Students in Massachusetts have started an organization calling for a boycott of the state’s high-stakes Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System. The group is known as the Student Coalition for Alternatives to MCAS – or, for short, SCAM. You can access their web page at: www.scam-mcas.org.
THE FIGHTING ILLINI
In Illinois, meanwhile, a group of Chicago students who last year intentionally flunked an Illinois state test say they have talked 200 high school juniors across the state into doing the same thing this year.
The test is the Prairie State Achievement Exam. Beginning next year, student transcripts will note whether students passed the test. There may also be special certificates on their diplomas.
The boycott is being led by the group Organized Students of Chicago. The group can be contacted via e-mail at: OSC3000@aol.com.
SAT SCORES AND PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS
All those who are getting mediocre scores on your SATs, take heart. You, too, might be a presidential candidate. George W. Bush received an SAT verbal score of 566. And Bill Bradley got an SAT verbal score of 485.
TEST-SHY POLS IN FLORIDA
While we’re on the subject of politicians and tests, Florida’s governor, education commissioner, and top lawmakers have refused a request that they take the Florida standardized test that all state students are expected to pass.
The St. Petersburg Times challenged the politicians to take the test, which is the centerpiece of the state’s new accountability system. To a person, they said no.
LOS ANGELES BACKTRACKS
School officials in Los Angeles recently estimated that if they fully implemented the district’s “no social promotion” policy, as many as half of the city’s 700,000 students could be forced to repeat a grade. Problems would be particularly severe for the more than 50% of the students who are not fluent in English.
As a result, the district has modified its “no social promotion” policy so that it will affect only students who are failing English. Further, the standards will only affect second- and eighth-graders.