Schools: Many who failed MCAS quit
by Megan Tench, Globe
Boston school officials
announced findings yesterday that a significant number of the students
in the Class of 2003 who failed the high-stakes MCAS exam in the
spring of 2001 and who did not take the retest in December of 2001
have dropped out of high school.
Data released at yesterday's School Committee
meeting showed that of the 1,675 students who failed the math portion
of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System exam in the
spring, 572 students did not take the retest. Of the 572, 168 dropped
out of high school.
Remaining in school were 278 who simply did not take
the test again. Transfers out of the system accounted for 106 and the
other 20 withdrew because they were expelled, hospitalized, or in
On the English portion of the test, 1,330 students
did not pass the first exam, and 379 did not take the retest. Of the
379, 107 dropped out. Of the remaining students, 187 didn't take the
exam, 68 transferred out of the district, and 17 withdrew because they
were expelled, hospitalized, or in jail.
School officials could not say how much overlap
there is in the data between the two portions of the exam.
So far, 51 percent of the Class of 2003 in Boston
have yet to pass the exam.
School Committee chairwoman Elizabeth Reilinger said
she is concerned about the high number of students who remained in
school but did not take the retest.
''Something is wrong with this picture,'' she said.
''I don't know where the disconnect is and I am trying to get a sense
The Class of 2003 is the first that must pass the
MCAS to graduate. Students have five opportunities to take a retest.
However, taking the retest is not a requirement.
Students in the Class of 2003 now have two more
opportunities left to retake the exam.