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It was only a matter of time before paid media became a battleground for those supporting and opposing the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) tests.

The Massachusetts Teachers Association and Businesses for Better Schools are airing separate campaigns that make opposite points about the MCAS tests.

Ken Swope & Associates in Marblehead, Mass., created a TV spot on behalf of the MTA showing a classroom full of kids taking a standardized test. A voiceover says: "Learning used to be about a lot of things: creativity, discovery, dreams. But now the state says learning is about one thing: a flawed and unfair test."

On the other side of the debate, Boston's Regan Communications has fashioned radio spots for the BBS. According to one spot, "MCAS is good for students, parents, teachers and taxpayers. MCAS means better schools."

Unless a change is made by the Bay State legislature, the class of 2003 will be the first class required to pass the MCAS in order to graduate.