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For Immediate Release
Monday, February 21, 2000
Contact:Jonathan Palumbo, 781-338-3105

Proposed Changes to Mathematics Framework Will Not Affect MCAS

Malden - Chairman of the Board of Education James A. Peyser and Commissioner of Education David P. Driscoll want to assure students, teachers and parents that the proposed changes to the Mathematics Framework, that the Board will vote on Wednesday, will not affect the MCAS exam, particularly as it relates to the Class of 2003.

The changes will not be reflected in this year's test, and will be phased in over the next few years. Any questions related to the changes in standards for the 2001 and 2002 test will be included only in that part of the test, referred to as the matrix section, that does not count towards a student's score.

Commissioner Driscoll said, "These changes will not affect the Class of 2003. In fact, they will help students and classroom teachers, in that the framework will be clearer. In quick summary, this year's MCAS exam has already been developed, the questions for the following two years will be part of the matrix, and even the changes for the class of 2005 and beyond will be limited."

Chairman Peyser said, "To make doubly sure that the testing program is consistent with previous versions and curriculum development, I will be asking the Board to amend the motion on Wednesday, to include the provision that the Mathematics Assessment Development Committee review the framework and confirm that the learning standards will not materially affect the comparability and validity of the MCAS assessment, and report back to the Board on any recommended changes to be made in the framework as a result of the review."

As stated in the Board materials the main differences between the revised framework and the original 1995 document are:

  • Clearer and more specific learning standards so that teachers at all levels will know what they are expected to teach.

  • Narrower gradespans. Within each strand, the standards are grouped by pairs of grades: PreK-K, 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, and 11-12. Because there are now more gradespans, the document contains more standards than the 1995 document.

  • Division of the standards for the secondary grades into two sections: one section showing standards for integrated mathematics courses from grade 7 to 12; the other showing the standards for three single discipline courses-algebra I, geometry, and algebra II-regardless of the grade level (8, 9, 10; or 9, 10, 11) at which these courses might be taught.

Commissioner Driscoll added, "We worked with many classroom teachers in developing the final draft. The process started with the work of the Mathematics Revision Panel who worked on the framework form January 1999 to November 1999. We also received feedback from the public, from PreK-12 teachers and administrators from a range of school districts in Massachusetts, and from mathematicians from many universities."

The changes were made in accordance with the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993, where the Board and the Department are directed to review on a timely basis all of the curriculum frameworks. The purpose of revisions is to ensure that these statewide guidelines are useful to schools and districts and reflect accurate content.

The Board of Education will discuss and vote on adopting the final draft version of the Mathematics Framework at their regular meeting at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 23 at the Department of Education in Malden.

For more information on the revisions visit the website.



Last Updated: February 21, 2000
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