Wednesday, September 16, 2009

School-by-school MCAS results released. Sigh.

The state Department of Education released the school-by-school results of last spring’s MCAS. It’s hard not to be a little disheartened looking at the results. Sometimes, it feels like it’s a race to the bottom. I’m sure once school preview season kicks off in November, I’ll forget feeling so despondent about our school district.

I’m providing the rankings of West Zone schools (plus three charter schools) culled from what the Globe published today. I’m listing only 3rd grade results because in 4th grade, some students transfer to schools with advanced work programs, which may skew the results a bit. (Note: I originally listed 4th grade results because I mistakenly thought AWC started in 5th grade.)

Based on the results presented here, some schools are consistently toward the top, some are consistently toward the bottom, and some are all over the place. So I don’t know what the take-home message is. Maybe it’s don’t rely on the MCAS and ignore everything in this post?

[Edited to add: as some other parents have kindly pointed out, it's important not to look at MCAS results in isolation. What I've provided here isn't a very good representation of the quality of a lot of schools because some students take on more students with special needs and English language learners. The Department of Education website does a better job of breaking out the performance of subgroups, which might be a better barometer of a school's performance. Also, if a family declines to take the test, that child is counted as failing. Sometimes it takes a village to write a blog.]

In these charts, first number is state rank. The last number is the percentage of students scoring “Advanced” or “Proficient.”

3rd grade English (out of 979 schools statewide)
105 Boston Renaissance Charter School, 79
303 Lyndon, 69
325 Kilmer, 68
407 Edward Brooke Charter School, 64
407 Dickerman (now part of King K-8), 64
487 Conservatory Lab Charter School, 60
506 Beethoven, 59
532 Manning, 58
532 Mozart, 58
719 Hale, 46
749 Curley, 43
779 Mendell, 40
779 Conley, 40
831 Agassiz, 35
831 Haley, 35
841 Philbrick, 34
857 Ellis, 31
857 Higginson, 31
857 Hernandez, 31
870 Sumner, 30
876 Ohrenberger, 29
908 Bates, 24
954 Hennigan, 14

3rd grade math (out of 981 schools)
185 Kilmer, 78
224 Mozart, 75
245 Edward Brooke Charter School, 74
245 Conservatory Lab Charter School, 74
404 Boston Renaissance Charter, 66
460 Beethoven, 63
673 Lyndon, 51
681 Mendell, 50
681 Hale, 50
772 Curley, 43
803 Dickerman (now part of King K-8), 40
821 Philbrick, 38
879 Agassiz, 30
879 Hernandez, 30
879 Ohrenberger, 30
898 Conley, 27
898 Bates, 27
905 Sumner, 26
905 Ellis, 26
905 Haley, 26
905 Manning, 26
924 Higginson, 23
961 Hennigan,13

I tried to get all the schools, but I may have skipped over some in my haste. Please let me know if you see omissions.


JamieLichtenstein said...

I scanned the globe version of the results and many schools had a fairly small number of kids per grade. I think you'd expect a lot of error when the results in some cases are based on 30 or so students in 4 categories.

Geeky Mama said...

Good point, Jamie. Another reason not to put too much stock in this.

I left out the number of students to save a little time and make it a little easier to read.

mathteacher said...

You've left out an important player in the West Zone - Edward W. Brooke Charter School has it's first 3rd grade MCAS rankings this year and they're pretty solid (ELA - 407th; Math - 245th). You can also check out the results for the middle school which are excellent. Though the Globe says that Edward Brooke is in Brighton, it's actually in Roslindale on Cummins Highway.

BTW, I thought that advanced work started in 4th grade, not 5th grade.

Geeky Mama said...

Thanks, mathteacher. I looked for Edward Brooke but didn't see it. Now I know why.

You're right. AWC starts in 4th grade. I scanned this document too fast: Will make adjustments.

AsMom said...

The small number of kids per grade is the reality in many schools. Many schools only have 1 class per grade so all you get is a max of 25 kids (or whatever the max is for 3rd grade). It's not a sample, it's the entire population they are reporting on.

The fact that they report the kids who are not tested as failing is another matter.

I hope schools do more than teach kids how to be test savvy. Then again, maybe that's what they need to learn because it's what they'll be encountering for the remainder for their education.