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LETTERS

More than ever, MCAS is necessary to measure impact of pandemic disruptions

A fifth-grade student has a screen up showing the other half of the students who are learning at home during their class at Mary L. Fonseca Elementary School on Nov. 23, 2020.
A fifth-grade student has a screen up showing the other half of the students who are learning at home during their class at Mary L. Fonseca Elementary School on Nov. 23, 2020.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

The Feb. 17 editorial, “Massachusetts needs to test students to diagnose COVID-19 learning slide,” was exactly right in its call for us to do assessment and use the data to design a plan to ensure a restoration of learning for all of the state’s students. In an age in which we have sadly seen the negative effects of ignoring the power of science, research, and facts, we can’t leave the future success of our children to a hunch or guesswork.

More than ever, MCAS testing is necessary to provide a common assessment that is objective and comparable. MCAS shines a light on racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps that would otherwise remain hidden. Its importance is heightened now as a way of measuring the disproportionate impact of school disruptions on the students we can guess have been most affected. That’s why national civil rights and social justice organizations have called on the federal Department of Education not to allow states to receive a second year of waivers from the assessment requirement that the MCAS fulfills.

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Since its inception, the MCAS has provided a system of standards and measuring progress that has served the state and its students well. This is not the time to retreat.

Joseph Esposito

Bedford

The writer is a member of the state’s Student Opportunity Act Data Advisory Commission and a board member of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education.