Mass business proposal
- Subject: Mass business proposal
- From: Karen Hartke <Khartkeft@AOL.COM>
- Date: Tue, 3 Aug 1999 13:50:26 EDT
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
This is big news in Massachusetts: yesterday the same leader said we were
heading for a train wreck. This is one of the big business groups that have
been advocating for a higher standards system, based on passing MCAS.
Business leaders offer MCAS series
By Doreen Iudica Vigue, Globe Staff, 08/03/99
A group of business leaders pivotal in pushing
overhaul in the state has now drawn up a proposal that
create a ''series'' of diplomas for students who must
MCAS test to graduate high school.
Jack Rennie, chairman of the Massachusetts Business
for Education, said business leaders are concerned too
students will fail the mandatory Massachusetts
Assessement System test in the year 2003 when all 10th
graders must pass to get their diploma.
''The whole business community is behind me on this,''
said. ''We're supposed to be the tough guys and we're
moves to stimulate a lot of discussion.''
The group, formed in 1988 to advocate for higher
standards, will present its multipoint recommendations
state Board of Education in the next few weeks. The
has been working on its plan for two months and is
It calls for the state to develop a ''series'' or
diplomas based on how well a student performs on the
Highest honors, high honors, honors, and basic, so
students who do poorly on the test will be sent back a
discouraged entirely by the exam and quit school
But State Board of Education Chairman James A. Peyser,
has not yet seen the report, said Rennie's concerns,
valid, are premature and could lead to their own kind
Peyser said since the Board and the Department of
have not yet determined a passing grade for the MCAS,
is making ''a premature assumption'' about the failure
In the first round of MCAS tests in 1998, 14 percent
graders failed the English portion, 42 percent failed
in math and
41 percent failed in science. These students will be
who will have to pass MCAS to graduate.
Scores for the second round of testing, which took
spring, have not yet been released. The state
results ''baseline'' and not an exact determiner of a
ability to educate.
Education overhaul already calls for a two-tier
where some students pass local and state requirements,
including the MCAS, with either a high-level
mastery or a basic one of competence, but Rennie said
system is not broad enough.
The Alliance is recommending that the state adopt a
similar to one in New York state, where students are
local diploma, then a regents diploma upon passing an
''If, as we suspect, that in 2003 there would be high
rates in some schools and districts, 20-30 percent of
be turned back to the 12th grade, but there would be
provisions for that, no room, no teachers,'' said
would be chaotic.''
Rennie also said the current plans would open the
state up to
lawsuits by parents who feel the test is unfair and
set up to
Under the Alliance plan, there would be room for
failure of one
subject on the MCAS, but not in math or English,
He also said the state should allow students to be
tested twice in
science, once in the 10th grade on earth and general
and then again in the 12th grade in chemistry and
give students time to properly learn the subjects.
He said that a ''school academic indicator'' should be
toward graduation, to be put together by teachers and
administrators to reflect the ''non-MCAS'' things
well at in school.
''We want to find a way to still hold up the
standards, but at the
same time as a practical matter, kids won't be able to
unless we can make the test more reasonable,'' Rennie
''What we're trying to do is stratify things in some
way and help
kids find a way out in the early stages of the
we would not make ground to bash kids and make them
to drop out.''
But Peyser said he is concerned that, under the
proposal, there would be too many paths for a student
to get a diploma, and that students may have grounds
complaining they got treated unfairly because of the
''The other concern is creating a multilayered system
have different expectations for different students,
and that is
problematic,'' Peyser said. ''I'd like to keep the
and the graduation threshold requirement as
simple as possible. To the extent we create too many
on the theme, we may end up confusing people and
undermining the validity of the requirement itself.''
State Education Department chairman David Driscoll was
attending a conference in Alaska and could not be
Deputy Commissioner Alan Safran said the board and the
commissioner will begin extended public discussion in
several weeks on MCAS scoring.
''The board and commissioner will have extensive
hearings and hope to adopt a passing score by January
Safran said. ''This will be one of the most important
the board will make.
This story ran on page B2 of the Boston Globe on
© Copyright 1999 Globe Newspaper Company.
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