MCAS results show Wareham scores below state averages

Oct 18, 2017
Courtesy of: Massachusetts Department of Education The Department of Education released MCAS test scores from this past spring on Wednesday.

The 2017 MCAS results were released Wednesday, revealing Wareham students continue to lag academically compared with the rest of the state, but some programs are providing a bright spot for future improvements, said Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Shaver-Hood.

Scores showed that far fewer Wareham students are “exceeding or meeting expectations” in mathematics and English language arts compared to students across Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Department of Education revamped the test for this past spring's session and it has more rigorous standards compared to the old one. Students in grades three through eight took the test. Wareham High School students will continue to take the traditional test until 2019. This year, improved test scores boosted the school's rating from a Level 3 to a Level 2 school.

(For more on Wareham High School's test scores, click here.)

Students take the new version of the test on computers, rather than using paper. The scores are: exceeding expectations, meeting expectations, partially meeting expectations and not meeting expectations. Previous scores were: proficient or higher, advanced, proficient, needs improvement and warning/failing.

Shaver-Hood noted that teachers worked to prepare students for the new online test. She said a change in the mathematics curriculum and new literacy programs show promise for increasing scores in the future.

At Decas Elementary, the results from an early literacy study released in June revealed a vast improvement in reading skills with the implementation of a new program. In February, kindergarten students were tested for reading fluency using the Developmental Reading Assessment. Then in April, they were re-tested after receiving 20 to 25 days of reading intervention. The process was repeated and the students were tested again in June.

In February, 55 percent of students did not meet the target reading level, but by June, that number dropped to 6 percent. Based on those results, the program was launched again this summer at Decas Elementary and will be offered at Minot Forest Elementary.

Shaver-Hood credited teachers for the improvement as well.

"We have outstanding educators who are being allowed to meet the needs of our students," said Shaver-Hood.

Shaver-Hood said that currently administrators are reviewing the test results. The combined scores for Wareham students in grades three through eight for English language arts in the meeting or exceeding category is 37 percent. Statewide that number is 49 percent.

Mathematics scores for Wareham students in the meeting or exceeding category is 26 percent. Statewide that number is 48 percent.

In the not meeting expectations category, Wareham students scored 16 percent compared to the state’s 10 percent for English Language Arts. In mathematics, Wareham students scored 24 percent compared to the state’s 12 percent in the not meeting expectations category.

The MCAS assessment was updated after 20 years to a version called next-generation MCAS, which was given for the first time in spring 2017 to grades three through eight in English language arts and mathematics. High school students are still taking the former version of the MCAS test and the next-generation test will be introduced in spring 2019 for high schools.

The new assessment was created with the input of hundreds of teachers after the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to create an updated, Massachusetts-specific test. The test is intended to give a better indication whether students are ready for the next grade and for college and a career. It focuses on critical thinking and making connections between reading and writing.

Approximately 50 percent of third through eighth grade students statewide scored in the Meeting or Exceeding Expectations categories on the new test. A higher percentage of students are expected to score meeting expectations or above in the future, since schools and students will become acclimated to the new test’s expectations. The new standards for meeting expectations are more rigorous than the standards for achieving the proficient level were on the old assessment.

Parents can expect to receive their child's scores from their school district in late October or early November. For the complete results from the State Department of Education, click this link.

For more Wareham results, see below.

Meeting or exceeding expectations

Grade 3

Reading: Wareham, 27 percent; state, 47 percent

Mathematics: Wareham, 25 percent; state, 49 percent

Grade 4

English Language Arts: Wareham, 35 percent; state, 48 percent

Mathematics: Wareham, 31 percent; state, 49 percent

Grade 5

English Language Arts: Wareham, 38 percent; state, 49 percent

Mathematics: Wareham, 23 percent; state, 46 percent

Grade 6

English Language Arts: Wareham, 40 percent; state, 51 percent

Mathematics: Wareham, 21 percent; state, 50 percent

Grade 7

English Language Arts: Wareham, 48 percent; state, 50 percent

Mathematics: Wareham, 27 percent; state, 47 percent

Grade 8

English Language Arts: Wareham, 31 percent; state, 49 percent

Mathematics: Wareham, 28 percent; state, 48 percent


Comments (10)
Posted by: bob | Oct 18, 2017 15:10

Boy,that sure doesn't make it look good for a family that might be looking to move here that have children....

Posted by: Doctor Deekas | Oct 18, 2017 15:10

If grades 3-8 aren't working up to standards, I can't imagine how the I.B. diploma program is going to work at the high school. We clearly have almost 50% of our students below standards and these grades are the 'feeder program' to the high school. This is a reflection of both the administration and the staff, more than the students. The job is not getting done!

Posted by: FrustratedinWW | Oct 18, 2017 15:54

I cringe every time this time of year in anticipation of the stories and the comments that this particular subject prompts.


With all due respect Doc, if the entire school was failing I would agree with you about the teachers not doing their job.  But the results clearly show that the staff and admin IS doing their job.  What these results DONT capture are the situations from which a good deal of these children falling below the expectations are coming from.

What it also isn't capturing is the fact that this was the first year for these tests being done on computers and from what I understand there was some glitches with the server connections.

In addition to all that is stated above, really, the fact that ONE test is being used to measure the knowledge or growth of so many children AND the competence of teachers is simply ludicrous.

There are way way too many variables to consider with these scores than just what is shown here.







Posted by: FrustratedinWW | Oct 18, 2017 15:58

And Doc...I will concede about the job not getting done....but it's not on the teachers or admin but more the parents.  Seems a good deal of "parents" don't feel the need to parent too much.  Maybe instead of blaming teachers we need to be asking what some (not all) can be doing.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Oct 18, 2017 19:52

Time to stop playing around with non core programs and classes and time to get to nothing but reedin, rightin an rithmatic.


Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Oct 18, 2017 20:09

My experience with our schools has exceeded my expectations. The teachers and admin are fine in my opinion. I've heard the naysayers bash Wareham schools and the teachers for years but they are wrong.  You all know I'd be the first one to jump on that bandwagon if it was true; but I have seen for myself that there is nothing wrong with the teachers.  They care and do the best job that they can given the students that they must teach.


The problem can nicely be described using two of my favorite idioms.  The first is that one can lead a horse to water but cannot make it drink.  The second is that the apples do not fall too far from the tree.


Where am I going with this?  Here goes: Unfortunately many kids got dealt a really bad hand in life because they are born into less than ideal family situations around here. Week after week we see all the ridiculous news that happens in our town. Take for example the most recent winner from Sunday night. While 47 year old Danye Thomas was getting beat up and arrested for drugs in front of Shenanigans, his kids were missing their dad and could have really used some help with their homework.  Get what I'm saying?  The examples are endless.  Every Warehamy piece of garbage that we see in here is likely a parent, relative, or in some way has an influence on our children. These kids are doomed from the start if dad is a thug or mom is a heroine addict. School, grades, and MCAS are last things on those kids' minds or their parent's minds.  Sad but true!



Posted by: Peaches0409 | Oct 19, 2017 09:33

WBTS, I couldn't agree more. The schools are just fine. The problem is the demographic. I hate to tell you how many parent / teacher nights and open houses that I have attended and the parents who really need to be there are nowhere to be found.

Stop blaming the schools, teachers, administration and anyone else you can point the finger at. The real problem lies with how many of these poor kids are being raised. #sorrynotsorry

Posted by: Doctor Deekas | Oct 19, 2017 09:55

WBTS and Peaches, I agree with you. But we can't fix the demographics, can we? Can you? So, Wareham 'is what it is'. There are inner city schools that have problems and kids with bad home lives, and they get grants to turn those kids around. This is probably what Wareham needs to pursue. It might be disheartening to say it, but that's where we are at. I blame the administration and teachers because there are far more troubled areas in this country than Wareham, that get grants or have programs in their schools to address how to educate these kids. It is up to our 'leaders' to address these issues, like the troubling MCAS scores, and get the education working in Wareham Public Schools. I can blame the parents as much as you, but that doesn't get the education working in the schools. That's what we pay the tax dollars for.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Oct 19, 2017 11:17

Doc, that's an interesting point. It's hard to swallow the fact that we have an inner city-like situation...but we certainly do. True, they deal with it in actual inner cities, so there's got to be a solution for Wareham.  The teachers and administration are immersed in it everyday, so they must have identified it and brought it to the 'leaders' you speak of. It's no secret. I wonder if the leaders are pursuing anything?

Posted by: greycat | Oct 19, 2017 22:06

Spend more money!  Raise more taxes and fees!  Hire more people!

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