As St. Patrick’s Day and spring approach we think of the warm sun, flowers growing and MCAS. Yikes! MCAS is right around the corner. Parents often ask me how they can prepare their child, how to study for the exam, or how to ensure their child scores in the advanced category. My answer is very simple; let your child know that as long as they try their best, you’ll be proud of the results. Also, make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep and a good breakfast but we’re hoping those are daily events anyway.
MCAS should not be looked at as an end all and be all measurement of a child’s progress. It is a snapshot of how a child performed on a particular test over the course of a few days. We find that the assessments performed regularly in our classrooms are much more valuable in tracking individual student progress and informing our instruction than MCAS results. We do get some great data from our aggregate results of MCAS. We look at our curriculum to ensure we’re covering necessary topics and check to make sure our programming is effective for our students. Occasionally we’ll look at individual results to determine if they match the types of student results we’re seeing in the classroom to better help us understand the strengths and areas of potential growth areas for individual students but often we find our classroom assessments much more informative.
Although MCAS receives a great deal of attention publicly, and we do get some great data from the results, its importance is consistently overrated. Children just need to know they should try their best, come to school with a full tummy and be well rested. That is the best way to help them prepare. The rest has been taken care of by our wonderful teachers, strong curriculum and the many life experiences you’ve provided to them as you’ve watched them grow.