For Immediate Release
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Contact:Heidi Guarino 781-338-3106 or JC Considine 781-338-3112

Board of Education Approves Recommended High School Program of Studies

MALDEN - The Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously approved a recommended high school program of studies designed to ensure that students graduate college and career ready. The so-called "MassCore" was developed in response to growing concerns by the state's colleges and university system that too many students require remedial help to catch up during their first year on campus. "The MassCore represents a deliberate effort by the Board to ensure that Massachusetts high school graduates are fully prepared to succeed in college," said Board of Education Chairman Paul Reville. "We expect that the adoption of the MassCore will lead to a dramatic reduction in students' needs for remedial classes in our colleges." Acting Education Commissioner Jeffrey Nellhaus agreed. "It's simple: Our students shouldn't get to college and have to take high school level coursework," he said. "Even after meeting the MCAS requirement, high school students need to be continually challenged so they keep learning and graduate ready for the rigor of college." "We must try to reduce the number of young students beginning college in need of remedial help, as this lack of preparation can be a drain on their finances and a barrier to the timely completion of their degrees," said Patricia Plummer, Chancellor of the Board of Higher Education. "Aligning the requirements for high school graduation and college admission is a logical step to address this problem." The recommended program of studies includes: four years of English, four years of Math, three years of a lab-based Science, three years of history, two years of the same foreign language, one year of an arts program and five additional "core" courses such as business education, health, and/or technology. MassCore also includes additional learning opportunities including AP classes, dual enrollment, a senior project, online courses for high school or college credit, and service or work-based learning. Nellhaus said high schools and districts are encouraged to review the recommended course of studies and either adopt it or enhance it to meet the needs of their students. Students who complete MassCore will get one step closer to earning the Certificate of Mastery, under the regulations the Board adopted last year. To complete the requirements for the Certificate students will also have to score at least 240 on the English and Math MCAS exams, take and pass an optional Algebra II assessment, and submit a writing sample. The recommended curriculum was developed by an advisory committee which included educators from K-12 and public and private higher education, high school students and high school guidance counselors. Over the next several months Department of Education officials will work with educators from around the state to provide MassCore technical assistance and support. The DOE will also work with high school and higher education teachers to develop college-level model course syllabi aligned with the state's curriculum frameworks. For more information on MassCore, look online at

Last Updated: November 27, 2007

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