In a rare move, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education postponed the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) English comprehension exam throughout the entire commonwealth due to Tuesday's inclement weather.
All fourth, seventh and 10th grades in public schools were scheduled to take the test. Students must pass the 10th grade tests in English Language Arts, mathematics and one of four high school science and technology/ engineering tests as one condition to graduate high school.
The snowfall shut down some schools and merely delayed others -- as was the case with Adams-Cheshire Regional School District and Southern Berkshire Regional School district, respectfully -- but all schools had to postpone the exam to keep from jeopardizing its secret writing prompt.
"It couldn't be administered at different times because the test could be compromised," said William Cameron, the superintendent of Central Berkshire Regional School District.
On Monday, an "extremely urgent" memo was released by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that announced the test would be postponed until March 25. Students absent that day will take a make-up test March 28.
Postponing the MCAS won't cause any major problems within the classrooms, Cameron said, but teachers will continue building the kid's confidence and reminding them of the exam's importance.
"There have been efforts at each school to get the kids psyched up," Cameron said. "I guess we'll have to take that up again and maintain that same edge so the kids do well."
Students in the Southern Berkshire Regional School District who were scheduled to take the exam Tuesday instead had regular, delayed school day in place of the exam.
"The downside is they were building themselves up," said Tom Nadolny, the assistant elementary principal at Southern Berkshire Regional School District. "Some were happy, some were sad."
A scheduled MCAS exam was previously postponed due to weather in 2003.