EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

September 27, 2013

Andover among best in math scores

Rank sixth in state for math MCAS

By Bill Kirk
bkirk@eagletribune.com

---- — ANDOVER — The town saw mostly mixed results from the annual Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System — or MCAS — scores in 2013, with one exception: 10th grade math.

According to the state Department of Education, Andover’s 10th graders jumped to sixth place in the state behind such schools as Boston Latin Academy and Dover-Sherborn, but ahead of schools such as Belmont and Lexington high schools.

School officials for the most part are reviewing the scores and are waiting for an early October School Committee meeting, when the scores will be presented by Assistant School Superintendent Nancy Duclos.

But Superintendent Marinel McGrath did say that the scores looked pretty good.

“Although we are always of the belief that we can do a better job for our students, our preliminary review of the 2013 MCAS scores indicate that the vast majority of Andover students consistently scored advanced or proficient in the areas of English, math and science,” McGrath said in an emailed statement.

“During the next two weeks, teachers, program advisors and principals will conduct an analysis of the 2013 scores, which will be presented to the School Committee at its October meeting.”

She added that MCAS scores are just one measure of students’ success in the schools.

“As a school district, our teachers use multiple measures to chart the progress of our students,” she said.

“The other measures assess a student’s ability to apply his/her learning to a real-world context and inform us of whether or not our students are developing and applying the skills we consider key to one’s success beyond high school, which we call the ‘4 Cs’ — critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration — to their work in content area.”

At least in the area of 10th grade math, it appears the district is making progress.

According to the results released last week by the state, 82 percent of the high school’s 418 10th graders received a score of “advanced” in the math MCAS, which is up from last year, where 74 percent reached the advanced level.

Meanwhile, 14 percent of 10th graders received a score of “proficient,” considered a passing score. Just 3 percent need improvement and 2 percent were failing, according to the 2013 scores.

In the other two, main categories of MCAS scores, 10th graders did well, but not as well as in math.

In English Language Arts, or ELA, 70 percent were advanced and 28 percent were proficient, for a whopping 98 percent of students passing. Just 2 percent of the students needed improvement or failed.

The science, technology and engineering scores, meanwhile, were not as good, with 86 percent passing and 14 percent either needing improvement or failing.

The 10th grade results are important because students need to pass the MCAS in order to graduate from high school.

At the elementary school level, meanwhile, third-graders appeared to struggle in ELA, where 16 percent of the students came in at the advanced level, 58 percent came in at proficient, but 26 percent either needed improvement or got a warning.

In math, third-graders did better, with 78 percent passing and 22 percent either needing improvement or getting a warning.

For a complete listing of scores, go to www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/.