The MCAS: Should It Be a Graduation Requirement?


It’s Tuesday morning. Everybody looks exhausted. Some students complain the minute we walk into school, saying things like, “Why do we even need this?” while others come in a decent mood, ready for what’s to come. The bell after homeroom rings and everybody is on the way to their assigned class in silence. Meanwhile, the people already in their testing rooms are being lectured about their phones and the rules that need to be followed while the test is in place. The most notable part of the lecture, is the piece that states that this test will be used to determine whether or not the students taking it will receive a high school diploma.

Students are tested many times over their school years, so why should just one test determine our academic strengths and intelligence? It seems as if students could have the best grades, perfect attendance, 3.0-4.0 GPA, and still won’t graduate with a high school diploma, only a certificate of completion. This doesn’t seem fair to those who are academically successful but don’t test very well. Senior, Mya Laboy, stated, “I don’t feel like it’s important enough to be a necessity to graduate. I feel like it doesn’t prove my progress in my actual classes and not everyone tests well. Everyone’s learning abilities are different.” The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education believes that we need to be tested to show our academic abilities, and of course the state looks over our results. What if we don’t pass the test? Well, it pretty much determines the rest of our lives.

The MCAS is a test that not many enjoy talking about, but it does have some positive qualities. Overall, you can see student progress as a group as well as teachers’ progress. “I feel that the MCAS does show how we improve over the years, and it should be a requirement for graduation so our improvement is proven,” Simon Surrette ’19 voiced. The state uses this test to determine whether or not students are meet the specific learning standards. This means that, with these scores, the state knows where to focus its efforts. Altogether, it helps people on the outside to see where you, your school, and district stand academically.

While some students prepare for this, others are careless. This test is supposed to help see where you are as a student or teacher and see where you need to improve. On the other hand, there are other students who don’t test very well, or having different language and learning abilities, and this isn’t fair to those individuals. Should this one test decide where your future will go? Should it be a requirement for students to receive a high school diploma, even if they’ve met all of the other requirements?