment of parents who need up-to-date information yearly about the growth or lack of growth of their children.

Twenty years ago, this information was readily available in most school systems in the form of grade equivalents, percentile scores and stanine scores on standardized tests. These results were in several different disciplines and the tests were given on a yearly schedule. It could be argued that this information is not only more valuable to parents but to teachers and administrators as well.

MCAS tests are given every couple of years in selected disciplines. We are now on the verge of a new teacher assessment criteria. How can we fairly evaluate teachers when the only standardized tool we have are the MCAS tests which are given every couple of years in limited disciplines?

Let the state find another way to identify under-performing school systems. Bring back independent standardized tests which were helpful to parents, teachers and administrators.

Joe Moynahan


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