Students will be taking next generation MCAS

Kaitlyn Peters , Staff Writer

“It was the first time I ever felt strongly about burning books,” says Joelene Guzzo of Wilbraham, Massachusetts; referring to the Common Core Lesson books published by Heinemann Publishers. “I’ve opposed [the Common Core] since it was first implemented in 2012.”

According to the Common Core State Standards Initiative, the Common Core is “a set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA). The goal of the Common Core is to ensure that all students are ready for success after high school. “The Common Core State Standards establish clear, consistent guidelines for what every student should know and be able to do in math and English language arts from kindergarten through 12th grade.”

The standardized test that will be used for the Common Core is PARCC: The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. This assessment is made to test the students’ ability in the Common Core standards in math and English. The test is taken using a computer. However, this test is no longer completely applicable to the students of Massachusetts.

According to Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, on No. 17 it was established that there will be a “next generation MCAS.” This MCAS will combine both the original MCAS and PARCC standards.

Students at LHS believe that the standardized test is a waste of time, and they should have gotten rid of standardized testing all together.

“Standardized testing takes away from the purpose of learning because students are more focused on preparing for the test rather than preparing for their life in the future,” says sophomore Kayla Riordan, “they create more stress that the students do not really need.”

Her friend, Gabriella Pires, agrees completely: “PARCC: People Are Really Creating Crazy,” says Pires.“Standardized tests, in general, are creating a barrier between teachers and students.”

In addition to many students opposing the Common Core, over half of all Americans oppose it as well, according to a poll recently published in U.S. News and World Report.

“I do not support it,” says school committee leader Patricia Gordon from Wilbraham, Massachusetts, “It does more harm than good, and parents can’t even figure out how to help their children. Many people say the Common Core is standards and not curriculum and that is far from the truth, you can’t have one without the other. The Common Core hurts the most vulnerable of our schools: those in special education. They are beaten down to a pulp because they can’t do it… My heart bleeds for the teachers because they have to be on the same page every day. I think our society should change for more democratic issues which are sought by the people and the population themselves. It’s a bottom-up process not a top down.”

Some staff of LHS believe that having these standardized tests is good for the students.

“I think it gives everyone an equal playing field when they go into the workforce or college,” says Principal Lisa Nemeth.

According to The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) is designed to meet the requirements of the Education Reform Law of 1993. Now, with the new tests and votes, students will be taking the new and improved MCAS. The students who have been taking the MCAS will continue to take it, and those who have taken PARCC will continue to do so. Any schools that have been taking MCAS can switch to PARCC if they were to ever change their minds about the MCAS.

While the new MCAS is being produced, students will be taking the MCAS in the spring of 2016, which may have PARCC questions added to it so the students can better understand the idea of the new MCAS.