Getting Answers: state releases latest MCAS results since start of pandemic

Getting Answers: state releases latest MCAS results since start of pandemic
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 3:24 PM EDT
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WESTFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The state is out with the latest results of the MCAS exams that students took in the spring.

“Westfield is pretty much in line with the state. Math scores did increase a little bit in some of our grades as they did at the state from 2021 and ELA overall scores declined,” said Christine Shea, director of assessment and accountability for Westfield Public Schools.

Shea told Western Mass News when it comes to the state’s standardized tests known as MCAS, the district’s scores were similar to the statewide averages from this year’s report.

Scores from the spring 2022 tests released by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education show the percentage of students meeting or exceeding expectations in math is up in grades three through eight and down slightly in grade 10.

In science, the scores are up a percentage point among fifth and eighth graders. High school students took biology and physics tests for the first time this past spring and 47 percent met or exceeded expectations.

However, English Language Arts (ELA) scores declined across the board this year versus last year, down five percent in grades three through eight and six percent among tenth graders.

DESE’s report also mentions that overall results when compared to pre-pandemic levels show a continued need for improvement. Shea told us what the Westfield school district is doing to improve MCAS scores moving forward.

“We really want to support students socially and emotionally, so we’ve added some staffing there…For English Language Arts, we have added reading interventions to work with students who need some extra support. We also have a new literacy high quality instructional material, which is in line with the frameworks that are accessible to all our students,” Shea explained.

We also spoke with Max Page, the president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association. He told us he was not surprised by this year’s MCAS results, but the teacher’s association is looking to provide more resources for public schools in the Bay State.

“In 39 days, we have another opportunity to make sure that built into our system we have dedicated funds, so that we can invest in councilors and educator’s education of work professionals all the things we need to have, so we have the highest quality of schools possible,” Page noted.

However, he also said he believes these tests are not an accurate representation of students work ethic in the Bay State.

“These test scores are, in some ways, just a proxy for the income and education levels of the families in the community, so then it’s not really an accurate measure of any particular up or down of a given student or school,” Page noted.

Testing for the 2023 MCAS will begin in February and start with the physics and biology tests for high schoolers.