Study: MCAS More affordable, More Rigorous and offers Better Information than PARCC

Authors call for state to phase out both PARCC and customary Core

BOSTON – In the wake of the apparent shift by Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell Chester which makes it increasingly likely that Massachusetts will update MCAS instead of adopt English and math assessments produced by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for school and Careers (PARCC), new research published by Pioneer Institute concludes that revising and updating MCAS would result in lower costs and much more rigorous assessments that will have better details about student performance.

Supporters also claim PARCC does a more satisfactory job of testing “higher-order thinking.” In fact, its new kinds of test merchandise is not research-based and not very good. They are often difficult to navigate and just what passes for testing higher-order thinking are merely multi-step problems.

At the main of PARCC's weaknesses are the Common Core standards that they're tied. The authors call on the Commonwealth to phase out Common Core and PARCC, and to base a revised MCAS on Massachusetts' pre-Common Core curriculum frameworks, updated by pertinent new information.

“How PARCC's False Rigor Stunts the Academic Growth of All Students” was written by Mark McQuillan, Richard P. Phelps and Sandra Stotsky. McQuillan is former dean from the School of Education at Southern Nh University and commissioner of education for that state of Connecticut. Prior to that particular, he was a deputy commissioner of education and a school superintendent in Massachusetts.

Richard P. Phelps is the author of 4 books on testing and founding father of the Nonpartisan Education Review (

Sandra Stotsky is professor emerita at the University of Arkansas where she held the 21st Century Chair in Teacher Quality. Previously she was senior associate commissioner from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education along with a member of the most popular Core Validation Committee.