The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, September 27, 2002


Carlisle students post leading MCAS results

Carlisle Public Schools and Concord-Carlisle High School have once again excelled in the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS). According to the Boston Globe, of approximately 400 districts that took the MCAS, Carlisle ranked number one in eighth-grade math. The Globe also ranked CCHS second in combined results for tenth-grade English and math. Results for Carlisle were not included in the Globe rankings for overall score, which looked only at districts with their own high schools. However, if the Concord-Carlisle High School results are added to the CPS totals, Carlisle ranks second in the state in total MCAS scores (2,007 versus number one Wellesley's 2,008).

The MCAS is administered once a year to public schools across the state. Last year's tests included assessments for third-grade reading (not included in totals), fourth-grade English and math, sixth-grade math, seventh-grade English, eighth-grade math and history, and tenth-grade English and math. All students in Massachusetts must pass tenth-grade English and math in order to graduate from high school.

Curriculum-framework mismatch

If there was any sunspot in Carlisle's bright picture, it was the seemingly unstellar eighth-grade history scores. Only 37% of Carlisle students received a "proficient" (P) score, with 51% in the "needs improvement" (NI) category and 12% failing (F). Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson noted in a recent address to parents that "aligning the history curriculum to the state framework has been like trying to hit a moving target." As a result, students are sometimes tested on subjects they have not yet covered. This year ancient civilization and geography will be taught in both the fourth and fifth grades as a step toward eventual alignment with the frameworks.

Other districts are having equal difficulty with the history MCAS. While Carlisle averaged a score of 233, Acton-Boxborough averaged 227, Concord averaged 232, Lincoln averaged 227, Weston averaged 233, and Harvard and Lexington surpassed Carlisle by one point at 234. Even North Reading, which had the best scores in history at 241, recorded 39% NI and 6% F.

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito