Superintendent David Lussier had the following to say to his Wellesley Public Schools colleagues in the Superintendent’s Bulliten regarding the recently released 2017 MCAS results:
This week the state released the 2017 MCAS results from the spring administration of the exams. There was more attention than usual this year as this was the first administration of the next-generation MCAS exam. (The previous version is now known as the “Legacy version.”) With a more rigorous exam and a computer-based platform for some grades, it was anticipated that scores across the state would drop, which was confirmed upon receipt of our official results. Not only was the test different, but the scaling and score reporting were also different. The new scale is defined by “Exceeding Expectations, Meeting Expectations, Partially Meeting Expectations, and Not Meeting Expectations.” With all of these changes, it is difficult to compare our year-over-year progress as we have done in the past, as the new and previous versions of the exam are not comparable. In short, 2017 is a new baseline year.
With all of this as context, it will undoubtedly be more challenging to convey the meaning of these exams to students, parents, and our community. We are fortunate that WPS has never been a district that has been hyper-focused on MCAS or any other individual assessment. Regardless of the new or future versions of this test, we should always put these results in the proper context, which is that they do provide some useful longitudinal data for the District, particularly as we monitor gaps in achievement between student groups that can inform our equity agenda and actions. At the same time, we will never measure our progress based on a single exam that does not assess many of the elements of our work that we value as much or more than what is assessed on MCAS.
Thanks to each of you for the important work you do each day to support our students and have a great weekend.
The below post originally ran on The Swellesley Report on 10/19/17:
The 2017 Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) “Next Generation” test results are in from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. This new test — taken for the first time on computers by students in grades 3 – 8 in English and math — is said to better measure critical thinking and subject-matter proficiency. (Grade 10 students took the so-called “legacy” MCAS, a pencil and paper test, which they must pass to graduate.)
What parents shouldn’t expect is to be able to compare the current test scores with those from previous years because in this new MCAS incarnation, students were tested on updated and more rigorous Massachusetts educational standards. So if your younger kids scores reflect less proficiency on this round of MCAS than those of your older kids when they were in those testing trenches, it doesn’t mean much. Blame it on the state. Call it a fact-finding year for test-givers. Just don’t panic. Officials are calling this a baseline year.
We can still indulge in one of our favorite past times, though. Comparing Wellesley to other school districts. MassLive has done some number crunching and came up with a list of the 25 districts and charters with the top average scores for students in grades 3-8 on the “next generation” MCAS.
Here’s what MassLive gleaned about Wellesley, which ranked #22 on its list:
The 2,329 Wellesley Public Schools students who participated in the “next-generation” MCAS scored an average of 512 in English language arts, 511 in mathematics. 76 percent of students exceeded or met expectations in English, 71 percent in math.
Some other schools of note on the list: Needham (19), Wayland (15), Weston (13), Dover Sherborn (2) and Lexington (1).
Look for your student’s scores sometime in late October.