OPINION: State Rep. Candidate Shepard Opposes Changes To MCAS Test Score Requirement For Graduation

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By Margareth Shepard

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FRAMINGHAM – I join nearly 100 Massachusetts state legislators in opposing raising the MCAS test score requirement for high school graduation.  Such an increase would further disproportionately impact students with disabilities, students of color, and English language learners, while increasing anxiety and stress among all students and teachers.  The COVID-19 pandemic has been detrimental to the mental health of students, and this change to the graduation requirement would only further harm them.

I oppose all high-stakes testing in education.  No one test accurately captures a students academic abilities or learnings.  Students who fail to pass these tests suffer emotional consequences, along with the academic and professional realities of not earning a diploma.  Too much time in the classroom is lost to preparing and taking these tests, time that should otherwise be used to support the social-emotional learning of all students.

I am honored to have the endorsement of the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA), and if elected, will co-sponsor and support their priority bills that further invest in our classrooms, including passing a three-year moratorium on high-stakes testing.  We must work to close the achievement gap in education while supporting teachers and students by removing unnecessary and harmful testing requirements that put undue stress and anxiety on students, families, and our entire education system.

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Margareth Shepard is the former City Councilor for District 7 in Framingham. She is one of three Democrats running to be the next state representative for the 6th Middlesex District.

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