Changes Could Raise Bar for High School Graduation in Massachusetts - NECN
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Changes Could Raise Bar for High School Graduation in Massachusetts

Commissioner of Board of Elementary and Secondary Education wants to focus on history and civics while overhauling MCAS

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    New changes could be coming for high school graduation requirements in Massachusetts. (Published Monday, Dec. 19, 2016)

    There could soon be major changes to high school graduation requirements in Massachusetts.

    According to the Boston Herald, State Education Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester wants some of those changes to include a history and civics assessment, as well as a grade 11 or grade 12 test. In a letter to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, Chester said he also wants to overhaul the state’s old MCAS testing system.

    “We’ve been giving the MCAS test in the 10th grade as a high school graduation requirement for over 15 years,” said Jeff Wulfson, Deputy Commissioner for Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. “At this point it was put in and has been successful at making sure our graduating seniors have a basic level of knowledge and skills.”

    Wulfson says the timing and content of that test is now in question.

    “Whether they are going on to college or into business world or military they need a higher level of skills than we are testing for now,” said Wulfson. “We recognize that 10th grade isn’t the end of high school and a lot of learning has to take place.”

    While education officials want to shift the which subjects should be in focus, they want to eliminate chemistry and technology tests.

    “We want tests that aren’t just memorizing facts. We want tests that can demonstrate students to think creatively and read and understand and we are trying to align the tests with what they need to know,” said Wulfson.

    The new recommendations will be presented to the full Board of Elementary and Secondary Education during its monthly meeting on Tuesday. Any change to high school testing isn’t expected for at least the next three to four years.

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