Massachusetts Dumps MCAS for PARCC-stuffed “MCAS 2.0”
On November 12, 2015, the PARCC consortium announced that it will now offer several “testing options,” which amounts to little more than PARCC now becoming a test item vendor by degrees.
Weeks before, on October 19, 2015, Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Mitchell Chester proposed that DESE create a hybrid of the state’s current assessment, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) and PARCC.
He called it “MCAS 2.0.”
It should come as no surprise that on November 17, 2015, Massachusett’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) voted 8-3 fr what amounted to a set-up: either a revised MCAS (i.e., now PARCC-stuffed MCAS 2.0) or full-blown PARCC.
So, the DESE choice was actually Sort of Hidden PARCC or Obvious PARCC.
And in typical, corporate-reform “urgency,” MCAS 2.0 is supposed to be constructed, polished, and ready for use in spring 2017.
Note that spring 2016 is just beyond the approaching holiday season.
However, Chester, who will apparently continue as PARCC governing board chair (now that PARCC has been remade as a “next generation item vendor”) believes that MCAS 2.0 is “doable” because MCAS is not “from scratch.”
One could view this from two perspectives: One is that MCAS already exists. But the other is that MCAS 2.0 will be the candy shell of MCAS with a nougat PARCC center.
Which makes me think of New York.
I wonder if this thinly-disguised effort to transform MCAS into PARCC will inadvertently fuel the Massachusetts Opt Out movement.
Chester may have pushed Massachusetts teachers, parents and students too far. He might have just created Mass Opt Out 2.0.