James McDermott is a former Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, member of the MCAS Development Committee and now an Assistant Professor of Education at Clark University. He was a major booster of MCAS when first implemented.
I am no longer an MCAS booster.
My reform beliefs have been hijacked. I realize now that MCAS is not viewed as a means to a much higher end. MCAS has become the end.
The consequence? Lower expectations.
Yes, the focus on testing actually lowers expectations for our children when it takes the focus away from teaching for understanding.
I’ve seen it happen and it breaks my heart. I’ve seen great teaching and learning suspended in favor of weeks or even months of MCAS preparation.
For those of us who believe that putting so much emphasis on a single measurement–MCAS scores–among myriad of metrics available to gauge student performance is absurd, this is a reaffirming read.