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For Immediate Release
Tuesday, April 2, 2002
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106 or Kristin Moresi 617-727-2759

Swift urges students to relax and stay focused at MCAS kick-off

NEW BEDFORD - Calling on all students to do their best, stay focused and most importantly, not worry, Governor Jane Swift officially kicked off the 2002 MCAS season on Tuesday with a pep rally at the Charles S. Ashley Elementary School.

Speaking at the school just hours after third graders across the state completed the first session of the reading test, Gov. Swift said she is confident that the extra efforts put in by students, teachers and parents will be evident in this year’s results.

"You have excellent teachers who are working hard to make sure that you can do your very best in school," Swift told students. "It’s very important that you continue to try hard in school, do your homework and believe in yourselves."

Tuesday marked the first day of the 2002 spring MCAS administration. Third graders this week will be tested in reading. Next week fourth, seventh and tenth graders will take the long composition portion of the English Language Arts (ELA) exam. Make-up tests and the grade 10 long composition retest will be given the week of May 9. The remainder of this year’s MCAS exams will be given in the period from May 14-24.

This year, third graders will be tested in reading, fourth graders will be tested in ELA and math; fifth graders will be tested in science and technology/engineering and history and social science; sixth graders will be tested in math; seventh graders will be tested in ELA; eighth graders will be tested in math, science and technology/engineering, and history and social science; and tenth graders will be tested in ELA and math.

On the 2001 reading test, 68 percent of Charles S. Ashley third graders scored in proficient, the top category for that exam. On the fourth grade ELA exam, 52 percent scored in proficient, up from just 5 percent the previous year.

"I am proud of the extra efforts I have seen put in by teachers and students around the state in preparing for this year’s exam," said Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll. "I wish everyone luck, and encourage all students to concentrate, remember what they have learned, and simply do their best."

New Bedford Mayor Frederick M. Kalisz, Jr. echoed Commissioner Driscoll’s good wishes, and thanked Gov. Swift for her support.

"The students at the Ashley School have worked hard for this and Governor Swift's decision to hold this year's MCAS rally in New Bedford is testament to their hard work and determination," he said. "The community should be proud of their accomplishments."

For more information on the 2002 MCAS administration, check the DOE's Web site.

Last Updated: April 2, 2002
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