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Dracut School Administration Pleased With MCAS Improvement

Nov 29, 2016 03:21PM ● By Andrew Sylvia
Wicked Cornhole

 The Dracut School Committee went home pleased overall on Monday night following a 2016 MCAS score recap focusing primarily on year-to-year growth.  

In a presentation looking at MCAS scores from each of Dracut’s public schools, Superintendent Steven Stone praised the work of his staff, stating the district’s median student growth percentile had increased in each of the four years.

Dracut’s student growth percentile, which compares a student’s individual test scores from a year-to-year level, indicated that 70 percent of students participating in Spring 2016 tests exhibited “moderate to very high” growth. In comparison, only 47 percent of Dracut students achieved the same threshold in Spring of 2008. 

However, just over half of Dracut’s students were identified as “failing” or “needs improvement” in the Science portion of this year’s test. Statewide, 46 percent of students fell into one of those two categories.

In Math, 46 percent of Dracut students fell into one of those categories. In English Language Arts, that figure was 30 percent. 

There, Stone indicated that part of the problem came from the state’s transition from the MCAS toward the Partnership of Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, also known as PARCC. 

During his presentation, he told the committee that the transition had been causing changes to the test each year. In particular, the questions given on the test now had become much more in-depth and required additional technological resources, which Stone said was a weakness within the school district.

Although achievement results for the overall district were not spectacular, only 23 percent of students at Dracut High School fell into the two lower categories, a result that School Committee Member Betsy Murphy called “amazing.” 

Stone also noted that the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education believed that Dracut’s strategies to correct stagnating achievement scores elsewhere, especially with special education students, were on the right track.

“I don’t understand why anyone would want to bring their children to a charter school instead of public schools after seeing scores like this,” said School Committee Member Daniel O’Connell. 

A list of MCAS results for Dracut and other school districts in Massachusetts can be found here

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