School Committee reviews MCAS results


Westborough – Students and schools throughout the district once again scored very well on MCAS testing, according to last spring's test results, which were recently released and delivered to the School Committee at its Oct. 22 meeting.

From an overall standpoint, Westborough received a very high performance rating in English language arts (ELA) and a high performance rating in math.

The number of students recording "advanced" scores in ELA was higher in four grades and remained the same in one, when compared to the previous year.

In math, the number of students receiving "advanced" scores was higher in five grades and lower in two.

When comparing the scores to state averages, Westborough students scored, percentage-wise, higher than the state average in the "advanced/above proficient" category in all grades and all testing categories (ELA, math, and science and technology).

In the "proficient" category, the district was again ahead of the state in each testing category except third-grade math, eighth-grade ELA, 10th-grade ELA and 10thgrade math.

In the "needs improvement" and "warning/failing" categories, the district was below the state averages in every grade and testing category.

"We scored very high in the testing. The scores show lots of improvement throughout the district," Assistant Superintendent Marianne O'Connor said. "Our scores compare very, very favorable compared to the state averages."

O'Connor believes preparation was the key to the improvement in the test scores.

"We did much more analytical work in the weeks leading up to the testing," O'Connor said. "Our open response work to the essay questions [put us] well above the state average, well above. I attribute a lot of the improvement to a lot of hard work done in professional development. The teachers worked very hard to make sure the students were as prepared as they could be for these MCAS tests."

O'Connor also reported to the School Committee at its Oct. 22 meeting that one sub-group of students at the Mill Pond School has been identified as needing math improvement relating to the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) program, which is a component of the No Child Left Behind Act.

O'Connor said the AYP measure is based on the MCAS results and that the sub-group aff ected are Special Education students.

In an attempt to improve the MCAS and AYP scores going forward, O'Connor said the district will institute several support initiatives at Mill Pond, including the hiring of an additional math tutor, collaborative work between the math curriculum specialist and Mill Pond teachers, and the addition of Pinpoint Math, a supplemental math intervention program aligned to the state's curriculum frameworks.

Specific professional development of the faculty at Mill Pond is already underway to support the improvement initiatives; after-school tutoring and homework help will be off ered to students identified as needing additional support in math.

In other news, Dan Hendricks, the School Department's director of business and administration, reported to the School Committee that the district has targeted Thursday Nov. 20 as the date it hopes to have the retroactive pay delivered to the teachers as a result of the recently approved contract between the district and the Westborough Teachers Association, financing for which was approved at the Oct. 20 Special Town Meeting.