Education leaders report on MCAS results for Vineyard students
Students of the Martha's Vineyard public schools continue to do well on the MCAS tests, making adequate yearly progress (AYP) on every test last spring. Across the Island, the results for grade three reading, grade seven English Language Arts, grade eight science, and grade 10 English and mathematics were especially commendable. Once again, the West Tisbury eighth grade students led the state in science and technology. Kudos to the staffs at all our
schools for such excellent results.
At MVRHS, 95 percent of tenth graders passed both the English and mathematics exams this year, well ahead of the State's results. These students' scores showed little change from last year in English, as did scores across the entire state. In mathematics, students scored an impressive 79 percent advanced or proficient, well ahead of the state as well as their
own results from the prior year. However, the scores of identified students continue to lag behind the school as a whole in English Language Arts, with only 39 percent reaching the basic level or better.
At the elementary level, schools across the Island continue to show mixed results on the varying tests administered to students in grades three through eight. Most schools showed some progress in third grade reading over the previous year. Significant growth was seen in grade four mathematics, which was a focus of teachers last year based on MCAS results. Beginning in spring 2006, all students in grades three through eight will take both English Language Arts and mathematics assessments, which will permit better longitudinal comparisons.
Teachers and administrators from across the Island schools have been reviewing these results, looking for areas needing further work. As we review the questions asked on the MCAS, are there gaps in what is being taught? Are there patterns and trends as we review test questions and student responses? Do students have the vocabulary necessary for success in the content that is being tested?
The Martha's Vineyard Public School system is doing well, but we must continue to learn from the tools and measurements that we have available to us. MCAS should not be the barometer, but it should be one of the tools that we can learn from. Our goal, as a school system, is to use any and all of these tools to better inform our instruction so that many more students will continue to succeed.
Jim Weiss is superintendent of Vineyard schools, and Marge Harris is assistant superintendent for curriculum/ and instruction.