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For Immediate Release
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Contact:Heidi Guarino 781-338-3106

Patrick-Murray Administration Releases 2010 School and District MCAS Results; Names 187 Commendation Schools

School Leaders Hail Improved Performance and Success at Closing Achievement Gaps

BOSTON - Governor Deval Patrick and state education officials today released the 2010 school and district MCAS results and hailed the achievement of 187 newly-named "Commendation Schools" across the state for their academic growth and continued success in closing achievement gaps.

The Commendation Schools, announced at Boston's Eliot Elementary School, were recognized for their steady progress in raising student achievement while at the same time demonstrating a consistent narrowing of achievement gaps among students.

"There are so many great success stories in schools across this Commonwealth because of the efforts of administrators, teachers, students and parents who are united and committed to making every effort to ensure that every child that walks through the door receives a high quality education," said Governor Patrick. "I congratulate all of these schools on their outstanding achievement."

"We know the recent good news in our public education system is the result of a focused effort to provide every child with effective teaching and learning that inspires students for opportunities to advance in the classroom today and in the future," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "Our unwavering focus on raising expectations will ensure the next generation of leaders in the Commonwealth are well prepared to succeed."

Statewide MCAS results released last week showed that on their first try, 86 percent of students in the class of 2012 met the state's testing requirement by passing the English Language Arts (ELA), mathematics and Science, Technology and Engineering exams. In addition, results show that for the first time ever, more than half of all seventh and eighth graders statewide scored Proficient or higher in Math.

Results also show a narrowing of the achievement gap for African-Americans in ELA at grades 3, 5 and 7, and in Math at grades 3, 7, 8 and 10; and for Hispanic/Latino students in ELA at grades 3, 5, 6, 7 and 10, and in Math at grades 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 10.

"The most important challenge we face in public education today is accelerating the progress of our lowest performing students, who too often are students of color or from low-income communities," said Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "I am pleased with the progress we have made this year, but recognize that our work will not be completed until we see clear evidence that all students are performing at high levels."

Statewide, the high schools with the biggest combined increase in the percent of students scoring Proficient and Advanced were:

  • Blue Hills Regional Vocational Technical School: up 12 percentage points in ELA; up 17 in math
  • Boston Collegiate Charter School: up 16 in ELA; up 13 in math
  • Mohawk Trail Regional High School: up 8 in ELA; up 14 in math
  • Burncoat Senior High School: up 8 in ELA; up 14 in math
  • Hudson High School: up 3 in ELA; up 15 in math
  • Pittsfield High School: up 9 in ELA; up 8 in math
  • North Central Charter Essential School: up 2 in ELA; up 14 in math
  • Greater New Bedford Vocational Technical School: down 2 in ELA; up 16 in math
  • Holbrook High School: up 2 in ELA; up 12 in math
  • Fitchburg High School: up 2 in ELA; up 11 in math
  • "Our students and their teachers continue to meet the high expectations that we set for them," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. "As we accelerate our efforts to set higher goals, we must also continue to focus our efforts on providing the support and the opportunity required to ensure our educators have what they need to help students reach new levels."

    "Boston's students are once again making advancements that show in grand fashion the progress underway in our schools," said Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. "The Boston Public Schools has come a far way and continue to achieve goals that some once thought were out of reach. We continue to set high standards for our students and our schools with every intention of achieving our goals, if not exceeding them."

    "These MCAS scores prove it is possible to take aggressive steps that result in immediate improvement," said Boston Public Schools Superintendent Carol R. Johnson. "These results also show how important it is for every district employee to work to close the achievement and access gaps that exist. We have much to be proud of, but we also recognize our work is not done. We are committed to working tirelessly to serve every student in our city so they are college ready and career bound by their senior year of high school."

    Today's student success on the MCAS follows several weeks of public education achievements in Massachusetts. Last month, the Commonwealth earned the highest score in the federal Race to the Top competition and earned $250 million to implement new highly-focused education reform strategies. Also in August, Governor Patrick directed $204 million in federal Education Jobs Fund dollars, bringing the state's investment in public education to historic levels and supporting approximately 2,700 educator positions statewide.

    Commissioner Chester today also released school and district results for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) which measures progress toward annual performance targets in English Language Arts (ELA) and Math as required by the national No Child Left Behind Act. The standard for meeting AYP is raised each year, making the federal target more difficult to attain.

    According to the results, 123 districts (32 percent) and 982 schools (57 percent) were identified as in need of improvement, corrective action or restructuring because they did not make AYP for two or more years consecutively. This is up from last year, when 109 districts (28 percent) and 937 schools (54 percent) were identified. The 123 districts identified this year include 32 charter schools, 7 vocational technical schools, and 17 other single-district schools. The 982 schools are located in 277 (71 percent) of the state's school districts.

    AYP measures district and school progress toward annual performance targets in English Language Arts (ELA) and Math. Those that fail to meet their targets in the aggregate or for any of their subgroups for two or more consecutive years receive an accountability status and are required to take steps to focus efforts on improving student performance. Alternately, schools and districts are removed from the list when they make their targets for two consecutive years.

    This year, eight districts and 62 schools are exiting accountability status. The districts are: Blue Hills Vocational School, Brewster public schools, Bristol-Plymouth Vocational Technical School, Falmouth public schools, Granville public schools, Hawlemont public schools and Westhampton public schools.

    Among the 62 schools exiting status are: Joseph Lee Elementary and Michael J. Perkins Elementary in Boston, East Middle School in Braintree, Newton School in Greenfield, the George H Dunbar, Abraham Lincoln and Thomas R. Rodman elementary schools in New Bedford, Park Avenue Elementary in Webster, Nelson Place in Worcester, Benjamin Banneker Charter School, and Sheffield Elementary School in Gill-Montague.

    Under the state's new education reform law passed in January 2010, schools that score in the lowest 20 percent statewide according to student performance data are eligible for designation as underperforming (Level 4) or chronically underperforming (Level 5). Schools that are at risk of moving into underperforming status are considered to be in Level 3 under the state's tiered accountability system.

    As a result of 2010 MCAS performance, 319 schools and 49 districts are in Level 3. Statewide, 35 schools are in Level 4, as are four districts for district-wide issues, and eight for housing one or more Level 4 school.

    For more information on MCAS or to view school or district results, look online at www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/. For more information on AYP, go to www.doe.mass.edu/sda/ayp/.



    Last Updated: September 14, 2010
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