Results from the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System spring exams are in: Four out of five sophomores passed the tests, which are required for high school graduation.
The results reflect a steady improvement trend. The 80 percent passing rate for the sophomore class was 5 percentage points above last year’s, and 12 percentage points higher than three years ago.
State officials say the results from the mathematics and language arts tests prove that more students are living up to higher accountability expectations.
Critics claim the exams narrow classroom instruction and fail to take into account a broad range of students’ skills.
Despite the progress, achievement gaps persist. Sixty-nine percent of Hispanic students and 77 percent of black students passed the 2004 English exam, for example, compared with 93 percent of white students.