EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


September 20, 2013

MCAS scores up in math, lag behind in English

Haverhill compares favorably to other cities, but trails state averages

HAVERHILL — Students in the city’s public schools are performing better in math, but lag behind in English, according to an analysis of Haverhill’s latest MCAS scores.

Math scores improved at all nine city schools where the most recent MCAS test was given last spring to students in grades three through 10, school officials said. On the English portion of the test, scores improved at five of Haverhill’s nine schools. The scores were released today.

The percentage of Haverhill students who scored proficient in math rose by 6 percent to 47 percent this year, but is still well below the state average of 61 percent. In English, the percentage of Haverhill students who scored in the proficient range dropped by 1 percent to 55 percent, also well below the state average of 69 percent.

Students are ranked in four categories: Warning/failing, needs improvement, proficient or advanced. The state goal is that all students score proficient or advanced, which equates to students performing at or above their grade level.

“There are still some people who aren’t as focused as they need to be on English,” Superintendent James Scully said. “We’ve made a real strong effort to improve our math scores and we’ve made great strides thanks to great work by our math teachers. Now, we have to bring that crusade to English.

“We are still falling a little short in helping students do better in reading comprehension and writing, basically story telling,’’ he said.

Haverhill’s scores compare well to those of similar urban school districts.

Mary Malone, Haverhill’s assistant superintendent for instruction and curriculum, said the city’s 55 percent proficiency rate in math compares favorably to the state average of 51 percent for urban school districts. In English, Haverhill’s 47 percent proficiency rate also topped the state average of 44 percent for urban districts, she said.

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