Politics Slows Mass. Assessment Changes

K-12 Testing

Assessment reform progress in Massachusetts has been undermined by political leaders diverting attention to unrelated issues. Instead of addressing state Board of Education delays in developing new curriculum frameworks which are to be the basis for an overhauled assessment system, Governor Bill Weld has spent his time downsizing and reorganizing the Board to meet the demands of its new chair, John Silber (see Examiner, Spring 1996).


As a result, schools may not have adequate time to adapt to the new content guidelines before exams based on them are required. Under the current schedule, sample questions will be tested this year with a statewide trial assessment in 1997-98. High stakes assessment for grades four, eight and ten begin in the 2000-2001 academic year. Advanced Systems of New Hampshire will develop the tests.