State Rep. Tram T. Nguyen is calling on the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to rethink last week’s decision to raise graduation requirements for public school students.
“Increasing the stakes in an already high-stakes testing does not seem to be the right way to improve the mental health or the academic success of our overstressed students,” the Andover Democrat said in an Instagram post over the weekend. “I urge the Board to reconsider, and hope that the next administration will place more of a priority on students’ mental health and wellbeing.”
DESE’s Aug. 15 decision means Massachusetts students will need to score higher on MCAS, the state’s standardized test, to graduate high school. DESE raised the minimum English score to 486 from 472 and the minimum science score to 470 from 220. The math score remains unchanged at 486. There are exceptions to each test’s score for students who complete an educational proficiency plan.
The new scores sparked protests from teachers, students and parents.
“This despite protests from educators and parents, who point out that students, especially those currently entering 9th grade, have suffered stress due to the pandemic, not to mention gaps in their education due to COVID-related quarantines,” Nguyen wrote.