The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 28, 2008


MCAS adds history tests

This year’s Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) evaluations will formally include history, which had previously been administered as pilot tests, Carlisle School Librarian Sandy Kelly told the Carlisle School Committee (CSC) at the March 19 meeting. Kelly, who is also the social studies curriculum coordinator, told the CSC that fifth- and seventh-grade students will take the history and social science test in May.

“Will this require us to realign our curriculum?” asked CSC Chair Nicole Burkel. Kelly explained the school’s curriculum is based on the state requirements. “The benchmarks that we established are pretty much the existing frameworks, so if the tests follow the frameworks we’ll be fine,” responded Kelly.

The content for the fifth-grade test will be 35% North American geography, 35% American history (pre-1400 to 1812), and 30% civics, government and economics, explained Kelly. The school curriculum is aligned with the tests, said Kelly. Third-grade students study North American geography and the history of Massachusetts, fourth graders cover Mexico (including the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas), and Canada, and fifth graders study government and local politics, she explained. The sixth graders study world geography and ancient civilization, while seventh graders focus on ancient Greece and Rome. “The seventh-grade MCAS consists of 50% world geography of Asia and Europe, and the other 50% will be ancient civilizations (Mesopotamia, pre-Egypt and Israel, and classical Greek and Rome),” she told the committee. The economics questions will fall under the world geography sections.

Kelly is providing the teachers with an 80-page MCAS history guide from the Department of Education, which supplies sample questions. Kelly noted the current eighth-grade class, the 2012 high school graduating class, will have to pass the tenth-grade MCAS U.S. history test in order to receive a diploma. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito