Testing College Readiness: Massachusetts Compares the Validity of Two Standardized Tests

Publisher: Education Next, vol. 16, no. 3
Jun 21, 2016
Ira Nichols-Barrer, Kate Place, Erin Dillon, and Brian P. Gill

The state of Massachusetts introduced a system of standardized testing in its public schools three years before the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 mandated such practices for all 50 states. Although the tests have evolved over time, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) has been in place ever since. But after Massachusetts adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010, its education leaders faced a decision: whether to stick with MCAS, which it had already revised to align with the Common Core, or switch to a “next-generation” test that was specifically designed for the Common Core—and to assess students’ readiness for college. More than 40 other states have signed on to Common Core, and many face similar decisions about their student assessment systems.