Some Positive Movement on 2018 MCAS Scores

Some Positive Movement on 2018 MCAS Scores

An overview of 2018 MCAS Scores

While the annual release of MCAS scores is nothing new as we enter year 25 of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), there are a number of changes this year as the state moves to a new accountability system.  The image below highlights some of the changes in the new system which takes into account additional indicators such as chronic absenteeism and advanced coursework completion (for high school students). There is also an increased focus on raising the performance of each school’s lowest performing students.

A picture showing the highlights of Massachusetts' new school and district accountability system.

In Burlington, we continued to see modest improvement in most areas in regards to our ELA and Math achievement. Here is a quick summary of the scores from each level within our district:

Elementary Next-Generation MCAS Scores - ELA

Last year we had concerns about our writing scores in grades 3-5 as we were well below the state average in ELA due to our writing scores.  This year we saw marked improvement in all grade levels, with our 4th grade scores making the biggest jump. Last year our fourth graders were 13 percentage points below the state average and this past year they scored 3 percentage points above the state average (see image below). Overall our ELA scores in grades 3-5 improved by at least 9-percent with students scoring either Exceeding or Meeting Expectations, with Pine Glen students moving from 40-percent Exceeding or Meeting Expectations in 2017 to 60-percent in 2018 (see image below).

Elementary Results by Standard 2017

Elementary Results by Standard 2018

Image of Elementary ELA Results by Standard 2018

Elementary Next-Generation MCAS Scores - Math

Our MCAS Next-Generation Math scores also showed modest gains with the average percentage increase in the top two categories improving from 54-percent to 58-percent. Our biggest increases last year was at Memorial where the percentage of students in Exceeding Expectations and Meeting Expectations increased from 47-percent in 2017 to 58-percent in 2018 (see image below).

Image of Memorial Math Achievement 2018

Marshall Simonds Middle School Next-Generation MCAS Scores

As we completed year two of Next-Generation MCAS assessments at the middle school level, our scores also showed increases in the percentage of students scoring in the top two categories (Exceeding Expectations and Meeting Expectations) in both ELA and Math. Our MSMS ELA scores showed an increase from 39-percent of students scoring in the top two categories in 2017 to 47-percent scoring in the top two categories in 2018 (see image below).

Image of MSMS ELA Achievement Levels 2018

MSMS Math Scores in 2018 saw the percentage of students scoring in the top two categories of MCAS increase from 49-percent in 2017 to 57-percent in 2018 (see image below).

MSMS Math Achievement Levels 2018

Burlington High School Legacy MCAS Scores

Our BHS MCAS results on the final year of the legacy test showed very similar scores to previous years. In ELA 97-percent of students scored in either Advanced or Proficient while Math scores dipped slightly with 82-percent scoring Advanced or Proficient (see image below). BHS, like all high schools in the state, will move to the Next-Generation MCAS in the spring of 2019.

Image of BHS ELA Achievement Levels 2018


Image of BHS Math Achievement Levels 2018

Moving Forward

As always, we will continue to look through MCAS scores for trends to see how we can improve our teaching and learning. Our district leadership team has already been involved in this analysis for a few weeks. We look forward to sharing more on our state's new accountability system as we move forward.  We share the feelings of Bob Lee, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Chief Data Analyst, who stated the following yesterday, "We're treating these as baseline data and we're trying not to read too much into them."

Having said this, we will continue to use our own internal assessments to monitor the progress of students throughout the course of the school year. 

Paper copies of MCAS Results are supposed to be delivered today and we will get them home to families by the end of next week.

  • MCAS, Assessment, Accountability
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