The board of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will vote subsequent month on whether or not or not to phase out two of the 4 MCAS highschool science exams at present required for college students who need to meet competency necessities for commencement.
Under Commissioner Jeffrey Riley’s proposal, DESE would now not provide the chemistry and know-how/engineering checks after spring 2023. Only biology and introductory physics could be supplied to college students within the class of 2026 and past.
The value of creating the chemistry and know-how/engineering exams could be “significant,” Riley mentioned in a memo to the board, significantly given the dwindling quantity of college students taking them.
In 2019, simply 388 college students took the chemistry MCAS take a look at, and 1,931 took the know-how/engineering examination, in contrast to 14,891 who took the introductory physics MCAS and the 54,490 who took biology, he mentioned.
“I want to make sure we don’t send the signal that we’re abandoning chemistry and technology/engineering,” Secretary of Education James Peyser mentioned at Friday’s DESE assembly.
But Riley mentioned eliminating these two MCAS exams wouldn’t imply eliminating these topics.
DESE’s core highschool necessities embrace three years of a laboratory science, he mentioned, so most college students would have the possibility to take one or each of them.
In different division enterprise, the board unanimously accredited a pilot program to reward college students with disabilities, English learners and economically deprived college students who rating within the “exceeding expectations” stage – a scaled rating of 530 or increased – on the English Language Arts or Mathematics MCAS exams in any grade stage.
The program would “shine a light on students who have done a great job in the midst of a pandemic,” Deputy Commissioner Regina Robinson mentioned.
Each of these college students would obtain a certificates from the commissioner, in addition to a $25 reward card in recognition “not only of a job well done, but you can continue to do this great work,” Robinson mentioned.
Students would have the choice of writing a thanks word to their instructor for serving to them to obtain that.
“This is something that we see as having a dual benefit,” Senior Associate Commissioner Shay Edmond mentioned.