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Waltham Public Schools: Wins and Next Steps Based on 2018-19 MCAS 2.0 Results

Waltham Public Schools: Wins and Next Steps Based on 2018-19 MCAS 2.0 Results

Waltham Public Schools: Wins and Next Steps Based on 2018-19 MCAS 2.0 Results

Waltham Schools Demonstrate Significant Improvement in Elementary ELA & Middle School Math

Waltham, MA, [September 27, 2018] - Over the past several years, the state of Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has implemented three major changes to the process through which school- and district-level assessment and accountability are implemented

  1. Implementation of MCAS 2.0 assessments aligned to new rigorous ELA, Math, and Science Standards;
  2. A phased shift towards computer-based assessment and away from paper-pencil assessments; and
  3. Transition to a new accountability system, which includes new indicators and replaces former accountability Levels 1-5 with performance bands. These performance bands indicate the extent to which schools and districts are meeting targets and/or require targeted or comprehensive support.

As a result of these changes to the state’s assessment and accountability system, historic results from years prior to 2017 cannot be compared with current results for grades 3-8. With this in mind, we have considered the following indicators of student progress in Waltham in communicating our results for the 2017-18 school year, because we feel these measures best represent Waltham Public Schools’ strengths and ongoing work as a system.

  1. Student Growth Percentile (SGP): Student Growth Percentile (SGP) range from 1 to 99 and measure student growth when compared to other students who have a similar score history. The state mean SGP is 51. A SGP of 1-39 represents low growth; a 40-59 SGP is considered moderate growth and a GP between 60-99 demonstrates high growth.
  2. Student Achievement: Achievement is a measure of student performance against academic standards, and is measured by averaging students’ scaled scores on ELA, Math, and Science assessments. Achievement is represented as a number between 440-560, with scores above 500 considered “Meeting or Exceeding” standards.
  3. Student Growth and Performance Against Targets: We have considered whether “All Students” and students across various subgroups have met or partially met growth and achievement targets established by the state for 2018 MCAS 2.0 based on their 2017 performance and growth.
  4. School and Subgroup Accountability Data: We have considered whether students at each of our schools met their targets for “All Students” and across specific subgroups, according to the state’s new accountability indicators. We have used these data, alongside subgroup performance in growth and performance, to identify and continue to address persistent achievement gaps.

Comparisons of Waltham Public Schools to the State
The Waltham Public Schools has been concerned about the gap in performance for our students compared to state averages and has worked tirelessly to eliminate this gap with the state. We can see significant movement toward this goal as evidenced by:

  • McDevitt outpaces state in ELA overall
  • Kennedy matches state in ELA, outpaces in Math
  • Plympton outpaces state in Math
  • FitzGerald outpaces state in Math, ELA
  • Kennedy and McDevitt outpace state in Science

We also see evidence of gap closing with the state at the following grade levels:

  • Stanley Grade 5 outpaces state in ELA
  • FitzGerald every grade outpaces state in ELA
  • FitzGerald Grade 3 outpaces state in Math
  • Plympton Grade 4 outpaces state in Math
  • McDevitt Grade 6 outpaces state in ELA and Math
  • McDevitt Grade 7 outpaces state in Math
  • McDevitt Grade 8 matches state in ELA, outpaces in science
  • Kennedy Grade 6 outpaces state in ELA and Math
  • Kennedy Grade 7 outpaces state in ELA
  • Kennedy Grade 8 outpaces state in Math and matches in Science

We are also proud to announce that the Stanley Elementary School has earned an important distinction from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) as School of Recognition for high growth. The DESE defines Schools of Recognition as “schools demonstrating high achievement, significant improvement or high growth.” Only 51 schools in the Commonwealth were afforded this honor so this is a major accomplishment for our district and hope all will send their congratulations to the Stanley School.
We encourage you to click here and read the entire release issued by Waltham Public Schools.