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For Immediate Release
Monday, March 3, 2003
Contact:Shawn Feddeman 617-725-4025 or Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106

Romney Announces MCAS Retest Results: 90 Percent Of Class Of 2003 Have Now Passed

SOMERVILLE - Governor Mitt Romney today released the statewide results of the latest administration of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) retest, announcing that 90 percent of students in the class of 2003 have passed the English and math sections of the exam.

Romney congratulated the students who passed the test and pledged extra support to those who have not yet met the high school graduation requirement.

For seniors who have not yet passed, Romney said they will have another chance to take the test in May and again this summer after participating in extra help programs.

The Governor said his budget released last week calls for $53 million in MCAS remediation funds, including $3 million for community colleges to develop pathways for students who do not pass the MCAS test by the end of high school. Students can take the test as many times as they want until they pass.

"I am proud of all the students and teachers who worked so hard to achieve such great success," Romney said. "In Massachusetts, we are restoring the value of our high school diplomas and preparing our students for the challenges of college and the 21st century workplace."

Romney added, "I have a message for those students who have not yet passed the MCAS: We will not give up on you and you should not give up on yourself."

According to results from the December 2002 retest, 93 percent of approximately 60,000 students in the class have passed the English exam and 91 percent have passed the math exam.

"I have consistently said that when you hold students to high but reasonable standards, they will do what they can to meet them, and the class of 2003 is proving me right," said Education Commissioner David Driscoll.

The results were announced at Somerville High School, where 97 percent of the class have passed English, 95 percent have passed math and 94 percent have passed both exams.

Results for students in the class of 2004, who took the retest for the first time in December, also improved. In total, 84 percent of this year's junior class has now passed both exams, with 90 percent passing English and 86 percent passing math.

The class of 2004 is well ahead of the class of 2003 after two administrations of the exam. Eighty-four percent passing after two tries is an eight percent increase over the 76 percent of the class of 2003 who had passed after two attempts.

Other results show that while the racial achievement gap is slowly closing, it still exists. For the class of 2003, 94 percent of white students have passed both exams, compared to 75 percent of black students and 70 percent of Hispanics. Among limited English proficient students, 67 percent have passed both exams as have 69 percent of students with disabilities.

The gap is also reflected in urban and non-urban school comparisons. In non-urban districts, 94 percent of students have passed both exams, as compared to 79 percent of students in urban communities.

Students who have not yet passed either or both of the MCAS exams can take the test again in May, and will be eligible for a local certificate of attainment if they have met their local requirements for graduation. This summer, extra help programs in English and math will be available to them at high schools around the state. These programs will conclude with a fifth retest opportunity with results released by Labor Day.

Last Updated: March 3, 2003
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