Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, or the MCAS perhaps the most pointless test ever used to measure the academic level and capability of students that has ever been implemented in the schooling system. The entire test is a flaw. You do not discover a students level of capability using trick questions and confusing word play. In my opinion the alone fact that as a student we spend more than half our time in school preparing for this test is mindbogglingly, ridiculous. The point of the test is supposed to be to measure what students know, but in reality all we are being taught is how to pass the test. In the end we learn hardly anything more than what is needed to pass this test. As a student myself who currently has to go through the dreadful process of preparing and taking the MCAS, I find the test to be easy and this is something some of my peers agree on as well. Though much to my own disgust, I know that many other students, some who have learning disabilities myself among them, struggle with the test. Education is not simply a one size fits all practice, so why would we have a one size fits all test? As students we do not all share the same way of thinking and not all of us are as strong when it comes to taking tests. Good thing too, because last time I check the real world isn’t multiple choice or short answer. Taking the test itself is stressful, so much so that many students find it difficult to preform under the stress. With kids as young as fourth graders you simply can not put a test in front of them, tell them they can not ask any questions or use any resources, and tell them this test is very important to their grades and can potentially prevent them from progressing forward to the next grade. And even as a high schooler the stress is not any less real when you know this test could potentially prevent you from graduating or getting into a good college, even if your grades are good. How is this the right way to measure our capability?
To me I can not understand why we are not allowed to use a dictionary or ask questions. I work in an office for over vacation and I know that they want you to ask questions because it is better to ask a question, then to make an error. And that is the real world, in the real world if you do not know the answer or what to do, you use your resources and figure it out. As I write this I am making spelling errors, but that’s OK because like most, I have spell check or some other way of fixing my errors, even asking a co-worker or one of my peers at school for help. That is real life, not a test where you are stripped of your resources. This is the age of technology, but technology is not a crutch by any means, it is not the substitute for learning or an excuse for not knowing, but it is a resource that should not be removed in order to test an individual when in real life that individual will have it at hand.
This test takes up so much time to prepare for that as a student we do not learn much else. Not only that but our creativity is stripped away as it is not considered helpful when it comes to taking the MCAS. I know from experience that teachers push for us to not be creative in our writing mainly on the ELA portion of the test, because the MCAS is looking for dry and strait forward responses, but that is wrong literature is more than just a way of communication it is an art form. As a student I was scolded often for elaborating more or twisting the topic into my own view which was always different from the guild lines of the MCAS. We can not have this in our schools. We can not tell a student that they must write the same generic answer that every other student must answer with. Can you not see how this is harmful to our students? If we all are taught to problem solve and answer in a generic strait forward one solution way then we can never progress forward. If we have our entire youth thinking on the same level than we will never come up with any different solutions and we will be snuffing out the great minds of the future.
I would like to quote one of the greatest minds in history, Albert Einstein,who once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” and that is what the MCAS is doing. We are taking this one size fits all test and telling those who do not fit that they are stupid. How is that at all OK? This test does not tell me that I am smart, it tells me that I can recognize a play on words or maybe I am just good at guessing. The open responses are not strait forward and often are trying to trick the student into misunderstanding. How does that show us anything? I could be amazing at math, but I might fail the math portion of the MCAS because literature is not my strong suit and I misunderstood the question. And since we are not allowed to ask questions, even if I could figure out the problem with a little clarification, I will fail. The MCAS is not helping us learn or become better students if anything it is preventing us from doing so.
I remember a few years ago I asked a math teacher of mine a question and my teacher told me that I didn’t need to learn that because it was not going to appear on the MCAS. How is that at all beneficial? My question was not a priority to the teacher as it would not appear on the MCAS. I have now forgotten the bases of that question, but I still remember my shock and even my disappointment at being denied that knowledge, because of the MCAS. So I strongly believe that this test is only hindering our students ability to succeed, both as a student and as a future citizen. This test should be discontinued, and not only should the test booklet be destroyed but the answer booklets should be as well.


3 thoughts on “MCAS

  1. I was suggested this blog by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. You’re
    incredible! Thanks!

  2. I completely agree with you. I believe that for a society that claims to support uniqueness, individuality, and innovativeness, we have been lacking in those qualities as far as education. There is most definitely a need for improvement. Your post is the perfect expression of my feelings for this test. By the way good luck on the rest of your MCAS examinations.

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