Certificate Exam Fails Federal Financial-Aid TestBOSTON
Students who meet local graduation requirements but don’t pass the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System exam cannot qualify for federal financial aid, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Education Secretary Roderick Paige rejected the state’s request for eligibility, leaving as many as 2,000 community college-bound high school seniors on their own to pay tuition and fees.
“It’s going to be much harder for them to do this without financial aid,” says Dr. Linda Shapiro, president of the New England Association for College Admission Counseling. “What we have is an education maze with a lot of dead ends.”
About 6,000 students have not passed the MCAS exam, making them ineligible for a traditional diploma.
A state-sponsored certificate of attainment is available to students who fail the MCAS but meet all other local graduation requirements. State education officials estimate that up to 2,000 kids may receive the certificate.
Those students can enter a state-funded remediation program at community colleges if they can pass a test proving they can handle college courses.
The class of 2003 is the first that must pass the math and English portions of the MCAS to earn a diploma. Those who still haven’t passed can take another retest in May, the fourth offered to the class of 2003. The results won’t be known, however, until after graduation in June.
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