By Staff

BOSTON (CBS) – High school juniors in Massachusetts might not be required to take the MCAS next month to graduate in 2022.

State Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley announced Thursday he will recommend to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education that they modify graduation requirements for this year’s 11th graders. If his request is approved, they won’t have to take the MCAS as originally required.

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“With the Board’s approval, the Commissioner’s recommendation will modify the competency determination (CD) requirement in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics for students in the Class of 2022 in recognition of the missed testing opportunities when schools were closed last spring,” Riley’s office said in a statement.

“As a result, the upcoming administration of the MCAS, scheduled to open on May 3, will no longer be required for current 11th graders.”

Juniors and seniors can still take the test this spring to qualify for the Adams Scholarship and Koplik Certificate of Mastery. Juniors who don’t take the MCAS next month can still test for scholarships during the retest period in the fall of 2021.

Riley also extended the timeline for MCAS tests in grades 3 through 8 and 10 until June 11 “in an effort to provide maximum flexibility for school districts.”

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DESE will also offer remote versions of the MCAS in English, math and science this spring for grades 3 through 8 for children who are staying fully remote through the end of the school year.

“Some of it’s about logistics. Some of it’s about time. Some of it’s about alternative strategies to figure out where kids are,” Governor Charlie Baker said at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

“I think the Commissioner is making what I would describe as a tiered approach to dealing generally with MCAS and with assessments overall,” the governor said. “I absolutely believe that with the federal resources that have been available to be made available to local communities… we have to have a really robust summer school program for kids. And if we don’t have one, shame on us.”

The Massachusetts Teachers union is asking the state to drop the testing requirement.

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“Administering the MCAS tests this year would be nothing but a bureaucratic exercise in compliance that would take time and resources away from teaching and supporting students,” MTA President Merrie Najimy said. “It would add stress to an already disrupted year without providing educators or parents with any valid or useful information. “ Staff