Area schools react to MCAS score reports

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By Laura Hayes, Senior Community Reporter

REGION – While some local school districts saw their Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) scores dip this year compared to their pre-pandemic levels, other districts celebrated growth following the recent release of 2021 MCAS data.

The MCAS returned for the 2020-2021 school year after the test requirements were waived in the face of the coronavirus pandemic in the spring of 2020. With the pandemic lingering, some students took tests remotely, while other students, such as tenth graders, had to take the test in person.

Statewide, 46 percent of students in third through eighth grade either met or exceeded expectations on the ELA exam. Forty-two percent met that benchmark on the science MCAS, while 33 percent met or exceeded expectations on the math test. 

“Overall, there were lower scores across the state,” Shrewsbury superintendent Joseph Sawyer said. “Although not to the same extent, our school district followed that trend.”

 

Shrewsbury scores outpace state, but fall compared to pre-pandemic data

In 2021, 65 percent of Shrewsbury students in third through eighth grade either met or exceeded expectations on their ELA MCAS. Sixty percent earned such marks on their math as well as their science MCAS tests. 

That is a decrease compared to 2019, which saw 72 percent of students meet or exceed expectations on the ELA exam. Seventy-one percent reached the same benchmark on math, while 63 did so on science. 

Sawyer said the MCAS measures how students perform on the state-set academic standards.

“Given the circumstances last year, we expected to have some gaps in curriculum coverage that would affect our performance on this exam, which was a shortened version of the exam,” Sawyer said.

 

‘I’m very pleased overall with how we did’

The percentage of Westborough sophomores who scored exceeded expectations on their math MCAS grew from 31 percent in 2019 to 43 percent in 2021. 

“I’m very pleased overall with how we did,” said Westborough Superintendent Amber Bock during an Oct. 6 School Committee meeting. “I’d say there were no surprises there.”

“I think I would agree with [Assistant Superintendent Daniel Mayer] that our students will recover academically across the span of this year and that the next sets of benchmarks we use to look at will give us guidance,” she continued.  

 

Southborough excels while Hudson, Marlborough fall behind state averages

In Hudson, 42 percent of students in third through eighth grade met or exceeded expectations on their ELA test, while 35 percent earned such marks on science. Twenty-five percent met or exceeded expectations on their math exams.

Thirty-three percent of such Marlborough students met or exceeded expectations on ELA. Thirty-two percent did so on science while 21 did so on math. 

In Northborough, 50 percent of third through eighth grade students met or exceeded expectations on math. Fifty-nine percent reached that level on their ELA test, while 60 percent did so on science.

Southborough boasted the region’s highest scores with 72 percent on math, 73 percent on ELA and 74 percent on science.

Superintendent Gregory Martineau said the Northborough/Southborough Public School District is in the process of analyzing the results and ensuring that teachers have access to their students’ data.

“Overall, the districts outperformed the state averages significantly,” he said. “However, Northborough and Southborough did observe slight declines in the exceeding and meeting expectations categories, with greater declines in mathematics.” 

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