Email (excerpted), response to PolitiFact Texas, J.C. Considine, director of Board & Media Relations, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Dec. 11, 2012

12:01 pm

Dec. 11, 2012

Massachusetts public school students must meet the state’s high school graduation requirement, in addition to meeting all local requirements, in order to receive a high school diploma.

To meet the state’s high school graduation requirement, Massachusetts public school students must meet the Competency Determination (CD) standard by scoring Proficient or higher on the grade 10 MCAS English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics tests, and by scoring Needs Improvement or higher on the High School MCAS Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) test.  If a student passes (i.e., scores Needs Improvement) the grade 10 ELA and Math tests but does not reach proficiency, they must complete a local Education Proficiency Plan to meet the CD requirement for graduation.

So, yes, there are three high school tests (grade 10 ELA, grade 10 Math, high school STE) that public school students in Massachusetts must pass to meet the state’s graduation requirement.

The statement below about required tests in the entire MA system is vague and unclear.  The state does have required MCAS tests in grades 3-8, just as every state has required testing in those grades under No Child Left Behind.  But it is not clear whether you are only asking about high school tests, which my response above assumes, or about all tests across all grades.


JC Considine

Director of Board & Media Relations

MA Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE)