Wareham MCAS scores below state averages

By Matthew Bernat | Sep 27, 2016

Monday’s release of Spring 2016 MCAS test scores showed Wareham Public School District students are behind in some academic categories while officials attempt to shed the districts low performing status.

Last year, Wareham High School lost it’s designation as a Level 1 school, which meant students were no longer meeting state-mandated performance goals. The high school, along with the middle school, are considered Level 3 schools by the state and are among the lowest performing 20 percent of similar schools.

MCAS results are categorized by different achievement levels: proficient or higher, advanced, proficient, needs improvement and warning/failing. Students in grades five, eight and 10 are administered the test, which quizzes them on English, mathematics and science.

Grade 10 science scores revealed a wide gap between Wareham scores and the state average as 45 percent of local students scored proficient or higher, compared to the state’s 73 percent. In the same subject, students scored 8 percent in the advanced category against the state’s 29 percent. Forty-six percent of students were scored in the needs improvement category compared to the state's 21 percent average.

Grade 10 mathematics scores weren’t as disparate, but still behind state averages. Sixty-eight percent of students scored proficient or higher compared to the state’s 78 percent. In the advanced category, 40 percent of Wareham students scored while the state average was 54 percent. Under needs improvement, 21 percent of Wareham students earned that designation compared to 15 percent for the state.

Grade five science scores showed promise as students bested the state’s 47 percent in the proficient or higher category with a 49 percent score. Students were close to state averages in the other categories as well: 14 percent to the state’s 16 percent (advanced), 36 percent to the state’s 31 percent (proficient), 34 percent to the state’s 38 percent (needs improvement) and 16 percent to the state’s 14 percent (warning/failing).

Students did not fare well on the state’s Cumulative Progress and Performance Index. The index combines information about narrowing proficiency gaps, growth, and graduation and dropout rates over the most recent four-year period into a single number between 0 and 100.

Schools should score 75, but Wareham students overall scored 44.

For the complete results from the State Department of Education, visit the department's website.

Comments (17)
Posted by: Chaka | Sep 27, 2016 18:51

The schools try very hard, but it has become too big a tiger to tame. How about if people receiving benefits, who dont have to work, who have some love in their hearts and want to give back, tutor and mentor some neighborhood kids. Clearly one out of two needs some real help here.

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Sep 28, 2016 09:59

Matthew - perhaps you'll do a follow up article, with comments from school administrators?

Posted by: bob | Sep 28, 2016 16:19

Well,my vote on Question 2,for Charter School Expansion will now be cast a YES VOTE...

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Sep 28, 2016 16:43

The teachers and staff in the school system do try very hard.  It's not that.  It is the kids.  Many of the remaining Wareham kids don't want to do well or they can't do well due to learning disabilities.  It is a shame but it is true.  I say remaining because many Wareham kids have left or never attended Wareham schools.  Many go to private, Upper Cape, charter, or school of choice.  It is a bad situation.  I can't even call it a vicious cycle because that implies it will get better.  How can it get better if everybody knows they must avoid Wareham Schools?  Before all the options, the "rich" kids went to private and the others simply stayed in public.  A lot of the others that stayed in public were smart or didn't have learning disabilities.  They kept the scores up and made Wareham Public a decent average place to go.  Now the others have options.  They don't need to be rich to go charter or school of choice.  There you have it.  Those are the facts.  It is a sad situation that really won't get better with things the way that they are.          

Posted by: sadie | Sep 28, 2016 21:19

I hope someone starts a charter school in Wareham so parents have another option to send their children.

Posted by: barnstorm | Sep 29, 2016 07:15

Yes on Question 2

Posted by: Knocked for six | Sep 29, 2016 08:39

Blame the kids for the teachers and administrators inability to provide a proper education. What a crock!!!

Posted by: Peaches0409 | Sep 29, 2016 09:04

Wareham by the sea your statement makes it very clear to me that you in fact no NOTHING about the school system. Before you go spouting your nonsense why don't you take in a few school committee meetings. Your so called "facts" are a bunch of garbage. The ignorance of these posts....SMH

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Sep 29, 2016 11:27

I am so glad that I graduated from high school before the MCAS tests came into existence. Some kids test well; some don't. For those who don't, it's not always due to classroom experience and level of achievement. Individual reactions to stress that rises out of dread can have quite an impact. Can't imagine taking MCAS tests with a pounding headache or upset stomach.


I also can't imagine the degree to which concerns over MCAS performance must impact the planning and presentation of material to students.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Sep 29, 2016 17:58



Sorry to have struck a nerve.  I certainly know more than the “NOTHING” that you gave me credit for.  Thanks.  What I said comes from information that I have gathered by listening to many kids and their parents.  It comes from what I have read and heard since the 1980s.  I’m not just making it up.  It also is based on my own interpretation of all that.  That may be what you find fault with.  Maybe I didn’t write it as eloquently or statistically accurate as I should have.  Maybe you discredit me because I like to poke fun at Wareham’s underbelly.  I’ve defended that in the past as me being facetious out of frustration because I love Wareham. There is plenty of merit in my points.  Read between the lines if you don’t like how I stated it.     


You suggest I should attend school committee meetings.  Maybe I already have.  That is not the issue here.  Your suggestion leads me to believe that you attend them and that you are involved with the school system in some way.  That is probably why you found fault.  My perspective needs to be considered.  The blind supporters need to get their heads out of the sand.  Wareham Schools are in trouble and there is an exodus going on!  Even worse,  many Wareham kids have never attended the public schools in this town because of the reputation.  Could the well-known bad reputation be nothing but a rumor?  If so, I am truly a fool for believing it and I apologize.    


Here’s a little story:  I am the proud parent of two wonderful school-aged Wareham kids.  They are very active and involved with many extra-curricular activities.  Over the years, I have met many other Wareham kids and their parents through soccer, scouts, church, karate, baseball, YMCA, birthday parties, the beach and just playing in the neighborhood.  Conversations typically are centered around kids and school.  I am amazed at how many of them live here but do not go to school in Wareham.  I typically hear about Upper Cape, Bishop Stang, St. Margaret’s, charter in Sandwich, charter in Bourne, charters in general, home-schooling, St. Josephs, Old Rochester, and more.  The ensuing conversations are how I’ve learned why kids don’t go to school in Wareham.  I ask tons of questions because it is interesting.  The reasons are shocking.  Maybe the “school committee” needs to interview some of those parents.  It’s hard to have good MCAS scores and have a good balance of students if many academically strong ones don’t go to school here!  How can I be wrong with that conclusion?


One more story:  We’ve been talking academics.  Here’s something related about athletics.  I can't back this one up with too much fact but it is at least interesting.  I recently spoke to a coach about Wareham kids that don’t go to school in Wareham.  He told me that the problem is so bad that the athletic talent that leaves Wareham ends up kicking our butt when they play against us.  How bad is that?  True story!  He spoke of specific kids that were awesome when they played in Wareham when they were young.  Then they come back on varsity for another school and spank us.  Now that’s embarrassing!


Again, sorry if I offended you.  If you don’t like or agree with everything I said, try to see at least some merit in it.          

Posted by: Knocked for six | Sep 30, 2016 19:53


Posted by: Brennan McKiernan | Oct 01, 2016 01:14

I'm not sold on charter schools yet. They seem like a good idea but they lack the oversight to make sure they are using public funds correctly. I know it's a comedy show, but "last week tonight" with John Oliver did a segment on charter schools.  It didn't mention Massachusetts specifically but pointed out the abuses that have, and could happen. Our school is in serious trouble.  I'm sure there will be a reasonable excuse or explanation to show things aren't that bad,  but even so our reputation is in shambles. Every kid in 9-12 just got a "free" computer and still they don't want to come. I don't think it's the kids fault. I don't think it's the teachers fault. It doesn't matter who we blame we just need to fix it

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Oct 01, 2016 14:23

Every kid?  Free computer?!?!  Are you sure?  How are they going to manage that? How many will be stolen and misused by those that don't know how to appreciate?

Posted by: Peaches0409 | Oct 01, 2016 16:01

Yes, every kid. I can see how "involved" you are seeing as you didn't know. They had to go with a parent to pick it up and sign a contract. They have the option to purchase it at a lower cost after they finish school.

By the way, I am not involved as you assumed with the schools in any other way than that of a concerned citizen and parent whose kids have attended every one  of their school years in WPS. I have a daughter that will graduate from college magna cum laude this year so I guess WPS didn't do too bad of a job.

WPS have a reputation that I don't understand. Of course those who don't have a clue will continue to denigrate the system without really knowing the facts.  Go study the MCAS website and look at the amount of high needs and special ed kids are taking the MCAS and factoring into the towns scores. That is why the scores are down, not because the schools aren't doing their job.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Oct 03, 2016 11:57

Peaches, we are not as far apart as you think.  I'm just a concerned citizen too.  I know that plenty of outstanding students have come through WPS.  Unfortunately there is an element that doesn't want to learn or can't learn.  Also, I never criticized the teachers or staff.  They try hard and do their best.  Congratulations on your daughter.  That is impressive!  I am involved but not up to date with everything like the computers.  That is a wonderful concept.  It is great for the responsible students from responsible families.  In most cases it is great.  The "contract" isn't worth the paper it is printed on if one of our transient family up and leaves town with the computer.  Or if it gets stolen and the family doesn't have the cash to replace it.  But I'm not going to dwell on the negative possibilities here. 


WPS certainly have a reputation that I don't understand either.  But it is well known all over South Coast and especially South Shore.  I could buy that Volvo if I had a dollar for every time I heard "you aren't sending your kids to Wareham, are you?".  Where does that come from?  Been hearing it for years.  Even long before I had kids.  Bad reputations are hard to shake, I guess.         

Posted by: Peaches0409 | Oct 03, 2016 14:48

Just an FYI the students /families were offered very reasonable insurance on the computers.

Posted by: WantToSeeChange | Oct 03, 2016 19:40

Insurance?  We were told "sign here", grabbed the computer and left.  No word of any insurance.  Pushed through like a bunch of cattle.

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