SOUTHERN WORCESTER COUNTY – The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has released data for the first year of its accountability system, designating schools as exceeding, meeting, partially meeting or not meeting expectations for districts and schools in grade levels taking the next generation MCAS test as well as advanced, proficient, needs improvement or warning for districts and schools in grade levels taking the legacy MCAS test.
2017 was the first year that the next generation MCAS was used and it was only used in grades three through eight. In 2017, upper grades took the legacy MCAS. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has a graduated plan for each school year up to the 2022 – 2023 school year which will gradually transition to all grades taking the new “next generation” test.
In Spring 2019, students in 10th grade will take the next generation MCAS tests in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. However, their competency determination will be equivalent to the existing standard on the legacy MCAS. Standards for the next generation MCAS competency are considered slightly more rigorous.
The accountability system for MCAS includes accountability categories which range from “meeting targets” to “In need of broad/comprehensive support.” Overall accountability is divided into schools and districts categorized as either “not requiring assistance or intervention” or “requires assistance or intervention.”
The data released today from DESE does not include individual student performance data. The Citizen Chronicle has broken down data for several schools or districts in our coverage area by their performance on the legacy MCAS test. This data provides a snapshot of how students in each district performed on the legacy test, which reflects high school performance in math, English language arts or science, technology and engineering. The set of data here only represents science, technology and engineering performance in grades three through eight, because that was the only area where these students took the legacy MCAS.
English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics scores for grades three through eight are not reflected in the data below because elementary school students took the next generation MCAS test in those subject areas. Where elementary school results are listed, they reflect the science, engineering and technology categories. Students do not take the MCAS before the third grade.
As a result, lower percentages indicated for elementary and middle schools in the data below show averages that do not include performance in English language arts and should not be considered alarming if they are considerably lower than the high school scores in any town or district. This is a reflection of the differences in where legacy MCAS versus next-generation MCAS is taken.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary education offers a guide to understanding the accountability lists, materials and tools online (click here).