by Samantha Libraty
Junior Mike Safran found a scoring error in the 2011 10th grade mathematics MCAS which has affected a multitude of test-takers.
“Who would have thought a high school student would find a small error in a state-wide testing system?” Safran said.
He found the mistake while reviewing his scores from last spring’s MCAS, which he received last week.
“It didn’t matter that I didn’t have a perfect score, but I noticed that something was wrong,” Safran said.
He looked into how the math MCAS was graded by visiting the Department of Education’s website to reviewed the conversion table of points to scores, he said. According to the table, the Department of Education should have given Safran a higher score.
He then called the customer service number on the Department of Education’s website to notify the department about the problem.
“The people said that they would take it very seriously and look further into the problem,” he said. Safran was told he would be contacted in a week.
“I had no expectations about a small inquiry,” he said.
However, Safran’s father visited him at school with some unexpected news. Safran said, “I thought something might be wrong because my dad hadn’t come to pick me up since Sept. 11, 2001.”
Safran’s father told him that the Department of Education had called him back. They wanted to thank him because he found a scoring error that would affect thousands of students, according to Safran.
Members of the Department of Education said that they would notify governor Deval Patrick to tell him about the error, Safran said.
Later that afternoon, principal Jennifer Price took Safran out of biology class.
“Price knew that I knew why I was being pulled out of class. She seemed very excited for me that I was going to get to talk with the governor,” Safran said.
“I was put on the phone with Patrick, and we chatted a little before he thanked me for bringing the scoring error to the Department of Education’s attention. He told me that a lot of students scores would be affected because of it.”
Safran said he was glad that the Department of Education had taken a student’s inquiry so seriously, because otherwise the error would not have been corrected.
“Even though the error was a small mistake, I’m glad that a lot of students will be positively affected by it being corrected,” Safran said.