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.