Massachusetts has had strong standards that align with college readiness, but the state is in the midst of revising those standards.


The state has been using the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment but is in the process of developing and administering a new assessment (derived from PARCC) called the Next-Generation MCAS. Due to the transitions taking place and the lack of transparency around those, it is not certain at this time that Massachusetts’ new standards and assessments will be as strong as they have been historically.


Massachusetts does not assess students in any language other than English.


This policy is due to a state law passed in 2002 — and excludes the high school mathematics assessment, which is offered in Spanish. Despite this legal obstacle, research indicates that English learners are best served by being permitted to take content-area assessments in their native language.


Lastly, Massachusetts should strengthen its plan by ensuring that it has a process in place to meet the 1 percent cap on alternate assessments for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.


New Jersey


New Jersey received top marks for strong commitments to college- and career-ready standards and high-quality, aligned assessments in math and English Language Arts, as well as assessments in science, social studies, and early grades (K-2) that will help address concerns about curriculum narrowing.


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