Statewide standardized writing tests have been postponed ahead of Tuesday’s storm as officials anticipate numerous school closures and delays, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said this morning.
The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System English Language Arts Composition exam, administered to grades 4, 7, and 10, will now be administered Monday, March 25.
“We realize that this change may be disruptive for some schools, but for security reasons it is critical that all schools administer the ELA Composition on the same day. Even schools that are unaffected by the storm must wait ... to administer the test,” the department said in a statement posted online.
However, if a school is still in session, it can still administer the MCAS Reading Comprehension tests scheduled for Tuesday, the statement said.
The ELA Composition test is an essay using the same one prompt given to every student in the state. If one school were tested before another, the students taking the exam later could find out about the prompt, allowing them to plan an answer and giving them an unfair advantage, said elementary and secondary education department spokesman J.C. Considine.
“We want to make sure it’s the same opportunity for all students and to preserve the security of the prompt,” Considine said.
The storm is expected to drop as much as 18 inches of snow on some areas of the state, with the highest amounts in northern Central and Western Massachusetts. Snowfall amounts are expected to taper toward the coast, with the Boston area receiving 4 to 6 inches, and in Southeastern Massachusetts and on the Cape and islands, where some areas may see less than inch.
If students miss the rescheduled exam, it can be made up the following Thursday, March 28, Considine said.