DESE Released Its Summary of MCAS Results; Media Reports Overlooked Some Troubling Numbers

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has released its annual summary of MCAS results for the exams taken last spring.  The media reports that I have read all seem to have missed some of the most important, and disturbing, numbers:

1.  For grade 4 English Language Arts, results remained stagnant.  54% of grade 4 students scored proficient or higher.  That number is unchanged from 2009, and is still below the 56% who scored proficient or higher in 2007.  Given that three years have passed, I do not view this as much progress.

2.  For grade 4 Mathematics, results also remained stagnant.  48% of grade 4 students scored proficient or higher – the same number as in 2009, and 2007.  We have shown no progress in grade 4 mathematics in three years.

3.  For grade 5 English Language Arts, results remained stagnant at 63%.  In fact, the number has been 63% in 2010, 2009, and 2007.   Stagnation is not progress.

4.  For grade 5 Mathematics, results rose a whopping 1% since 2009, from 54% to 55%.

5.  For grade 8 English Language Arts, results remained stagnant at 78% from 2009 to 2010.

6.  For grade 10 English Language Arts, the number scoring proficient or higher declined from 79% to 78% over the past year.

7.  For grade 10 Mathematics, the number scoring proficient or higher remained stagnant at 75% over the past year.

8.  For all racial subgroups in grades 8 and 10, the number scoring proficient or higher either remained stagnant or declined.

9.  Results for students with disabilities showed regression by 4% in English Language Arts in both grades 8 and 10.

10.  Results for students with disabilities showed regression by 1% in Mathematics in grade 10.

I have never been a big fan of MCAS, especially in the Commonwealth’s use of MCAS as a graduation requirement.  These results do nothing to change my opinion.

Please visit my web site for more information about the Law Office of James M. Baron: http://www.lawbaron.com.

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