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Piloting a new MCAS

Posted By Denebola On March 19, 2008 @ 8:16 pm In News | Comments Disabled

By David Han

The sophomore class will take a pilot U.S. History MCAS test next week, adding to the total number of standardized examinations administered by the state, and further cutting into classroom time.
South faculty and students strive to adapt to the changing MCAS testing requirements.
For the past two years, South has shortened terms one, two, and three to compensate for MCAS testing days. This year, 11 days will be dedicated to MCAS testing.
Whereas in previous years only math and English were required for graduation, the history pilot marks an attempt to increase educational standards.
“Testing requirements for kids to graduate and pass [the MCAS] have been increasing, Assisstant Principal Purnima Vadhera said.
According to Vadhera, South teachers needed to become accustomed to the growing demands of MCAS testing.
“I don’t think any teacher, whether they like the exam or not, can ignore the fact that students need to pass this big hurdle, she said.
Vadhera, as well as other administration, have also noticed students beginning to participate in more MCAS supplementary courses and study programs, especially as the passing score for MCAS, originally set at 220, may rise to 240 next year.
Some South faculty feel that as more MCAS testing is added, teaching schedules experience are increasingly sacrificed.
“I think we all recognize the need for having some level of standardization, but the need to test as much as they do with as many interruptions to our schedule is excessive, science teacher Alan Crosby said.
Teachers like Crosby, who teach students from multiple grades in the same classroom, feel the brunt of MCAS interruptions.
“What am I going to do with the sophomores when a third of the class is gone taking MCAS, or what am I going to do with the remaining two thirds when the sophomores are off taking MCAS? Crosby said.
Some students feel as though MCAS has had a negative impact on their high school learning.
Junior Leiv Cohen said the MCAS forced some of his teachers to compress and rush classes, taking away from the learning experience.
“Last year, for my sophomore English class, we finished a book in one week and wrote a final paper in one week because there wasn’t enough time to space it out. he said.
The U.S. History pilot earned widespread disapproval from members of the sophomore class, because the sophomore history curriculum does not cover U.S. History.
“We should take the History MCAS next year after we have learned it. Wouldn’t that make more sense? sophomore Josh Penzias said.
Students feel that because they are know they are taking a pilot test, several of them will not take the test seriously and fail.
“On the SAT’s you have one section that is experimental, but you don’t know which one so you work hard on all of them, senior Niyati Patel said, drawing a contrast between a test that students know will not count against them and a test where they are not sure what will count.
“For a lot of the open response, because the students weren’t taught [the subject], they just ended up drawing pictures or writing songs, junior Naomi Ebstein said of last year’s pilot biology exam, which nearly one in five sophomores failed. “Now, they [the State] are just adding more [tests]. [The MCAS] keeps growing, which reduces the amount of time for teaching in the school year,
Other students understand the underlying importance of the MCAS.
“The system isn’t flawless, but is there another way to do it? sophomore Joey Anderson said. “I think that the pilots might not work as well, but to find out if everyone is on a certain level, I think the MCAS works.

teachers needed to become accustomed to the growing demands of MCAS testing.
“I don’t think any teacher, whether they like the exam or not, can ignore the fact that students need to pass this big hurdle, she said.
Vadhera, as well as other administration, have also noticed students beginning to participate in more MCAS supplementary courses and study programs, especially as the passing score for MCAS, originally set at 220, may rise to 240 next year.
Some South faculty feel that as more MCAS testing is added, teaching schedules experience are increasingly sacrificed.
“I think we all recognize the need for having some level of standardization, but the need to test as much as they do with as many interruptions to our schedule is excessive, science teacher Alan Crosby said.
Teachers like Crosby, who teach students from multiple grades in the same classroom, feel the brunt of MCAS interruptions.
“What am I going to do with the sophomores when a third of the class is gone taking MCAS, or what am I going to do with the remaining two thirds when the sophomores are off taking MCAS? Crosby said.
Some students feel as though MCAS has had a negative impact on their high school learning.
Junior Leiv Cohen said the MCAS forced some of his teachers to compress and rush classes, taking away from the learning experience.
“Last year, for my sophomore English class, we finished a book in one week and wrote a final paper in one week because there wasn’t enough time to space it out. he said.
The U.S. History pilot earned widespread disapproval from members of the sophomore class, because the sophomore history curriculum does not cover U.S. History.
“We should take the History MCAS next year after we have learned it. Wouldn’t that make more sense? sophomore Josh Penzias said.
Students feel that because they are know they are taking a pilot test, several of them will not take the test seriously and fail.
“On the SAT’s you have one section that is experimental, but you don’t know which one so you work hard on all of them, senior Niyati Patel said, drawing a contrast between a test that students know will not count against them and a test where they are not sure what will count.
“For a lot of the open response, because the students weren’t taught [the subject], they just ended up drawing pictures or writing songs, junior Naomi Ebstein said of last year’s pilot biology exam, which nearly one in five sophomores failed. “Now, they [the State] are just adding more [tests]. [The MCAS] keeps growing, which reduces the amount of time for teaching in the school year,
Other students understand the underlying importance of the MCAS.
“The system isn’t flawless, but is there another way to do it? sophomore Joey Anderson said. “I think that the pilots might not work as well, but to find out if everyone is on a certain level, I think the MCAS works.

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Article printed from Denebola: http://www.denebolaonline.net

URL to article: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/03/19/piloting-a-new-mcas/

URLs in this post:

[1] Uncovering the Origins of the MCAS: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/03/19/uncovering-the-origins-of-the-mcas/

[2] Results arrive for science MCAS: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2007/10/25/results-arrive-for-science-mcas/

[3] The MCAS Controversy: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/03/19/the-mcas-controversy/

[4] Acheivement through standardized testing: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/03/19/acheivement-through-standardized-testing/

[5] Widening the gap: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/03/19/widening-the-gap/

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