Mudcat Café message #283964 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #24671   Message #283964
Posted By: rabbitrunning
24-Aug-00 - 10:00 AM
Thread Name: GCSE Day!
Subject: RE: GCSE Day!
Congrats to those who did well (or have children to boast about) and sympathy to those who didn't do as well as they hoped.
The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System tests take a solid week to take. Yes, that's five days of nothing but testing, and the results don't appear for about a month. Theoretically, these tests are to test schools as well as students, so the school results end up in the paper and there is much breast-beating and gnashing of teeth when the poor towns and inner city schools do poorly each year.

10th graders are 15/16, 8th graders 13/14 and 4th graders 9/10. Usually the older age by the time the tests are given (April, I think). The tests are supposed to cover everything that they have learned in the previous years. Massachusetts has only just recently gotten a "universal" curriculum established, so the questions are debated hotly.
The US system puts responsibility for education on a local level, and the locals are quite jealous of their perogatives. Town School Boards can choose to reject state or federal education incentives perfectly legally. Most education bills include funding that can be revoked if the local school boards don't comply, but that doesn't stop them if they've got local funds. National standards will just never fly here.
As an aside on the "Britain" thing. I was told -- by an American, mind you -- that the island from John O Groats to Lands End was named "Great Britain", and included Scotland, Wales, and Cornwall, and England. That the United Kingdom was all of the above plus Northern Ireland. So I generally think of "Britain" as an acceptable abbreviation of Great Britain, with a question mark next to Scotland's participation in the statement since I know that the legal system changes at the border, and "England" when I want to more specific.