Students Do Very Well in MCAS

Thursday, September 27, 2012
By Transcript Staff

Winthrop High School scored exceptionally well in MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System), with a Level 1 and 100% participation rate.

The state has five ranks to classify schools’ MCAS standing: Level 1, meeting all their goals and showing growth; Level 2, not meeting gap narrowing goals; Level 3, at the bottom 20% of the schools in that area; Level 4, in the bottom of that 20%; Level 5, scores are desperately low.

“Overall on MCAS, we’re moving in the right direction toward our goal of getting all our schools into Level 1, and I am very excited to see how we’ll grown as we continue on with our small group instruction,” says Superintendent of Schools, John Macero.

Winthrop High School (WHS) had no failures in the English Language Arts (ELA) component and were above target. Students were on target in math, and if they remain on their current course, they should be where they should be within the next two years. In science and technology, the high school was above and on target. In general, WHS had strong scores and was commended for narrowing proficiency gaps. Macero attributes some of their success to the Advanced Placement Programs. MCAS is of foremost concern for seniors, who must pass the exams to graduate.

The middle school has not met its target yet, but is improving in some parts. Students’ ELA has remained at Level 2, and in science, everything was either on or above target.

Macero credits last year’s small group instructions for improved, elementary science scores.

“Anytime you give small group instruction, they’re going to do better,” says Macero, who has begun implementing, Response to Intervention into curriculums to help monitor scores.

In this three-tiered program, teachers are able to focus on which areas students are lacking in. A teacher may give a lecture during the whole group instruction; in the second category, teachers work with students in small groups; in the third, students who need extra support are given additional assignments.

Teachers can now concentrate on decoding ELA comprehension and fluency in K-5. Reviewing and breaking down the data to create focal groups has significantly bettered MCAS scores.

“When you monitor those exams, you’re able to give kids the proper group instruction,” says Macero. “It’s a district-wide initiative.”

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