A controversial question on the spring MCAS exam that asked students to write from the perspective of a racist character from the novel "The Underground Railroad" has come under fire.

Pushback from educators and students was so strong that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education decided students' answers on the question would not be scored.

Joining Boston Public Radio to weigh in on this topic was Paul Reville, former state secretary of education and a professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, where he also runs the Education Redesign Lab.

"I think the idea was well-intentioned and certainly [had] no intended harm, but was probably a poor choice of a question and it makes sense that the commissioners moved to scrub it," Reville said.

Reville said the prompt was a novel idea poorly executed.

"I do think we ought to be encouraging young people to step into the shoes of people with very different viewpoints, but there are lots of ways to have done this without going to this extreme," Reville said.