School Officials Seek More Help For High Needs Students:State Testing Scores Show Need for Assistance

Thursday, November 24, 2016
By Transcript Staff

By Kate Anslinger

Winthrop High School Principal Matt Crombie was present to discuss the results of the 2016 MCAS/PARCC test, at Monday night’s School Committee meeting.

While the majority of test scores still remained above the state average, the two main areas of concern are the high needs students and those with disabilities. The Composite Performance Index (CPI) was used to measure scoring. The state uses the CPI to measure overall proficiency levels of schools. Students that are assigned a proficient or advanced rating achieve a score of 100 points.

“I think Winthrop High School has always been a great place for overachieving students,” said Crombie. “I want to see us focusing more on the middle of the road and lower level students and make sure the rigor is there. I think we are on the right path, trending upwards from where we were. I’m excited to see how that pans out. Being in the new building and having the students and staff happy to be here and feel supported has changed the culture of the school.”

Students who have very low MCAS scores achieve a 0. These are averaged to determine a school’s overall proficiency level. While high needs students went slightly up from 60.1 in 2015 to 61.1 in 2016 in math, this category still fell under the baseline CPI of 87.2. The same dip was apparent for students with disabilities, dropping from a CPI of 50.0 to 42.3.

“In looking at data, it’s obvious that we need the most help with students who fall under high needs and disabilities,” said Principal Matt Crombie, who has been working diligently with teachers on developing goals that are designed to bring these students up.

The lack of major gains in these categories could be due to the conversion of the school district over the past two years, with grades 8-12 being lumped into one building.

 “We were in a difficult situation over the last two years, not only as a school but also with a shift in personnel,” said Superintendent John Macero.

One goal is to return to the previous model for the two-math course requirement. As soon as the school moved away from this model, the scores dropped.

“This model has worked in the past and the more exposure the students have, the more likely they are to succeed,” said Crombie.

Some other goals that the staff has been working on are building a more tolerable and accepting environment for these students and creating a support system that allows for communication so the students have the tools they need for success. Crombie also posed that the school develop more rigorous learning principles so students aren’t held back from achieving more.

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