Nearly 3,300 High School Students Are Assigned Higher Math Performance Levels After Contractor Reporting Error is Corrected- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
For Immediate Release
Friday, September 30, 2011
Contact:JC Considine 781-338-3112

Nearly 3,300 High School Students Are Assigned Higher Math Performance Levels After Contractor Reporting Error is Corrected

Accountability status of three schools adjusted after making Adequate Yearly Progress

MALDEN - The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education today informed school districts that nearly 3,300 students who took the spring 2011 grade 10 MCAS Math test and passed, have earned higher performance levels than they initially received.

Student tests were accurately scored, but an error made by the testing contractor resulted in the assigning of inaccurate scaled scores for the 70,000 students who took the grade 10 Math test. As a result, 3,251 students statewide were misclassified with a performance level that was too low.

"Any lapse causing the inaccurate reporting of student, school, and district MCAS results is unacceptable," said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "I have ordered our contractor to provide me with a thorough explanation for how this error occurred and what steps will be taken to ensure it is not repeated in the future. I have also directed a review of our own protocols regarding quality control checks of MCAS results."

The error uncovered this week was confined to grade 10 Math. No student's performance level went down. With the correction to the grade 10 Math results, the performance levels of 1,364 students will increase from Needs Improvement to Proficient, and the performance levels of 1,887 students will increase from Proficient to Advanced. While some scores at the Failing level will increase, these increases will not result in any student advancing from the Failing to the Needs Improvement level.

Statewide, the corrected performance level means that 77 percent of 10th graders scored Proficient or higher in Math in 2011, a two-percentage point increase from the previously reported figure (75 percent). This also resulted in a corresponding two-percentage point decrease in the percent of students in the Needs Improvement category (from 18 percent to 16 percent).

The Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status of one school (Plymouth North High School) and two single-school districts (Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers; Cape Cod Regional Vocational Technical) that were incorrectly identified for improvement have been adjusted and those schools no longer have an accountability status. In addition, the Greenfield Public Schools no longer have an accountability status in Math after making AYP in 2011 for the second consecutive year. The adjusted 2011 AYP determinations also show that 1,393 schools (81 percent; down from 1,404 schools previously reported) and 350 districts (90 percent; down from 354 districts) did not make AYP in 2011.

The Department is working closely with its testing contractor, Measured Progress, to rapidly address the reporting error. School superintendents will have access to the updated grade 10 student rosters with corrected Math scores by early next week, and parents/guardians will receive corrected student reports from their schools shortly thereafter.

"Massachusetts is justifiably proud of its state assessment program," said Chester. "Every educator, parent, student and taxpayer must have confidence that MCAS scores are accurately reported, and we are taking all of the necessary steps to ensure an incident like this does not occur again."

While the tests were scored accurately, the error by the contractor involved a problem during the raw score-to-scaled score conversion process. The Department was made aware of the issue when a principal and student separately contacted the Department to contest results.

School and district results in grade 10 Math have been updated on the Department's website at, and AYP results have been updated at

Last Updated: September 30, 2011

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.