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For Immediate Release
Monday, June 7, 2004
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106 or Kimberly Beck 781-338-3105

96 Percent of Class of 2004 Meet MCAS Requirement In Time For Graduation

MALDEN - Ninety-six percent of the students in the class of 2004 have earned their competency determinations in time to graduate this month, out-pacing by 1 percent the performance of the class of 2003.

This means that after four retest opportunities, 58,756 of the 61,338 students in this year's graduating class met the state standard by passing both the math and English Language Arts MCAS exams. In all, according to retest results released Monday, passing rates have risen to more than 78 percent for all student groups in the graduating class, including students with disabilities, limited English proficient students, and minorities.

Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll hailed the accomplishments of this year's senior class and urged those in the classes of 2005 and 2006 to learn from their achievements.

"Our students have shown us once more that they can – and will - reach the standards we have set for them if we challenge them to succeed and not back down," he said. "Already we are seeing our students meet the standard at higher rates more quickly, and I am confident that this trend will continue. I am proud of each and every one of them, and hope that those who have not yet passed will stay focused, prepare, and then do their best on this summer's retest."

The retest results also show that the passing rate for the class of 2005, this year's junior class, has risen to 90 percent, one percentage point ahead of where the class of 2004 was at this time last year.

The class of 2003 passing rate remained at 95 percent.

When comparing passing rates at schools for the graduating classes of 2003 and 2004, many vocational schools have shown significant gains. In particular, 77 percent of seniors in the class of 2003 at Whittier Vocational Technical School in Haverhill had met the standard last June, compared to 96 percent of seniors in this year's senior class.

Other vocational schools that showed significant improvement include South Middlesex Vocational Technical School in Framingham (83 percent to 96 percent) and Montachusett Vocational Technical Regional School in Fitchburg (87 percent to 97 percent).

In all, 59,547 (97 percent) of the 61,338 students in the class of 2004 have met the standard on the English exam, and 59258 (97 percent) have on the math. Eighty-four percent of students with disabilities have met the standard, as have 78 percent of limited English proficient students and 98 percent of regular education students.

Among minorities in the class of 2004, 88 percent of African-Americans have met the standard, as have 95 percent of Asians, 85 percent of Hispanics, 94 percent of Native Americans and 98 percent of white students.

These results reflect a significant closure of the achievement gap from when this year's graduating class was first tested as 10th graders. At that time, just 70 percent of the entire class met the standard on the first try.

At that time, 79 percent of whites met the standard, as did 75 percent of Asians, 48 percent of Native Americans, 39 percent of African-Americans, 35 percent of Hispanic students, 32 percent of students with disabilities and just 17 percent of limited English proficient students.

Among this year's junior class, the class of 2005, 43 percent of limited English proficient students have passed, as have 71 percent of students with disabilities. In all, 73 percent of African-Americans have met the standard, as have 89 percent of Asians, 70 percent of Hispanics, 87 percent of Native Americans and 94 percent of white students.

Among the other findings:

  • Among vocational school students, 95 percent of students in the class of 2004 have met the standard, as have 87 percent of students in the class of 2005.
  • When broken down by gender, results show little difference: 96 percent of girls and 95 percent of boys have met the standard in the class of 2004, as have 91 percent of girls and 89 percent of boys in the class of 2005.
  • Students from non-urban districts are still outpacing their peers from urban communities. In the class of 2004, 98 percent of students from non-urban districts have met the standard, as have 89 percent of students from urbans. In the class of 2005, 94 percent of non-urban students have met the standard, as have 77 percent of students from urban communities.

Students in the class of 2004 have had 5 testing opportunities and students in the class of 2005 have had 3 testing opportunities so far. Only students in the classes of 2003 and 2004 are eligible for this summer's retest, but students in the class of 2005 will have two more opportunities before the end of their senior year.



Last Updated: June 7, 2004
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