Tri-town schools remain above the curve in MCAS, PARCC

By Georgia Sparling | Sep 27, 2016
Photo by: Georgia Sparling

The state announced results of the MCAS and PARCC exams on Monday, showing that all tri-town schools scored in the top 50th percentile of similar schools in the state.

“When we look at the number of kids in proficient and advanced, we’re happy with the progress that we’re making in all of the schools,” said Superintendent Doug White.

For the past two years, tri-town schools have taken a combination of the MCAS exam and PARCC exam, though both are out as the state moves to a hybrid of the two that has been dubbed MCAS 2.0. While some in the state stayed completely with MCAS, tri-town school committees volunteered to switch the elementary and junior high students to PARCC, while the high school stayed with MCAS. Science remained MCAS across the board.

Old Hammondtown School in Mattapoisett made the best showing, scoring in the 94th percentile due to high scores and narrowing education gaps. Last year, the school scored in the 91st percentile.

“They continue to provide strong instructional strategies,” said White.

The superintendent praised all of the elementary schools, saying that with Asst. Superintendent Dr. Elise Frangos’s help, they have aligned the curriculum so students are ready when they take the tests.

“That’s played a key component in our success across the board for all our elementary schools,” White explained.

Sippican School in Marion also saw improvement, jumping from the 74th to the 80th percentile, and like Old Hammondtown, remaining a Level 1 school.

According to test results, the school excelled at meeting the needs of all students, and particularly those with high needs.

Rochester Memorial School remained a Level 2 school, while still achieving gains. The school scored in the 79th percentile, one point higher than last year. Progress and performance for all students scored 69, but had to be at least 75 to bring the school to a Level 1 status.

White pointed out that the numbers are calculated using the past four years’ scores. That means previous scores can pull down gains in the most recent year.

As an example, White cited the junior high, which has been at a Level 2 status in recent years. While the school fell from 60 to 57 percent this year, the majority of students scored in the proficient or advanced category, which was at a higher percentage than the state average.

The high school is also at a Level 2 status, receiving a 72 percent for narrowing the proficiency gap among all the students tested. The school did meet its 75 percent target in the area of high needs students. Seventy-five percent is needed in both the high needs and overall categories to move up to a Level 1 status.

“We have the majority of our kids for the high school being proficient or advanced or meeting the target to graduate. That’s not all showing up in the data they shared,” White said.

As the state unrolls the MCAS 2.0 for elementary and junior high students this year, White is confident that students will continue to excel and exceed state averages. Current high school students will finish out their time at ORR taking the MCAS, while the current eighth grade class will be the first to take the newer exam in the 10th grade.

Like PARCC, MCAS 2.0 will be taken on computers, and the two years of experience students have will be helpful, according to White.

“We’re prepared for MCAS 2.0. We’re going to be in pretty good shape for our kids to take the test online,” he said.

White said the tri-town school committees will discuss the results in detail at upcoming meetings.

The full results can be found here.

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