Mountaineers take on MCAS

Following the Regional’s return to full in-person learning, the normalcy that students and teachers just began to find ended. Only one school week after returning to the building, all sophomores have to take both the English and Math MCAS.

“I don’t think that there should be MCAS testing this year,” said sophomore Eliot Josti. “It’s already been a rough year for so many students and more stressful testing just doesn’t seem to be in line with helping our mental health.” 

Several teachers agreed. 

“I think in terms of our student’s social and emotional wellbeing, we should have just put a moratorium on it [MCAS] for this year,” said English teacher Sasha Possemato. 

Beyond covering enough material to set students up for success in a shortened school year, teachers also have to monitor students taking the exam.

“I lost class time with my kids because of MCAS and I’m not going to be able to cover material during those testing days,” said math teacher Lynn Swidey. “This has absolutely added to my stress as a teacher.” 

The state required all sophomores to attend school in person for this test. Juniors had the opportunity to take MCAS for scholarship purposes, not to fulfill a graduation requirement. 

“It [having all sophomores and some juniors in-person testing] does make me nervous,” said junior Nandika Kangeti. “It means there’s a lot of people in the building and that worries me.” 

Swidey agreed.

“We are forcing some kids who may have anxiety about coming back in and have chosen Cohort C for a reason, to come back in specifically for a test. This could induce a whole lot of anxiety in itself and that affects the outcome of tests. It just doesn’t create a fair testing environment,” she said. 

Students and teachers agree that although MCAS may have held value in the past, this year seems like the wrong time to take it.  

“I think the purpose of it [MCAS] is to see what level students are at statewide, which holds value. But I don’t think it should be something that creates more problems like stress,” said sophomore EmmaChaya Lipton-Praver. 

Possemato agreed.  

“I understand why there was a need for MCAS, but overall I think it’s a lot of anxiety for not a lot of reward,” she said. 

Mountaineers have historically scored well on the MCAS. 

“I am not really sure what they’re going to find out by giving it this year,” said Social Studies teacher Jochen Welsch. “From what I understand of the MCAS, if you were going to do well on the MCAS in a normal year, you are going to do fine this year and if you weren’t going to do well, then you are not going to do well. I don’t think it really is going to change a whole lot.”

As MCAS drew closer, educators said they struggled to understand the state’s decision. 

“I think this year has been so stressful and our students are working so hard,” said Possemato. “Why put this additional stress on these kids who have already been through so much this year?”