Melrose killed it on the English portion of the PARCC, scoring an 82, in line with Andover and Concord. Math was a bit lower, 68%. The scores are lower across the board than MCAS scores. For example, Andover is usually 90+ % in both English and Math, was was about 80% in both.
So, while there's lots to be disappointed about the system...at least the kids can read!
You know this post wasn't going to get any traction on this website because it speaks positively about the schools but yes, Melrose did extremely well on the PARCC exams especially compared to our neighboring school systems (Wakefield, Stoneham) and the state. The Winthrop elementary school did fantastic across the board. Maybe we should keep PARCC testing after all?
I don't know enough about PARCC to make an informed comment. I'm especially confused by this from the administration: "Students who took the test on a computer and responded to a PARCC survey reported that the test was easier than or the same level of difficulty as their school work." My understanding is that MCAS was considered harder, so I'm not sure why the comparative scores are lower across the board, although they said they expected that. I'm going to have to understand the results much better before making a judgement one way or the other, but I'm not a fan of this type of testing in the first place.
I once tried to do a sample MCAS and struggled mightily with it, but I can't do my grandson's math either, so I don't know how to evaluate it yet. PARCC comes from Common Core if I'm not mistaken, and my belief is that Common Core has caused more problems than it solves, especially in areas like New England. Massachusetts is not Mississippi. Maybe that sounds elitist, but I can't help that. It's going to take a few years to gather enough meaningful data. One "test" test doesn't tell me much.
Please remember folks, that by agreeing with PARCC testing, you are essentially buying into Common Core which the test was developed for. And Common Core was developed by Washington DC bureaucrats and vested interest educational groups. This is all well-known and well documented - Washington wants to control the educational process in the US - and this is how they are beginning the process - first by establishing the curriculum - and buying off support from the states with federal dollars they get from us - then developing test standards based on the curriculum.
The federal government in Washington knows best about your children's needs - that's what they are saying - taking away our rights to make these decisions - look all around and see how well the federal government wastes our money. spending it on useless programs and wasteful efforts. And now you want the government to control the education of our children - how smart is that? Massachusetts has always been at the top of education reform and improvements before Washington stepped in with Common Core. Now we have to go-along, to get along?
Again, if you believe that the bureaucrats from Washington know better than local government about educating our kids - then I have some swamp land in Florida to sell you.
I don't mean to be Debbie downer but our students were taught over and over again like robots for months ( not kidding MONTHS) on how to succeed at test taking for the parcc exam. Robots learning how to take this particular test. Taught less and less well rounded content and more on test taking for this test. They would skip social studies, science and engineering in elementary schools to practice practice practice taking that test. My child this year has already done sheets in class with parcc written at the top. The first week of school this year the teacher talked about parcc.
AND these kids get two hours of math a day and an hour and 45 Minutes of English every single day without fail! That is because their entire student life is teaching to the test and succeeding at it. That is nothing to be proud of. All bc it looks good to score well to perspective buyers and keep us out of hot water with state Ed dept in regard to the accountability built into standardized testing. And this is for our young students too btw people. 7 yr olds getting two hours a day of math! And almost two hours a day of English with mostly writing taking up that chunk. 1% grammar work, if that, at elementary level.
Lastly, Melrose took paper and pencil. It was the last year ( I believe) that we were given that as an option. I believe had it been completely on computer we would not have done as well. The taking of the test on computer came with other issues relating to lack of success. City of Boston as an example I believe did computer based. A comparison with other surrounding districts regarding these details of format used and time spent preparing would have much more value to me personally when looking at results.
My thought is that us doing fairly well on parcc this year may only speak to just how much teaching to the test we did :(.
MCAS is called a content test. Testing content knowledge. In 3rd grade, a math MCAS question would ask "what is 27 divided by 9?". It is a straight question and answer in multiple choice format that this student knows the answer. Period.
Parcc tests common core standards and understanding with needed explanations and any other new vocab word of reform like tests 21st century skills or tests college readiness. ( all bs imo). A math question in third grade on parcc looks like this:
"Cindy is finding the quotient of 27 ÷ 9. She says, 'The answer is 18 because addition is the opposition of division and 9 + 18 = 27.'" The test-taker would then have to explain why Cindy's reasoning is incorrect in the first part of the question, and then explain how she could correct her reasoning and find the quotient in the second part.
An English 3rd grade MCAS question looks like this, "what is the definition of rehearse?". And have multiple choice answers. Or read a passage and might be asked "what is the main idea of the story?". Student has multiple choice answers to pick. Simple content knowledge. Which is a good thing imo. Make sure all 3rd graders have this proficiency of content knowledge as a nice baseline for students.
In the third-grade English parcc exam, test-takers read three short stories, each consisting of about 30 short paragraphs. Some questions are not new in terms of standardized tests – they ask students to define certain words in the story. But subsequent questions go much more in-depth, asking students to identify phrases or clauses in the text that support their answer.
And the kicker...If you get one part wrong of multi-part question then student usually gets all parts wrong with parcc. This is true in math and English portions of parcc with multiple part questions in both subjects.
MCAS is state run. Good thing. Sole control and development. Parcc is copyrighted and not state run so we as a state have no say in anything other than the cut off scores for our state. Each state sets its own cut scores.
Yes, the PARCC test is harder and requires more critical thinking which is why in general, kids across the state did worse on the PARCC test than the MCAS test this year. So kudos to the Melrose kids - it is quite the achievement.
Yesterday the board of elementary and secondary education for the state approved the Next Generation MCAS for the state.
Will replace the MCAS and PARCC.
Read here: www.doe.mass.edu/news
They're saying that it's a mix of the MCAS and PARCC.
Long story short, the old tests are out. The new one is in. Again.
Nice to see Melrose students doing so well on the PARCC. Hopefully a trend that will continue.
I find it frustrating that a new test has to be tackled again so soon after PARCC became the big thing.
This is not Melrose's fault but it stinks for the kids who are lab rats at this point. A middle school aged student will have had 3 different styles of high stakes testing before HS graduation which will have accompanied 3 different classroom priorities and teaching styles.
You only go K-12 once and that's your academic foundation for life so I wish that there could at least be some continuity. Some concept that was essential for MCAS didn't matter for PARCC and now there is a 3rd system that will be taught. Ugh.
"How about our kids don't prepare at all. They show up one day and take a test. Wouldn't that be a more worthy examination for how the school is performing with getting students to retain knowledge? And we would need to eliminate the requirement that a state test be used for individual student performance and opportunities within schools. A state test should not be used as any criteria for students. For example: the test is used as a criteria for students with whether or not they can get into the compacted and accelerated math class for some 'special' 7th graders. We as a society in regard to education have gone way off track on what is good for children, in my opinion. "
Absolutely true. With the hacks and charlatans currently in charge, there is zero respect for actual learning and real education, which is why the good and great teachers (like Dr. Peterson) are leaving the district (forever) and only the bottom-rung teachers are coming into the system (and MPS will be stuck with them for a long time because these are the ones that other districts are rejecting--for good reason!).
How about those miserable middle school math scores? Shows so much about what isn't working and that was easy to predict for those not in the tank who were paying even half attention. That stupid 3rd re-sequencing of the math curriculum clearly is just as bad as the first two!
But watch the MEF mothers (and pols whose pockets they're in) shout down anyone truly knowledgeable (like Gerry Mroz) the next time there is a "forum" about this (like the Dec 3 fake forum the hacks are putting on about "Competency-Based Learning"), only too eager to proclaim their undying and unquestioning support for the hacks (and now talking about organizing a new override effort while they lick their injured egos), even when their darlings are already bringing home plenty of proof of the failed practices.
Sadly, Melrose deserves the miserable school system it now has.
Well only this board can spin top 10 PARCC scores in the state into misery and criticism of the school system. But if anyone can do it, Also Agree can. So good job on that front, it was a difficult task but you managed to throw in your litany of anti-school rants (and a couple of anti-MEF jabs, and another glowing recommendation for GM) into this one thread too. Congratulations.
It is much harder to teach to the PARCC test than the MCAS.
In a recent national poll Massachusetts High School students were just determined to be the brightest in the Country. Standardized testing is nothing more than teaching to the lowest common denominator...MCAS, PARCC, its all the same. Standardized testing needs to go away and the government needs to come to the conclusion that there are just some kids that are smarter than others and they can't all be treated the same. The kids that do lousy on these tests just don't have the grey matter that the kids that do well in them have. Lexington does better than Melrose because on average they have smarter parents who have smarter kids.
You are the one that seems most agitated. The outrage that comes from your posts is palpable.
an extremely strong reaction of anger, shock, or indignation
(especially of a feeling or atmosphere) so intense as to be almost touched or felt.
This is why pre-schools need college graduates, especially in low-income areas. The kids need to be with people who have bigger vocabularies, like the highly educated parents in Lexington. Look at Belmont. It's full of college professors. Their scores are amazing. The kids get great vocabularies.
Translation: Melrose kids aren't too bright.
Yes, perfect...because their parents are morons. Just read this website to get an idea of the level of ignorant parents in Melrose. The apple never falls far from the tree.
Agreed. Just look at the MEF moms and Vote Yes for Melrose crowd who blindly follow their Mayor like lemmings instead of asking some basic questions and digging a little deeper to see how the existing budget is being spent (squandered).
The morons fall on both sides of the override vote aisle...all the parents in Melrose need to walk over to the mirror and ask themselves are their children focused on going to school everyday, challenging themselves, and trying to get the best grades they can. To many kids at the middle school and MHS go through the motions and their parents could care less...until it comes time to assess blame. Plenty of Melrose kids are controlling their own destinies at MHS while plenty of parents sit back and look for excuses to blame anyone and everyone for the fact that their kids are not making the grade. If your kid is in middle school or high school and can't get satisfactory on MCAS thats the families fault, not the schools.
"Concur" appears to be an MHS graduate (or an administrator!) with this poor command of the English language.
"To" many kids... "could care less"... "If your kid is in middle school or high school and can't get satisfactory on MCAS thats the families fault, not the schools."
The spelling and grammar might be a mess, but the point came across and I agree wholeheartedly.
One of the school ranking websites has the Winthrop School listed as top 6th in the state (out of 352 schools):
Wow...I'm impressed! Congrats to those students, teachers and of course, the principal!
We know that Taymore has nothing to do with this good result, since we still have a level 3 school under her leadership.
It is no surprise that Horace Mann is struggling. Isn't that the school where "the boss" retaliates against parents of struggling children for complaining about underperforming teachers and IEPs not being implemented? And isn't that the same subgroup that was blamed by the district for pulling down the scores? Well then, I guess "the boss" deserves another three year contract for implementing the super's well known retaliation policy. Oh, wait....You say a new contract has already been granted by the superintendent??
You miss my point. So it went from absolutely awful to moderately terrible, and did that because of a change in the evaluation criteria. So what? The question is still how did it get that bad in the first place?
Horace Mann School Receives Revised Level 2 Designation after State Review of Performance Data School Exits Level 3 Status After Year of Dedication and Partnerships
MELROSE -- Superintendent Cyndy Taymore is pleased to report that the Horace Mann School, which was designated for Level 3 status after the 2014 MCAS results -- and had been slated to remain at Level 3 after the 2015 Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment -- has been upgraded to Level 2 status following a re-review of the criteria by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
"This revision reflects the extraordinary effort put forward by the entire faculty and staff of the Horace Mann School," Superintendent Taymore said. "We are grateful to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for recognizing this work and allowing the school's ranking to reflect that."
Schools statewide are classified into levels 1 through 5. Those that met their gapnarrowing goals were designated as a level 1 and those that require additional assistance were placed in levels 3, 4, and 5. Looking broadly, this has been an excellent year for Melrose Public Schools.
In a letter to Superintendent Taymore, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education clarified the findings, saying: "This fall we received an appeal from another district on behalf of its Level 3 focus school that led us to reexamine and revise our focus school exit criteria."
The state's reexamination indicated that the Horace Mann School did indeed meet the criteria for exiting Level 3 status, which has ripple effect benefits across the district.
Superintendent Taymore and Horace Mann Principal Mary Ellen Cobbs specifically would like to highlight the following actions that aided in the school's improvement:
• The school partnered with the North District and School Assistance Center and received grant to hire an Instructional Coach.
• Staff reviewed and modified scheduling practices, improving students' access to the General Education Curriculum, something that was previously earmarked as a concern. • Teachers increased the frequency of math and literacy data meetings for high needs students and faculty and staff met regularly to assess how well students were progressing toward specific benchmarks. This practice has since been duplicated in other Melrose Elementary Schools as a result of its success at Horace Mann. • The school increased the supervision of how well teachers paced students through the year’s expected lesson plans, after the exam results indicated that students in different classrooms were ending the year at earlier points in the curriculum than others. As a result, by the end of the 2014-2015 school year, all teachers completed the curriculum and extra "step up" units that previewed the following years' content. • A school-wide incentive to increase use of online math and literacy programs was initiated, and an after school math club and a before school science club were made available. • The culture of the school has also been changed. In April, a team of teachers began the framework for the new Positive Behavior Intervention System. This includes a commitment to include multiple lessons per month that address issues like empathy, respect, responsibility, bullying and safety.
"These high impact, coordinated efforts that placed us as a Level 2 school would not have been possible without the dedicated teachers and staff who committed themselves to adjusting practices, taking risks, and coming back time and time again to ensure the school is always moving forward," Principal Cobbs said. "I'm so proud of the entire staff and congratulate them on this accomplishment."
The district will participate in PARCC again this year. It is expected that a new exam, MCAS 2.0, will be implemented by the state in 2017.