Saturday, April 20, 2024

Results of the year’s MCAS standardized test were mixed, Cambridge Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Young said, giving the edge to “areas of substantial growth.”

The district as a whole made Adequate Yearly Progress in English language arts and math as required by the federal No Child Left Behind law, as well as gains at different grade levels for low-income and special-needs students and students of color, Young said.

But the district missed Adequate Yearly Progress for all subgroups of students in English language arts or math, and there were significant gaps between the highest- and lowest-performing student groups.

“I’m proud of our students and staff, and congratulate our schools on our MCAS successes, particularly in math,” Young said. “But we have to keep pushing hard to close our achievement gaps and bring all Cambridge students to the highest levels of performance. We’ve made progress, but the gaps are persistent and unacceptable to all of us in the Cambridge Public Schools and the Cambridge community.”

“We have several key strategies in place to attack this problem in new ways this year,” he said.

Still, in those subgroups, percentages of Cambridge low-income, Hispanic and white students scoring proficient and advanced outpaced those of the state in English language arts and math, as did the percentage of black students scoring proficient and advanced in math. Low-income students made the greatest gains compared with last year, an increase of 9 percentage points in those scoring proficient and advanced in math.

A press release from the schools’ chief of staff, Lori Likis, focused on other positives:

Results show the clearest gains in math — a focus in recent years — as third-, fifth- and seventh-graders rivaled the state in the percentage scoring as proficient and advanced, and grade 10 students surpassed the state, Young said. Seventy-seven percent of 10th-graders students scored proficient and advanced, a 14 percentage point increase over last year. Cambridge Rindge & Latin School students also made Adequate Yearly Progress for all student subgroups in math. The percentage of students scoring proficient and advanced in each subgroup increased over last year’s levels and surpassed the performance of students in these subgroups across the state.

Sixty-one percent of students at the high school also scored as proficient and advanced in science, an increase of 14 percentage points over last year. These gains were across the board, with substantial increases by students in all subgroups, district figures show.

The district also noted achievements at four elementary schools: Amigos, a K-8 Spanish immersion school, ranked fifth in the state for students scoring as advanced in grade 6 English language arts, with 48 percent, and achieved “high growth” in English language arts compared with peers statewide; the Graham and Parks elementary school ranked fourth for students scoring as advanced in math in grades seven and eight, with 46 percent and 58 percent, respectively, and the school as a whole achieved “high growth” in math; the Martin Luther King Jr. School achieved “high growth” in English language arts, as did the Fletcher Maynard Academy in math.

This post was written from a press release.