the mcas: this does not define you.

This does not define youIt’s that time of year again…The snow is beginning to melt (ish). The days are feeling a bit longer. Daylight is sticking around for dinner.

And statewide exams are lurking around the corner.

In Massachusetts, sophomores must pass the MCAS exam (in ELA, math, & science) in order to graduate. So, naturally, I’ve shared strategies and sample test questions with them, and we’ve taken practice tests. Or test. Singular. (Since this year’s MCAS is the first overhaul since 1993, there’s only one practice test available. For the entire state.)

I’ve also shared with my sophomores and a bit more loudly that, while the MCAS is important, it in no way defines them. It’s one test. Assessing where these 15- and 16-year-olds are on those two particular days. And after seven months together, I can attest that they are so much more than whatever they end up scoring on the MCAS.

In their heads, I think they know that. However, I’m not sure knowing that necessarily assuages their anxiety.

So, to put the MCAS (or SAT or ACT or Midyear Exam or Final Exam or…) back into perspective,  I share the video below by teacher-author Kumar Sathy. (It’s also a great way to expose them to spoken word poetry.)

I also share with my students the letter-read-’round-the-world, penned by an Indiana teacher before their state exams (pictured below). This letter practically broke the internet after a student’s parent shared it on Instagram. And you can see why.

Teacher Letter Before Tests.PNG

For the record, my students are just as fabulous as hers. And if you work with students, I’m willing to bet that yours are, too.

Are our students anxious about these state-wide assessments? Uh, yeah.

Will they try their best on these tests? Most definitely.

But will their scores define them? Not a chance.



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