Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Education

October 22, 2013

MCAS rankings misleading, school officials report

District focuses on scores, not standings,

(Continued)

McGrath said the scores are useful as “a way for you to really see how students are measuring inside, in terms of the frameworks, to answer where students are, what kind of staff development, instructional adjustments we need to make.”

But committee member Paula Colby-Clements acknowledged that parents are still going to worry, so the information McGrath provided on the rankings will be useful in discussing the results with them.

“Every year when MCAS comes out, you’ll get emails or people will write to the paper, and they say, `what happened? This dropped a point. That dropped a point,’” Colby-Clements said. “I think it’s important for us to support (the administration) by being able to bring this information back.”

Member Barbara L’Italien, a former state representative, said when she was in the Legislature, she never felt passing the MCAS should be a state requirement for high school graduation.

“Being a good test taker, which is really what MCAS is, isn’t a predictor and indicator of what kind of person you’ll be and how you’ll fare in life,” she said.

On the other hand, she said, “people like to monitor the numbers.

“There’s always going to be that push and pull,” L’Italien said. “It’s a reality we have to put into perspective.”

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