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  • Writer's picturePaul Ruseau

Standardized Testing

I have been a vocal critic of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, MCAS.

Research has made clear that standardized tests are really just proxies for the economic status of a family.  I would actually support MCAS if the result of lower scores meant greater resources from the state to help the schools that do not have a great number of well off families - alas, the state actually penalizes schools that do poorly - and provides no additional resources.

Adding insult to injury, real estate websites and school rating websites use standardized test scores almost exclusively to rate the schools a child would attend if a property were to be purchased.  This drives families with the means to select homes where already well off families live - creating a cycle of ever improving scores at some schools, and an ever worsening scores at other schools.  Meanwhile, the teaching and resources available at both the schools with 'great' ratings and the 'poor' ratings remain unchanged.

It is no secret, children growing up in families with limited resources have disadvantages - believing that schools can fully compensate for this is not based in reality - and if schools can make a difference, they would require greater resources - which are not available and are not directed at 'poor' schools.

Every Medford school is doing a great job.  Do they all have the same 'rating' according to the websites that categorize our schools?  No.  Am I concerned about this?  No. I sent my children to a school with the lowest 'rating' - it was an amazing school and my children got a great education there and so will your child.

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