201 Students Granted MCAS Appeals in First Round- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, December 10, 2002
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106

201 Students Granted MCAS Appeals in First Round

Boston - A total of 201 of the 392 MCAS appeals submitted for students in the class of 2003 have been granted, Governor Jane Swift and education officials announced on Tuesday.

In all, 43 of the 84 English Language Arts appeals filed were granted, and 158 of the 308 math submissions were granted.

Gov. Swift and Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll congratulated the students who were granted appeals and encouraged others who had not yet passed to do their best on this week's MCAS retest.

"The goal of Education Reform is to increase the performance of Massachusetts' public school students, and the primary measure of that performance is the MCAS exam," said Gov. Swift. "But for students who cannot perform well on these tests, I am pleased that a process has also been put into place that looks at other factors, such as classroom performance and grade comparisons."

Commissioner Driscoll agreed.

"This process makes allowances for students who just can't score a 220 on the MCAS, but who are performing at a 220 level or higher every day in the classroom," he said. "Through this statistical method, we have found a system that doesn't back off from our standard, and allows us give credit to students who deserve it, based on their overall academic record. This is simply an issue of fairness."

Appeals were only granted to students who were able to show that they could meet the 220-standard in other ways.

The only appeals considered were for students who met both the eligibility and academic performance requirements.

To be eligible, a student must have taken the grade 10 MCAS in either English or math at least three times, and scored a 216 or above at least once; have maintained at least a 95 percent attendance record; and have participated in tutoring and academic support programs in school.

Once deemed eligible, the performance appeal is filed by the student's district superintendent, and contains evidence of the student's knowledge and skills in the subject area, including teacher recommendations, the student's grades in courses taken in the subject area and work samples. The appeal must also contain grades and MCAS scores of other students in the school who took the same courses.

Twelve Massachusetts public high school educators including a principal, guidance counselors and English and mathematics teachers and supervisors were appointed by Commissioner Driscoll to serve as the first members of the MCAS Appeals Board. They examined all appeals for eligibility and performance requirements as outlined in the MCAS appeals regulations and made recommendations to the Commissioner on whether to grant the appeals, deny them or find no determination.

Students granted an appeal will not have to take the MCAS retest this week, and those who now either passed or earned an appeal in both the English and math exams will be deemed to have earned a Competency Determination.

Last Updated: December 10, 2002

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