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.
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