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For Immediate Release
Tuesday, September 24, 2002
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106

State-endorsed “Certificate of Achievement” proposed for students who do not pass MCAS

MALDEN - Students who do not pass both the English and Mathematics MCAS exams but who meet all other requirements for graduation will be eligible to receive a state-endorsed “Certificate of Achievement” on graduation day, according to a recommendation made to the Board of Education on Tuesday.

Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll said districts will have the option of granting the credential to students who meet specific requirements. While not a high school diploma, this certificate will assist students in gaining access to some jobs, job training organizations, the military, community colleges and state trade licensing organizations.

“This is not an alternative diploma, or a second track for students,” said Board of Education Chairman James Peyser. “This is an opportunity for us to recognize students who are meeting us halfway and doing the work, but who need more time beyond twelfth grade to reach the standards we have set.”

Commissioner Driscoll agreed.

“Students who do not pass both the English and math MCAS exams, but who have worked hard in their local schools deserve recognition for the work they have done,” he said. “I see this as something that can propel them to get the extra help they need in English and math either in school, college or on the job, and ultimately to then return to earn their diploma when they’re ready.”

School districts already have the authority to issue local certificates to students who meet local requirements. If approved, granting the state-endorsed credential will be optional.

A Blue Ribbon Advisory Committee made up of legislators, business leaders and educators assisted Commissioner Driscoll in determining the criteria for the credential. Students in the class of 2003 must complete all local graduation requirements and have participated in tutoring and other extra help programs to earn one.

Students in the class of 2004 and beyond must also meet additional criteria. These include retaking the grade 10 MCAS at least once each year, and taking courses each year aimed at helping them meet the 10th grade curriculum standards.

The proposal was put out for public comment following the Board meeting.

Last Updated: September 24, 2002
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