The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 2, 2005


RSC reviews grade 10 MCAS results

Concord-Carlisle High School (CCHS) Principal Art Dulong assured the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee (RSC), "Overall, CCHS students did very well on the MCAS." Dulong and Assistant Superintendent Diana Rigby presented a report of last spring's 10th grade MCAS results to RSC's November 22 meeting. The MCAS English Language Arts and Mathematics tests are intended to evaluate how well high school students and schools are achieving the learning standards contained in the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. Performance levels are: Advanced, Proficient, Needs Improvement, and Failing. High school students must pass both the grade 10 English and math tests to earn a high school diploma.

Language Arts results

The report states that 92% of the students scored proficient or advanced on the grade 10 English test. Another six percent (19 students) were rated "needs improvement." For the past four years, more than 90% of student scores were at the advanced or proficient levels, while between 6% and 10% of the scores were in the needs improvement category, and between zero and one percent were rated as failing.

When compared to the statewide results, CCHS students continue to score significantly higher." Dulong said, "We're doing fine. Students continue to improve."

Mathematics results

In the Grade 10 Mathematics Test, 89% of CCHS students scored in the proficient or advanced levels. Nine percent or 27 students scored at the needs improvement level. Two students failed, one of which has significant disabilities.

During the years 2002 - 2005, at least 80% of the students have achieved ratings of proficient or advanced. When compared to the statewide results, CCHS students continue to score significantly higher."

Some groups lag

When results are broken down into different groups it can be seen that minority students, special education students and students from low-income homes did significantly worse than the CCHS Grade 10 averages, particularly in mathematics, where only 40% of the African American or low-income groups and 51% of special education students scored at the advanced or proficient levels (see tables.) Dulong said, "We have more work to do with these groups in math."

Increased student supports

The end of the report states what has been done and what will be done to help students improve. More sophomores will be enrolled in the MCAS English Language Arts course. Another significant step has been to have SPED teachers deliver special education tutoring services more directly. A voluntary test prep course taught by sped teachers and tutors has begun during lunch blocks. The administration has taken several steps to improve the math scores as well. A certified and experienced mathematics teacher for tutoring services has been hired. Curriculum has been adjusted so that all students will have at least Algebra 1 and a formal Geometry course before the end of sophomore year. Special education in-class supports have been added to the CPIII level Algebra 1 and Geometry classes. A Mathematics Strategies class has also been created for sped students.

There are about 150 students who receive special education services at CCHS. Not included in the MCAS data are the scores of the 47 students who receive special education through out-of-district placements.

Aside from those students with known learning disabilities who already have individual education plans, reasons were sought for the other students who had low scores. This fall department chairs researched possible causes and solutions. For at least some of the students with poor scores the report states, "By interviewing teachers and studentswe have found that these students frequently underplace themselves even when recommended for higher level classes, these students have slightly lower rates of attendance and these students are less likely to complete homeworkSome strategies we have identified include early intervention with parents, mentoring of entering students, and clustering of students in upper level classes with support." These improvements are not expected to bear fruit for a couple years.

2005 The Carlisle Mosquito