The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Statement on Schools Reporting Highest Improvements on MCAS
December 8, 1999
Edwards Middle School - Boston
I would like to begin by offering my congratulations to the three schools we are recognizing today. I particularly want to acknowledge the principals. If we know anything about strong, successful schools, it is that they require effective educational leaders. And we are fortunate to have three such school leaders here today.
MCAS is about two inseparable things: accountability and improvement. For the first time, we are developing the capability to measure the performance of our schools over time. By doing so we hold the schools responsible for results, not simply for effort and compliance. At the same time we can provide schools with the performance data they have long needed to determine the strengths and weaknesses of their students, their curriculum, their teaching methods and their staffs. This is the essential foundation for improvement.
The most effective schools are not necessarily the ones with the highest test scores, but rather the ones that add the most value and show the most improvement. The schools we recognize today are showing the first signs of strong, sustainable improvement trends.
Some people say that schools cannot make much of a difference. That student performance is a function of a child's home life and socio-economic status. These schools and their students are proving those people wrong.