- Associated Press - Friday, March 6, 2015

BOSTON (AP) - Gov. Charlie Baker said Friday he wants to hear from the public about which of two statewide student assessment tests Massachusetts should adopt.

Baker said during last year’s gubernatorial campaign that he felt the state should stick with the existing Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System - or MCAS - exam, rather than adopt the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, test. A final vote on which test to adopt is scheduled for the fall.

Baker said now is the time for a public discussion about the merits of the tests.

On Friday, he appointed Paul Sagan as chairman of the 11-member Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and asked him to schedule a series of hearings statewide starting in June to hear from officials, teachers, parents and students on this spring’s administration of the PARCC exam and what he called the real-world impact of federal Common Core education standards on teaching and learning.

“We need a public discussion on this,” Baker said.

Baker said he’s committed to a “standards-based education grounded in a high-quality assessment system.”

He said he asked Secretary of Education James Peyser to pull together a group of researchers to help him review studies on the two exams and to collect additional information on how well the two competing tests can predict the success of students going on to college.

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