English and math test results in the wake of COVID

BROCKTON — A recent national report says students in Massachusetts are struggling in reading and math after years of declining standardized scores — but Brockton Public School officials noted their district may be an outlier in the state, according to condition assessment results.

The Department of Primary and Secondary Education met on Tuesday 25 October to discuss the recent results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress and goals for the 2022-2023 school year. They noted that fourth and eighth graders across the state are losing their grip on subjects like math and reading compared to 2019 results.

“Around the world and across the country, we have seen academic losses caused by the pandemic — Massachusetts is no exception,” said K-12 Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley.

Riley said Massachusetts students led the nation in overall scores according to NAEP results. Yet the changes in learning levels are not surprising since they align with trends noted in the state’s assessment system known as the Massachusetts Comprehensive Rating System better known as MCAS.

“[It] was a great day for us in terms of releasing the NAEP,” said Rob Curtin, DESE Associate Commissioner for the Center for District Support. “But something really important for us to know about Massachusetts…there wasn’t much to learn from the NAEP results that we didn’t already know from MCAS, and that’s really a testament to the quality of our test.”

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He said many states were in a different position than Massachusetts when it came to trying to explain and contextualize the trends described in the national report.

The MCAS the results, released last month, showed mixed signs, department officials said, as math and science scores improved, but English scores fell, far from 2021 markers.

But in Brockton, the public school district sees slightly different trends revealed by MCAS.

“Our 2022 MCAS results demonstrate that the district did not experience significant declines from 2019 – the year before the pandemic hit,” Brockton Public School Superintendent Michael Thomas said in a statement. statement.

Twelve of the 18 participating local schools actually saw improvements and four experienced double-digit growth. Re school subjectsstudents in grades three through eight improved their scores in all areas, particularly English, math and science.

According Brockton Public Schoolsthese changes can be attributed to a 2021 collaboration with DESE when the district revamped its education system by developing a five-year strategic plan, hiring new leaders, and implementing targeted student support.

The 2021-2022 school year saw the inauguration of programs such as “Writing Wednesdays” that foster positive relationships with reading and writing in every classroom in the district.

Additionally, for English language learners, the district’s bilingual department has revamped its curriculum and created multilingual classrooms that provide more flexibility for students.

“We’re optimistic that the changes we’ve put in place since our 2020 district review are leading to improved student outcomes,” Thomas said.

Many of these changes, the district said, were made possible by funds raised through the Student Opportunity Act and the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.

At the state level, Riley set four goals at the Oct. 25 meeting for DESE to help other districts implement similar effective strategies.

Goals include providing support to accelerate student success, diversifying the workforce, cultivating healthy learning environments, and aligning departmental support with a shared academic vision deep learning.

“At DESE, we need to play a more supportive role with our districts,” Riley said. “The stated objectives reflect this thinking.”

These goals, board members hope, will help recover some learning losses caused by the pandemic.

“We still have a ways to go to get to where we were before the pandemic when it came to our students’ performance,” Curtin said of the state and national results.

Thomas agreed, and in September announced a commitment that 90% of Brockton public schools will increase their English and math skills in five years.

“There is still a lot of work to do,” he said.

“I believe in our students, I believe in our staff and I believe in our families. We will do it together.

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