The Massachusetts state board of education voted 7-2 late last week to raise the minimum score required for students to pass the state’s high school exit exam and earn a diploma.
Under the higher standards, a student will be required to do one of the following to graduate: score 240—considered “proficient”—on both the math and English portions of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System as a sophomore; or score 220 on each of the exams—considered to be “passing”—and complete an “educational proficiency plan.”
Educational proficiency plans will include reviews of students’ strengths and weaknesses in the content areas where they did not earn proficient scores, the courses they must take in the junior and senior years, and descriptions of the assessments that will be used to measure their progress toward proficiency.
The class of 2010 will be the first students affected by the new graduation requirements. Massachusetts first required sophomores to take the MCAS in 2001. Since then, scores have risen steadily, with 84 percent of students scoring at least 220 on the English and mathematics exams in 2006, and 59 percent scoring at least 240, out a maximum score of 280.
A version of this article appeared in the November 01, 2006 edition of Education Week