Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, or MCAS, is a sore subject for many people. Some educators have expressed frustration with the pressure placed on them to prepare students for exams, often taking over the curriculum. Students don't particularly care for any standardized test, let alone one that could make or break your high school career. And parents, they might feel helpless when it comes to helping their kid prepare for the MCAS testing.

MCAS is done in grades 3 through 8 annually and then again in 10th grade. Although the state of Massachusetts is looking to replace the MCAS testing with the new PARCC testing, this year's sophomores, juniors and seniors will still need to adhere to the MCAS rule: If you don't pass, you won't receive your High School Diploma.

New Directions Youth Annex has partnered with Bristol Community College on a Pathways To MCAS Success program to provide free assistance to juniors, seniors and even high school completion students that have failed their MCAS test. If you or your child needs help preparing for the exam, start by calling the Youth Annex at 508-979-1700.

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