WHY THE MCAS HURTS
WHY THE MCAS HURTS
Brookline Tab -- May 8, 2002
by Dana Monnier, Emma Stoskopf-Erlich, Riva Lencer, Irene Behrman,Adam
Stoler, Alessandro Ascherio
We all feel education is a vital part of life, which is
why we care
so much about what is going on inside our schools. The MCAS takes
from the type of learning that is so important to all of our futures.
Classroom days are now spent prepping for tests that are looked
at as an
essential part of a classroom's environment. The MCAS must be
and boycotting is the most direct and effective way to end the
Many people don't realize how much school time is spent on
We spend countless hours away from the curriculum working on practice
tests and test-taking techniques. It also takes a lot of time
to do the
test. We will miss three full school days for the test. Those
could be spent in a more productive manner. In those 18 hours,
do a simulation of the entire stock market crash of 1929, read
analyze a full act of Romeo and Juliet, and so much more. This
could be spent developing critical thinking skills and helping
succeed in life instead of succeeding on a short-term pointless
The MCAS is meant to test knowledge. Research studies have
again and again that when schools try to boost test scores, all
achieve is surface learning which students won't retain for the
their lives. To make a real difference in the minds of children,
teachers need to spend long, in-depth periods of time on each
This is done more in the lower grades than in the higher grades,
schools now spend their time cramming for tests such as the MCAS.
The MCAS can also be extremely biased. It has been shown that
students from middle-class white families tend to score better
students from other backgrounds. This can be explained by a couple
reasons. This country's racial prejudices run deep, affecting
opportunities given to minority students. Additionally, many inner-city
schools have fewer resources than suburban schools, which puts
in these schools at an academic disadvantage in terms of standardized
tests. Another relevant concern is that the history portion of
deals mostly with white Anglo-Saxon cultures. This means that
does not equally reflect the cultural heritage of all test-takers,
giving children with European ancestry an unfair advantage over
We are also quite concerned with the impact that the MCAS
students who have learning and/or mental disabilities. This test
cause particular anxiety and stress for kids who struggle in school.
example of this frustration is a kid who wrote on the essay portion
the test: " I am sorry. I am too stupid to take this test.
more disturbed child ripped up his test and screamed. He was given
zero, with no exception.
As you can see, we feel very passionate about this issue,
that the problems brought up in this article are recognized by
school board. We need the support of the public on this issue
so that we
are not overlooked as " a few rebellious, lazy students.
We would like to leave you with one final thought, should
child's fate be determined by a single one-size fits-all test?
The writers are eighth-graders at the Edward Devotion School.
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