Mass.gov
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Go to Selected Program Area
 Massachusetts State Seal
 News  School/District Profiles  School/District Administration  Educator Services  Assessment/Accountability  Family & Community  
 > Administration  Finance/Grants  PK-16 Program Support  Information Services  
For Immediate Release
Monday, September 17, 2012
Contact:JC Considine 781-338-3112

10th Grade MCAS Scores Reach All-Time High as Patrick-Murray Administration Celebrates 15 Years of Improved Performance Among Massachusetts Students

MALDEN - The Patrick-Murray Administration and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education today announced that 88 percent of 10th graders scored Proficient or higher in English language arts (ELA) and 78 percent scored Proficient or higher in mathematics, according to the 2012 statewide results of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) exams.

The results – the highest in the history of the MCAS program – translate into an additional 40,000 students at grade 10 scoring Proficient or higher in both ELA and mathematics this year compared to 1998, when the first MCAS exams were administered. In 1998, only 38 percent of students in ELA and 24 percent in mathematics scored at the Proficient or higher level.

"I commend our students and teachers for the hard work that went into making these impressive scores possible," said Governor Deval Patrick. "I am proud of the progress we have made, but won't be satisfied until we close the achievement gap and all students have the opportunity to reach their full potential."

"Our students continue to excel in the classroom, and these results reflect their achievement" said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "We thank the teachers and parents who support and challenge students to do better and we also stand committed to ensuring the success in and outside the classroom for all students."

African American students are performing at higher academic levels on six of seven tests in both ELA and mathematics compared to five years ago, and have narrowed the achievement gap with white students between three to eight points on four tests in ELA and three to five points on three mathematics tests. Hispanic/Latino students are performing at higher academic levels in 2012 compared to 2008 on six of seven ELA tests and five of seven mathematics tests, and have narrowed the achievement gap with white students between four and nine points on four ELA tests and three points on two mathematics tests.

Governor Patrick has made closing the achievement gap a top priority of his administration. Through new tools provided in the Achievement Gap Act of 2010, additional resources available to school and districts through the Commonwealth's successful Race to the Top initiative and strategies like the Gateway Cities Education Agenda aimed at meeting the specific needs of some of our neediest students, among others, the Patrick-Murray Administration is hard at work to ensure every student in Massachusetts has the supports they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond.

"Once again, students and educators across the Commonwealth are rising to the challenge of the high standards and expectations we set for them," said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "The improved performance of students over the past 15 years of MCAS testing validates the state's significant investment in public education and its efforts to prepare all students for success after high school."

"We are extremely proud of how far we have come in raising the bar for all of our students to reach their full potential," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. "Our strategies are working, but we know there is much more to be done to ensure all means all."

Across all grades tested in 2012, student performance increased on nine of 17 MCAS tests since last year and on 14 of 17 tests since five years ago. In addition to the grade 10 gains, the 2012 MCAS results show that 4th graders made four percentage point gains in ELA (from 53 to 57% scoring Proficient or higher) and mathematics (from 47 to 51%) since last year. Student performance in Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) improved at all three grades tested compared to 2011 – at grades 5 (from 50 to 52%), 8 (from 39 to 43%), and 10 (from 67 to 69%).

On five MCAS tests in 2012, across-the-board improvements were made by every student subgroup (African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, white, students with disabilities, English language learners, low income) since last year. Those tests include ELA at grades 4, 8, and 10; mathematics at grade 6; and STE at grade 10.

According to the 2012 results, performance declined in grade 3 mathematics and grade 5 ELA. Sixty-one percent of 3rd graders scored Proficient or higher in mathematics in 2012, down from 66 percent last year. On the grade 5 ELA test, 61 percent scored Proficient or higher, down from 67 percent in 2011.

Other statewide results include:

  • 86 percent of 10th graders last year (class of 2014) met the state's minimum testing requirements to earn a high school diploma after their first attempt, by scoring Needs Improvement or higher in ELA, mathematics, and STE, compared to 87 percent last year (class of 2013) and 86 percent two years ago (class of 2012).
  • The greatest subgroup gains were made on the grade 10 ELA test: African American (+7, from 69 to 76% scoring Proficient or higher); Asian (+3, from 87 to 90%); Hispanic/Latino (+8, from 63 to 71%); white (+4, from 89 to 93%); students with disabilities (+11, from 49 to 60%); English language learners (+8, from 27 to 35%); and low income (+8, from 69 to 77%).
  • In 2012, a total of 53,384 10th graders scored Proficient or higher in both ELA and mathematics, compared to 50,903 students in 2011; 24,436 students in 2001, when 10th graders were first required to pass grade 10 MCAS tests in ELA and mathematics to earn a high school diploma; and 12,627 students in 1998, the year that MCAS tests were first administered.

Gap Closing:

  • 1-Year Trends: African American students narrowed the achievement gap with white students between 2011 and 2012 by two percentage points in Math at grade 10, and by three percentage points in ELA at grade 10 and in Math at grades 3 and 6. Hispanic/Latino students narrowed the achievement gap with white students since last year by two percentage points in Math at grades 6 and 10, and by four percentage points in ELA at grade 10.
  • 5-Year Trends: African American students narrowed the achievement gap with white students between 2008 and 2012 by three percentage points in ELA at grades 5 and 8 and in Math at grade 7; by four percentage points in ELA at grade 7 and Math at grade 6; by five percentage points in Math at grade 10; and by eight points in ELA at grade 10. Hispanic/Latino students narrowed the achievement gaps with white students since 2008 by two percentage points in ELA at grade 4 and in Math at grade 6; by three points in Math at grades 7 and 10; by four points in ELA at grades 5 and 8; by five points in ELA at grade 7; and by nine points in ELA at grade 10.

Trends in ELA Performance:

  • 1-Year Trends: The percent of students scoring Proficient or higher increased from 2011 to 2012 on three of seven tests, including by two percentage points at grade 8 (from 79 to 81%) and four percentage points at grades 4 (from 53 to 57%) and 10 (from 84 to 88%). Results were flat at grade 3 (61%). Performance declined by two percentage points at grades 6 (from 68 to 66%) and 7 (from 73 to 71%) and six percentage points at grade 5 (from 67 to 61%).
  • 5-Year Trends: The percent of students scoring Proficient or higher increased from 2008 to 2012 on five of seven tests, including a 13-percentage point gain at grade 10. Performance increased at grades 3 (from 56 to 61%), 4 (from 49 to 57%), 7 (from 69 to 71%), 8 (from 75 to 81%), and 10 (from 75 to 88%). Results were flat at grade 5 (61%). Student performance in ELA declined at grade 6 by one percentage point (from 67 to 66%).
  • 15-Year Trends(1): The percent of students scoring Proficient or higher increased from 1998 to 2012 at grade 10 (from 38 to 88%).

(1) Not all MCAS tests were operational in 1998. Accordingly, only those with trends dating back fifteen years are described here.

Trends in Math Performance:

  • 1-Year Trends: The percent of students scoring Proficient or higher increased from 2011 to 2012 on three of seven tests, including by one percentage point at grade 10 (from 77 to 78%), two percentage points at grade 6 (from 58 to 60%), and four percentage points at grade 4 (from 47 to 51%). Results were flat at grades 7 (51%) and 8 (52%). Math performance declined since last year by two percentage points at grade 5 (from 59 to 57%) and five percentage points at grade 3 (from 66 to 61%).
  • 5-Year Trends: The percent of students scoring Proficient or higher increased from 2008 to 2012 on six of seven tests, including a 6-point gain at grade 10. Performance increased at grades 4 (from 49 to 51%), 5 (from 52 to 57%), 6 (from 56 to 60%), 7 (from 47 to 51%), 8 (from 49 to 52%), and 10 (from 72 to 78%).
  • 15-Year Trends(1): The percent of students scoring Proficient or higher increased from 1998 to 2012 at grades 4 (from 34 to 51%), 8 (from 31 to 52%), and 10 (from 24 to 78%).

(1) Not all MCAS tests were operational in 1998. Accordingly, only those with trends dating back fifteen years are described here.

Trends in STE Performance:

  • 1-Year Trends: The percent of students scoring Proficient or higher increased from 2011 to 2012 on all three tests, including by two percentage points at grades 5 (from 50 to 52%) and 10 (from 67 to 69%) and four percentage points at grade 8 (from 39 to 43%).
  • 5-Year Trends: The percent of students scoring Proficient or higher increased from 2008 to 2012 on all three tests, including a 12-point gain at grade 10. Performance increased at grades 5 (from 50 to 52%), 8 (from 39 to 43%), and 10 (from 57 to 69%).

District and school results for the 2012 MCAS tests will be released on September 19, 2012. For more information on the MCAS exams or to view the full statewide report, visit http://www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/.



Last Updated: September 17, 2012
E-mail this page| Print View| Print Pdf  
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Search · Site Index · Policies · Site Info · Contact ESE