ROCKPORT — The numbers are in, and the Rockport Public School District has shown measurable improvements in some areas on the tests through the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS).
Overall, the district showed an increasing percentage of students who scored proficient or higher in eight areas compared to MCAS scores of a year ago, including third-grade reading and math, fourth-grade English and math, fifth grade science, seventh grade English, and all areas in grade 10.
In addition, scores dropped in nine areas compared to last year, and while state percentages in the proficient or higher category are up, Rockport stayed above state levels in nearly all areas this year, with the exception of math in grades five, six and seven.
Despite notable improvements in some areas — 99 percent of 10th grade students scored proficient or higher in English — Superintendent Robert Liewbow said that, in a smaller school district such as Rockport, a three-year average is the best tool to show improvements and declines in MCAS scores.
The three-year averages also allow better data analysis, he said. For example, if math students in Grade 5 do not show improvements but the same group of students shows improvements in Grade 6, there would be no immediate problem, because the students are showing improvements one year later
When MCAS scores decrease or increase for three years, real differences can be seen, Liebow said.
”You have to be consistent with what you say,” Liebow said, adding some factors could distort the figures, such as a math teacher being on maternity leave for example, or an influx of special needs students.
Compared to the amount of students tested last year, the same amount of students with disabilities were tested last year in English, it was the same in other areas tested.
The three year averages are stable and in some areas they have even increased, and Rockport is getting higher and higher above state averages compared to previous years, Liebow said.
”The high school level is holding its own,” he said.
Even more important than year to year results is the student growth report, Liebow said.
Student growth percentiles measure a change in achievement over time, rather than a grade level achievement during a single year.
At the high school math level, 71 students were tested and 95 percent of them scored proficient or higher, pushing toward the high growth and high achievement levels, up since last year.
The growth report also showed in math, with 135 elementary school students tested and 62 percent of them scored at least proficient, down from a proficiency score of 65 in 2012.
At the middle school level, 215 students were tested in math and 56 percent of them scored proficient or above, down by 14 percent from last year’s proficiency mark of 65
In English, high school growth was about the same, while elementary students showed improvements, pushing toward the high growth high achievement side of the graph; middle school student growth was slightly down from last year.
James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at email@example.com.