NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Massachusetts Students Chalk Up Impressive Progress on Tests

October 18, 2001

Massachusetts has developed highly-regarded tests to measure public-school students' level of progress and achievement. The first class which must pass the tests required for graduation is the class of 2003 -- and the results, announced this week, were impressive.

  • Some 82 percent of the class of 2003 passed the state's English test and 75 percent passed the math test.
  • This compares with pass rates of just 66 percent and 55 percent, respectively, last year.
  • The improvements are the result of eight years of reform and four years of testing.
  • A report from Achieve -- a school reform group formed by governors and business leaders -- concludes that the Massachusetts tests set world-class standards and hold students to reasonable cut-off scores for passing.

Virginia has also reported significant gains on 25 of the 28 state tests it gives.

Education reformers are optimistic that such progress will calm down critics who are nervous about using tests to hold schools accountable.

Source: Editorial, "Schools Sharpening Testing," USA Today, October 17, 2001; "Measuring Up: A Report on Education Standards and Assessments for Massachusetts," October 2001, Achieve, Inc.

For USA Today text


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