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PARCC or MCAS? How about neither?

Massachusetts is debating which high-stakes test to use: Should we stick with MCAS or switch to PARCC? You side firmly with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers assessment in your editorial “Adopt PARCC test — and ignore the political noise.”

But this is like debating which sugary drink is best: Coke or Pepsi? You could make a case to replace the old-line Coke with the challenger Pepsi, but the real answer is to dump them both.

The same is true for high-stakes tests. Neither the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System nor PARCC has any educational value. Both lead to the decay of real learning, with the promise of a quick jolt. The solution is to put a hold on high-stakes tests and figure out a better way to move forward.

Dan Clawson
Amherst

The writer is a professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a member of the board of the Massachusetts Teachers Association. His views here are his own.

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