|For Immediate Release|
|Monday, October 15, 2001|
|Contact:||Jim Borghesani, Shawn Feddeman (617) 727-2759; Heidi Perlman (781) 338-3106|
Swift, Legislative Leaders, Education Officials Release 2001 Statewide MCAS Results
Malden - Governor Jane Swift, legislative leaders and top education officials today released the statewide results of the 2001 Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) exam administered last spring. Citing the significant improvement in this year's scores, Swift congratulated the thousands of students, teachers, administrators and parents for achieving academic excellence and meeting high standards. To the students who did not pass the MCAS this year, the Governor committed to provide them with the opportunities necessary to succeed.
"Our children have accepted the challenge of high standards with enthusiasm and energy. And their teachers have transformed the learning experience with creativity and professionalism," said Swift. "Today's MCAS scores are not just good news for those students who passed; they are signs of hope for all students because we now know for certain that with resources and focus, kids can learn the skills they need to succeed."
Swift lauded students, their families and educators across the state for attaining high standards in the classroom as measured by the MCAS test, noting she has seen firsthand the innovation and creativity occurring in schools in all corners of the state. Although students at all grade levels improved in virtually every category this year, Swift said the most dramatic improvements on the MCAS test were in the results of the sophomores – now juniors – who are expected to graduate from high school in 2003. Across the state, 82 percent of all 10th graders passed the English exam, with 51 percent scoring in the Advanced and Proficient categories. Eighteen percent did not meet the 220 passing standard. In 10th grade math, 75 percent of students passed the exam, with 45 percent scoring in the top two categories. Twenty-five percent did not meet the passing standard.
The 2001 results represent a marked improvement over results of the three previous years. In 2000, 34 percent of students did not pass the English portion of the test and 45 percent did not pass math. The students in the class of 2003 are the first who must pass the English and math MCAS exams as part of their graduation requirement.
"Our students and educators have shown us that this truly can be done," said Board of Education Chairman James Peyser. "What these results show us is that if we devote the time and energy to giving students the opportunities they need, ultimately, they will deliver."
"This is a critical moment in our state's education history," said Education Commissioner David Driscoll. "These results prove that the work teachers, students and parents have done over the past eight years to improve the state's public schools have put us on a clear path to student success."
To the students who did not reach the 220 standard this year, Swift pledged the resources necessary to ensure their success in school. She noted students will have four more chances to take the test before high school graduation, with the first opportunity this December. In addition, Swift vowed to continue supporting MCAS extra help programs, noting the Administration and the Legislature have invested $80 million over the last three years for remedial help, plus another $10 million this year for the members of the junior class who have not yet passed the test. She also promised each student who did not pass the exam on the first try an individualized success plan, to be developed by his or her teacher, to point out the child's strengths and weaknesses and recommend ways to improve.
"Make no mistake: this test and its graduation requirement are driving the innovation and positive changes we are seeing in classrooms around the Commonwealth," said Swift. "MCAS scores are the very best tools we have to evaluate where students are struggling and succeeding. And we can tailor our resources to those students who need them most."
The statewide MCAS results will be posted today on the Department of Education's Web site. The MCAS test, an assessment tool by which the state measures academic progress, was put in place as a result of the Education Reform Act of 1993.