State education officials are looking to waive certain high school testing requirements for many students in Massachusetts due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley posted a memo ahead of the board’s Tuesday afternoon meeting in which he recommended modifying the “competency determination” for high school graduation for the classes of 2021, 2022 and 2023.
The determination requires that students pass one high school science and technology/engineering Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System test to graduate. Many students take the test in their freshman or sophomore year.
Under Riley’s recommendation, the determination could be awarded to students who earned credit for a course in the relevant field and who showed competency in one of the four subjects.
The goal is to address disruptions caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 or the state of emergency, and the modifications would apply to students entering grades 10, 11 or 12, Riley said.
“While some students in the classes of 2021–2023 have already met the state standard in STE, many others are missing the opportunity to take the end-of-course MCAS test this spring. In the next school year, some students will move on to science classes in which we do not offer an MCAS test,” the commissioner wrote in his memo.
The recommendation comes as the outbreak of the viral respiratory infection has altered academics across the country, forcing students and educators throughout Massachusetts to move to remote learning.
The commissioner is allowed to make the testing changes for the 2019 to 2020 school year because of a bill Baker signed into law in late April permitting the Department of Elementary of Secondary Education to modify MCAS graduation requirements for high school seniors due to the public health crisis.