MCAS changes approved: Higher graduation standards coming for future high school seniors

MALDEN, Mass. — The state board of education has voted to approve changes to the MCAS that would force students to earn higher scores on the standardized state test to graduate from high school.

The Monday vote was 8-3 in favor of the changes recommended by Commissioner Jeffrey Riley.

Incoming first-year high school students - the class of 2026 - would be the first group of students forced to face the new testing standard.

Students in the classes of 2026 through the class of 2029 would be required to earn a scaled score of at least 486 on the English language arts and mathematics MCAS and a scaled score of at least 470 on the science and technology/engineering MCAS tests to earn their “competency determination” in those subjects.

The board also approved an amendment to Riley’s proposal to set a standard for the Class of 2030 and beyond to a score of 500 for ELA and Math

The Education Reform Act of 1993 established the “competency determination” for high school graduation.

Students must meet standards adopted by the Board - and measured by the MCAS - in order to be eligible for a high school diploma. The test for high school students is first taken during their sophomore year.

“Raising the CD standard is critical, as is the message that we believe students are capable of meeting the higher standard and the Commonwealth and its educators will support them to do that,” said Riley.

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