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College and Career Readiness through Blended Learning


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.

The lonely path of innovation–Thinking Differently, Overcoming Obstacles

by Joan Reissman

This is Women’s History Month—a time to celebrate the accomplishments of women throughout history. Women have faced an uphill battle to establish themselves in many careers, especially in the field of science. Even today, women struggle to gain an equal foothold with their male counterparts. Science labs depend on grants, and obtaining grants is highly competitive. Despite the obstacles, many women have made significant contributions in science. Here are some examples.

Celebrating Black Scientists

Bright stars among a vast constellation

by Joan Reissman

Black History Month is a time to contemplate the complex history of Black people in America and Canada. It is a time to celebrate successes and contributions, but it is also a time to acknowledge the obstacles many Black people have had to overcome. This month JFYNetWorks highlights Black scientists. Many people have become aware of Black scientists’ contributions from the movie Hidden Figures and Neal deGrasse Tyson’s books and TV show. The fame of George Washington Carver is long-established. However, there are many Black contributions to science that are hardly known. It would be impossible to cover them all, but I will profile a few breakthroughs and inventions that have become essential parts of modern life.

Free Science Resource Summary for teachers, students and parents

A multi-disciplinary treasure trove for teachers, students and parents

By Joan Reissman, MCAS Maven Updated 12/15/2020

JFYNetWorks provides online resources to support remote learning in all core subject areas. To support the STEM curriculum, we have developed this annotated guide to science resources. It lists free resources in all domains of science, and details activities, multi-media lessons and teacher guides for all levels. We hope it will be helpful to teachers, students and parents.

HS Science MCAS Tests

Are we confused yet?

By Joan Reissman, MCAS Maven

If you are a science teacher, you know all about the different science tests. But if you’re a student or parent, you may be wondering about them. You know that the new MCAS 2.0 in English and math have been redesigned to meet more demanding standards of college and career readiness. But what about science?

This year was the first year for computer based MCAS tests in math and English for high school. The science tests are still paper-based, but there will be some field tests of computer-based Biology and Introductory Physics. Parents and students may have some questions. What standards will be tested? What test or tests are required for graduation? What choices do students have?