BPS 10th graders score at highest level of proficiency in the history of the district’s administration of the MCAS
BOSTON -- Boston Public Schools (BPS) students in grade 10 reached the highest levels of proficiency in the history of the district’s administration of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) exam, according to results released today. The results of the Spring 2012 exams also show that the students made greater gains than their peers state-wide.
73% of 10th graders reached proficient and advanced in English Language Arts (ELA), an increase of 6 percentage points from 2011. Similarly, 65% of 10th graders reached proficient or advanced in Math, an increase of 3 percentage points. In comparison, the percentage of students who reached proficient and advanced state-wide increased 4 percentage points in 10th grade in ELA and 2 points in Math.
Boston’s 8th graders also demonstrated historically high proficiency levels in ELA, with a 4 percentage point gain in the most recent year, and an overall rate of 64%. The gains in 8th grade also surpass the state-wide increase of 2 points.
“I am extremely proud of the progress underway in our schools,” said Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “The students of Boston are growing academically at rates we’ve never seen before in this city. We have much more work to do to close the achievement gaps that remain, but we are seeing changes that prove we are moving in the right direction.”
Superintendent Johnson visited the Dr. William Henderson Inclusion Elementary School in Dorchester this morning to congratulate them on their recognition as a Commendation School by state officials. The Eliot K-8 School in the North End was also named as a Commendation School.
“We see some very positive trends in these results,” said BPS Superintendent Carol R. Johnson. “This data helps us recognize what is working in our schools and where interventions need to be made. We must give credit where it is due, and that is with the great teachers of Boston. With great principals and headmasters guiding the way, these teachers are doing what some have described as impossible. They are champions in every sense of the word.”
The results, which were released for the first time Wednesday, show a narrowing of the achievement gap for 10th grade students. Nearly 90% of White and Asian 10th graders scored proficient or advanced on the ELA portion of the exam, while nearly 70% African American/Black and Latino 10th grade students scored at the same level. These scores represent a 10 percent increase for African American/Black 10th graders compared to last year’s results.
“The encouraging news here is that while the gap narrows, we are also seeing gains for all students,” said Dr. Kamal Chavda, Assistant Superintendent for Research, Assessment and Evaluation.
The results also show notable gains for English Language Learners (ELLs). ELLs who reached higher-levels of understanding of the English language scored at higher levels, indicating recent improvements to how services are provided to ELLs is yielding results.
Several schools also stood out, showing student results vastly outpaced similar students state-wide. Schools with Student Growth Percentiles (SGP) greater than 70 in ELA included: Dorchester’s Henderson Elementary (75 SGP); UP Academy, formally the Gavin Middle School in South Boston (71 SGP); and Orchard Gardens K-8 in Roxbury (70 SGP). Similar gains were also seen across the district in Math. Otis Elementary (East Boston); Manning Elementary (Jamaica Plain); Blackstone Elementary (South End); Orchard Gardens K-8 (Roxbury); Eliot K-8 (North End); Clap Innovation School (Dorchester); Patrick Kennedy Elementary (East Boston); Henderson Elementary (Dorchester); New Mission High School (Hyde Park); and UP Academy (South Boston) all show high student growth ranging between the 70th and 86th percentile in Math.
The district’s turnaround schools (schools identified as underperforming in 2010) are also showing marked improvement. 8 of the 11 turnarounds showed student growth better than the 40th percentile in ELA, while 9 of 11 showed similar results in Math. Black and Hispanic students, who make up the majority of the student population at these schools, have seen increases in proficiency rates in both ELA and Math since 2010. Gains range from 4 to 10 percentage points.
Some grade levels showed measured results on ELA and Math across the district. BPS has identified 21 schools that require additional supports and will work in close cooperation with those school leaders and teachers to bring new resources to their classrooms. Interventions include all Principals and Headmasters, for the first time, receiving a comprehensive data packet regarding all aspects of academic achievement and school morale. Among the schools receiving the additional supports will be Dorchester’s Mattahunt Elementary, designated as a turnaround school today by state officials.
Teams of literacy and math coaches are also being dispatched to the schools known as high support schools. Superintendent Johnson also announced today intentions to pilot a program where teams of teachers from high-performing schools will visit lower performing schools to offer advice and guidance.
These are the first results released since Massachusetts was granted a waiver by the federal government from certain provisions of the No Child Left Behind act. The state’s new goals include cutting proficiency gaps in half by the 2016/2017 school year, instead of proficiency for all by 2014.