GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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December 2, 2012

School gains show in Essex

ESSEX — Students at Essex Elementary school are exceeding most of their goals.

That’s the assessment drawn from a deeper look at this year’s Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, which, in ranking schools on a 1 through 5 scale — with 1 on the top level and 5 as the poorest performing — places Essex Elementary at No. 2, showing that the school’s improvements are well above average state results.

In addition, students only declined in one area over the past year. That was in mathematics, where 91 percent of students met proficiency standards in 2011, and the goal for 2012 was 91.8 percent. However, only 87.4 percent of students past or exceeded the proficiency rating this year.

The MCAS results, however, showed that the school exceeded the science goal for 2012. More than 92 percent of students made the standard, while the goal called only for increasing the 2011 number of students at proficient or better from 85.2 percent, to 86.7 percent.

Essex Elementary also did well compared to other schools in the state. Statewide results show 61 percent of third and fifth graders, 57 percent of fourth graders were marked as proficient or above in language arts. In Essex, more than 80 percent of third graders, 58 percent of fourth graders and nearly 90 percent of fifth graders scored proficient or advanced. And in all grades, students fared well above state averages in both mathematics and science as well.

The Essex students are not alone, even within their own Manchester Essex School District. Manchester and Essex students, as the Times reported in September, posted proficiency percentages at least 20 points above state averages in each category, including a science rate almost 30 points higher than the average state proficiency rate. Across the four schools at all levels — Memorial and Essex elementary, and Manchester Essex middle and high school — 89 percent of students proved themselves proficient in English Language Arts, 82 percent of students tested at proficient levels for mathematics and 82 percent also scored proficient in the field of science and technology.

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