What EXACTLY the MCAS claims to test vs. my daughter. The test AS DESIGNED cannot assess what it claims to in regards to my daughter.

From the Commonwealth: (Note the second bullet, emphasis mine)
Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System
About the MCAS
Background

The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) is designed to meet the requirements of the Education Reform Law of 1993. This law specifies that the testing program must

  • test all public school students in Massachusetts, including students with disabilities and limited English proficient students;
  • measure performance based on the Massachusetts Curriculum Framework learning standards;
  • report on the performance of individual students, schools, and districts.

As required by the Education Reform Law, students must pass the grade 10 tests in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics as one condition of eligibility for a high school diploma (in addition to fulfilling local requirements).


Keeping in mind that my daughter cannot show she understands what the number one means, cannot choose between two objects, cannot communicate at all, this is the age appropriate list from the curriculum framework that she should be tested on:

From the Massachusetts Curriculum Framework, Math page 78:

Students engage in problem solving, communicating, reasoning, connecting, and representing as they:

10.N.1 Identify and use the properties of operations on real numbers, including the associative, commutative, and distributive properties; the existence of the identity and inverse elements for addition and multiplication; the existence of nth roots of positive real numbers for any positive integer n; and the inverse relationship between taking the nth root of and the nth power of a positive real number.

10.N.2 Simplify numerical expressions, including those involving positive integer exponents or the absolute value, e.g., 3(24 – 1) = 45, 4|3 – 5| + 6 = 14; apply such simplifications in the solution of problems.

10.N.3 Find the approximate value for solutions to problems involving square roots and cube roots without the use of a calculator, …

10.N.4 Use estimation to judge the reasonableness of results


Now let’s look at what the Commonwealth says about the ALT exam: (emphasis mine)

MCAS Alternate Assessment (MCAS-Alt)
Background:

MCAS is designed to measure a student’s knowledge of key concepts and skills outlined in the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. A small number of students with the most significant disabilities who are unable to take the standard MCAS tests even with accommodations participate in the MCAS Alternate Assessment (MCAS-Alt). MCAS-Alt consists of a portfolio of specific materials collected annually by the teacher and student. Evidence for the portfolio may include work samples, instructional data, videotapes, and other supporting information.


So the Commonwealth decided to have a separate (but equal?) curriculum framework for students with disabilities. This time, instead of looking at age appropriate for my 15 year old, nineth grade daughter, let’s look at the PreK and Kindergarten requirements. 

Resource Guide to The Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for Students with Disabilities (2006)

PreK – K Learning Standard

  • Count by ones to at least 20.
  • Match quantities up to at least 10 with numerals and words.
  • Identify positions of objects in sequences (e.g., first, second) up to fifth.
  • Compare sets of up to at least 10 concrete objects using appropriate language (e.g., none, more than, fewer than, same number of, one more than) and order numbers.
  • Understand the concepts of whole and half.
  • Identify U.S. coins by name.
  • Use objects and drawings to model and solve related addition and subtraction problems to ten.
  • Estimate the number of objects in a group and verify results.

“The essence of the standard:”

  • Begin to count, group, sort, and match quantities of numbers
  • Use the “language” of numbers (both verbal and written)
  • Identify coins
  • Learn concepts of whole and half

My daughter not only cannot do any of those things and they are Pre K standards. Most importantly, THE SCHOOL HAS NEVER ATTEMPTED TO TEACH HER THOSE THINGS. Read that again. Now, why should she take a test that assesses that which was NEVER TAUGHT. If they need to assess what the school is doing for her, what she is learning, she should be tested on that which has been taught or minimally attempted to be taught.

Let’s look at the “Least Complex ACCESS SKILLS” in the same document:

  • Point to object as requested
  • Grasp, manipulate, and release coins of various sizes
  • Hit switch to activate counting or other math program on computer
  • Activate an electronic device to access text, communicate with others, or participate in an instructional activity
  • Turn attention toward another person
  • Organize instructional materials
  • Take turns appropriately during classroom discussion
  • Respond to/initiate contacts with others
  • Apply rules for appropriate classroom behavior
  • Use appropriate social greetings
  • Follow simple directions
  • Identify self and/or others
  • Initiate or respond to request for joint attention

MY DAUGHTER CANNOT DO ANY OF THOSE SKILLS. MY DAUGHTER HAS NEVER BEEN TAUGHT ANY OF THOSE SKILLS. THERE HAS BEEN NO SERIOUS ATTEMPT TO TEACH MY DAUGHTER THOSE SKILLS. THOSE ARE NOT MATH SKILLS WHY ARE THEY USED TO ASSESS MATH KNOWLEDGE? This test cannot assess my daughter in any of those actions or skills. Period.

2 Responses to “What EXACTLY the MCAS claims to test vs. my daughter. The test AS DESIGNED cannot assess what it claims to in regards to my daughter.”

  1. e1d26o49w6ab2a2y

  2. Did the school system send in an alternative assessment for your daughter? by law you have the right to view the portfolio before they submit it to the assessment committee?? how did they justify the submission to you and your family?

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