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Wayland Students Remain Steady in Math, Lose Slight Ground in English

The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) scores for districts throughout the state have been released.

Wayland students overall showed steady proficiency in math and a slight decrease in English/language arts proficiency, according to the 2012 district-specific Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) results released Wednesday.

This marks the first year that the scores can be viewed apart from the lens of No Child Left Behind, a federal program from which Massachusetts received a waiver in February.

Specifically, Massachusetts received a waiver from the No Child Left Behind requirement that all students achieve proficiency in math and English by 2014, Boston.com explained. Now, schools "must strive to reduce proficiency gaps by 50 percent by 2017."

With that framework in mind, 80 percent of the 1,496 Wayland students who took the mathematics test scored in the proficient or above range. The statewide math proficiency level increased from 58 percent to 59 percent.

When it comes to English/language arts, the state numbers remained steady at 69 percent, while Wayland's numbers decreased slightly from 89 percent to 87 percent of students who scored in the proficient or above range.

For the science and technology/engineering test, 84 percent of Wayland students, well above the state average of 54 percent, scored in the proficient or above range.

MCAS tests are administered in the spring of each year to students in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10. Only students in grades  5, 8 and 10 take the science and technology/engineering test.

According to the state’s guidelines, students scoring in the advanced range “demonstrate a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of challenging subject matter and provide sophisticated solutions to complex problems.” Those scoring in the proficient range “demonstrate a solid understanding of challenging subject matter and solve a wide variety of problems.”

On a grade level basis, Wayland students in grade 5 saw decreases in the mathematics, English/language arts and science and technology/engineering tests, though still scored higher than the state average in all categories.

Students in grade 8 and 10, however, saw increases in students scoring in the proficient or above range of all three tests.

School-specific data is also available on the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website.

General district-wide results for Wayland for 2011 and 2012 are included as PDFs with this document.

Jeff Dieffenbach September 20, 2012 at 02:30 PM
It's worth pointing out that comparing scores from one year to the next doesn't really represent "gains" or "losing ground." Such scores are comparing two different groups of students--it's natural that there will be year-to-year fluctuations. A better (but more difficult) comparison is looking at how a given grade's students score over time. For instance, assuming that the test scores are normalized, it would be desirable to see the Class of 2014 improve their reading/ELA, math, science, and technology proficiency from 3rd to 4th to ... to 10th grade.

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