The legend of the large MCAS gains of 2000-2001.


  • Gregory Camilli Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
  • Sadako Vargas



MCAS, Performance Standards, Item Response Theory, Validating Score Gains, Accountability


Issues related to student, teacher, and school accountability have been at the forefront of current educational policy initiatives. Recently, the state of Massachusetts has become a focal point in debate regarding the efficacy of high-stakes accountability models based on an ostensibly large gain at 10th grade. This paper uses an IRT method for evaluating the validity of 10th grade performance gains from 2000 to 2001 on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) tests in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics. We conclude that a moderate gain was obtained in ELA and a small gain in mathematics.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Gregory Camilli, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Gregory Camilli is Professor in the Rutgers Graduate School of Education. His interests include measurement, program evaluation, and policy issues regarding student assessment. Dr. Camilli teaches courses in statistics and psychometrics, structural equation modeling, and meta-analysis. His current research interests include school factors in mathematics achievement, test fairness, technical and validity issues in high-stakes assessment, and the use of evidence in determining instructional policies.

Sadako Vargas

As Research Associate at Rutgers Graduate School of Education, and Adjunct Professor at Touro College and Seton Hall University, Sadako Vargas has taught in the areas of research methods and occupational therapy. Her interests lie in the use of meta-analysis for investigating intervention effects in the area of rehabilitation and education specifically related to pediatrics and occupational therapy intervention.




How to Cite

Camilli, G., & Vargas, S. (2006). The legend of the large MCAS gains of 2000-2001. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 14, 4.