Massachusetts Among Three States Highlighted For Student Achievement In National Report- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, November 13, 2002
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106

Massachusetts Among Three States Highlighted For Student Achievement In National Report

MALDEN - The success of standards-based reform in Massachusetts, Maryland and Texas was heralded Wednesday in a report released by Achieve, Inc. on national efforts to raise academic standards.

Last year all three states asked Achieve, Inc., an independent bipartisan organization, to conduct an independent review of their policies and practices regarding standards, assessment, accountability, public engagement and teacher quality. The new report compiles all of the collected information, highlights each state’s progress, and notes the similarities and differences in approaches to improving student achievement.

“It is a special honor to be recognized along with Maryland and Texas for improved student achievement,” said Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll. “This notoriety is a direct result of the hard work of administrators, teachers, parents, and students. We still have too many students not achieving at levels necessary to be successful in the workplace, but I am confident we will continue to make great strides.”

In the Massachusetts report, released October 2001, Achieve researchers called this state’s system of academic standards and high-stakes testing one of the best-designed in the country, and said its 10th grade exam stands out as a national example of success. Overall, researchers determined that the MCAS math and English grade 10 exams were the best exit exams they had reviewed.

The report released Wednesday contrasting the three states includes other specific examples of Massachusetts’ success including:

  • In 2001 and 2002, 75 percent of 10th graders passed the MCAS math exam, significantly up from the 48 percent who passed in 1998, when the test held no high stakes
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  • The passing rate for the MCAS English exam rose to 82 percent in 2001 and 86 percent in 2002, an increase from 72 percent in 1998.
  • In 2002, 67 percent of 3rd graders scored at the proficient level on the reading MCAS last spring, and 94 percent passed the exam.
  • On the 1998 8th grade NAEP reading exam, no state outperformed Massachusetts.
  • One-third of 4th and 8th grade student performed at the proficient level or above on the 2000 NAEP math exams, an increase from 24 percent in 1996.

To learn more about Achieve or to read the full report, visit their Web site at

Last Updated: November 13, 2002

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