Donate to a Student Today

College and Career Readiness through Blended Learning

* Featured
Featured posts

MCAS Science, Biology is not so different after all

by Joan Reissman

Biology is not so different after all

In three weeks, Massachusetts students will be taking the new Next Generation MCAS 2.0 science tests for the first time. The last administration of the old Legacy MCAS Biology test was in February. That was the last test based on the old standards of 2006 and 2016. From now on, Biology and Introductory Physics will be Next-Generation 2.0 tests and will only be given online (unless the school makes a special request for a paper-based test as an accommodation).

There are four different MCAS science tests: Biology, Introductory Physics, Chemistry, and Technology/Engineering. Most students choose Biology (76% in 2019 and 75% in 2021) with Physics a distant second (21% in 2019 and 24% in 2021). Beginning in 2024, the Chemistry and Technology/Engineering tests will be eliminated because of low participation rates (3% in 2019, less than 1% in 2021). Only Biology and Introductory Physics will be offered to the class of 2026 and beyond. The last chance to take all four tests will be in June 2023. That will be the last administration of Chemistry and Technology/Engineering. Both tests will be paper-based with 2006 standards.

Fear of the Math MCAS, The Cruelest Month for 10th Graders

by Cathie Maglio

The Cruelest Month… But Fear Not

April isn’t the cruelest month in Massachusetts—it’s May. Every May, fear strikes deep into the hearts of 10th graders as the math MCAS looms on the calendar. The test measures skills in four areas: Algebra and Functions, Geometry, Number and Quantity, and Probability and Statistics. It is widely believed by students that the creators of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System chose these domains deliberately to intimidate and frustrate them.

Meeting the challenges of Early College

by Eileen Wedegartner

Enhanced academic and guidance support develops self-confidence

“Miss, why do you do this?” Alyssa asked. “Why do you help? What brought you here? Like how did you decide to work with kids at all?”

I looked at her contemplatively and said, “Because I believe in this. I think working with students taking college courses in high school is one of the best ways to level the playing field and make sure they are ready for jobs when they graduate.”

BPS English learners office is only the latest turnstile

The below letter to the editor responds to the latest of many criticisms leveled at the Boston Public Schools. Most of the criticism focuses on leadership, especially on the superintendent. But the superintendent is not the only factor in the functioning of the 46,000-student district. The central office directory lists 518 employees besides the superintendent who oversee the 4000-plus teachers and another 4000-plus support staff. It’s a vast bureaucracy, the largest department in the City. Yet there has never been a formal organizational analysis of the structure of the central office. What departments are needed? What staff does each department need? What are the lines of decision-making, communication, accountability?

MCAS Maven’s MCAS Math prep

by Joan Reissman, MCAS Maven

Free MCAS Review from JFYNetWorks

The 10th grade math MCAS begins May 17, just 4 ½ weeks away. And one of those weeks is April vacation. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that it’s not too late to review the necessary material to be well prepared. JFYNetWorks has online curriculum and teacher support to help students refresh 9th and 10thgrade math skills. Please read on.

MCAS Returns , New Standards, Old Formats , JFY strategies help students succeed

by Joan Reissman

New Standards, Old Formats

JFY strategies help students succeed

MCAS is back and the 10th grade math test will be here before we know it.

JFYNetWorks has been helping prepare students for MCAS tests for two decades. Working on the curriculum standards throughout the year is the best preparation for MCAS, but we have a few homestretch strategies to help students do their very best on the math MCAS May 17.

Return of MCAS

by Gary Kaplan

Board of Education reinstates accountability system

MCAS is back.
And JFY can help.

JFY has helped students succeed on MCAS since the test was first given in 1998. Our signature early success was in 2000-2001, when we helped the lowest-scoring school in Boston raise its passing rate 30 percentage points. Our secret is simple: read on and find out what it is.

Ketanji Brown Jackson

by Greg Cunningham

The influence of high school speech competition on Ketanji Brown Jackson

High school speech and debate is one of the best kept secrets in American education. Most people have no idea that from late September until April or May, on just about every Saturday morning, thousands of students around the country make their way to a high school to compete in speech or debate events. Tournaments take over the school, utilizing every classroom, conference room, and even storage closets for 10 hours or more, sometimes lasting both Saturday and Sunday. To excel at these activities, students have to have the energy and stamina of a cross-country runner.

The Role of Online Learning in Schools, Isa Zimmerman Shares Her View

Isa Zimmerman Shares Her View

Our March podcast features Isa Zimmerman, the principal of IKZ Advisors, LLC, where she serves as a resource for people in Massachusetts and around the world who are interested in STEM education. She served two terms on Governor Deval Patrick’s STEM Advisory Council and is the co-editor of and contributor to two books published by the Massachusetts affiliate of ASCD. As a high school principal and district superintendent, Isa was a pioneer in bringing technology to schools for instruction and productivity and started the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents Technology Task Force.

Among many other topics, Isa shared her view on the role of online learning in schools: