Thursday, January 13, 2011

MCAS Analysis Thoughts

After analyzing and re-analyzing the MCAS scores that we published over the past few days we have some thoughts and feedback.As part of our analysis and review we took a look at the 2009-2010 Annual Report to see how MVRCS felt they compared to sending districts for the prior years MCAS scores (we provided 2010 scores whereas the Annual Report deals specifically with 2009 MCAS scores). Beyond the difference in testing years, it is worth noting that MVRCS does its analysis by districts while we provided scores for individual schools within each sending district. In the 2009-2010 report, MVRCS claims to have met their goals of having test scores 19-32% higher than the test scores for the sending districts (although they come to this conclusion using 'weighted composite averages' rather than just district scores). We found the whole thing unnecessarily complex, confusing and a great smoke screen to make them appear superior to sending districts. One  goal we found particularly interesting was the one that spoke to MVRCS making adequate yearly progress every year....but ONLY in certain subgroups. Our reason for pointing this out is that numbers aside, MVRCS apparently doesn't consider Special Education students to be (statistically) significant as that group did not make AYP. Unlike MVRCS's analysis we didn't take into consideration the number of students that came from a sending district (weighted composite averages) nor did we look at the districts as a whole but rather at individual schools within each district.
Our main feeling towards the MCAS scores that we recently published was pure disappointment as MVRCS didn't do nearly as well as some of the other schools of its sending districts. In a few instances schools within Melrose, Stoneham, or Wakefield score lower than MVRCS but most of those instances the percentages were close. With the exception of Science, MVRCS did do comparatively well in the higher grades but we found the scores for the lower grades to be quite alarming. As for the upper grades, MVRCS students did not perform well on the Science but it should be noted that none of the districts fared any better (the high % was Wakefield and MVRCS with both scoring 45% of their students performing at or above grade level). We were incredibly disappointed and alarmed that only 50% of the 5th graders at MVRCS are reading at or above grade level. Additionally only 48% of these same students are at or above grade level in Math and 35% in Science. That means that more than 50% or more of the current 6th graders were below the state standards for 5th grade last year. In thinking back to the recruitment ad that MVRCS took out in Malden last October, we think they may have been too quick to put Malden down and toot their own horn. The 4th grade class last year did equally as poorly with 46% performing at or above grade level in English and 51% in Math. Again that leaves approximately 50% performing below state standards grade level. The 3rd graders last year did slightly better but were once again below most Stoneham, Wakefield and Melrose schools.
The scores from last year show an improvement over the 2008 and 2009 MCAS scores and in line with 2007 scores. We're not sure what this means besides the schools inability to maintain consistently acceptable MCAS scores.We'll also be interested in seeing how these scores are disguised and discussed within the next MVRCS Annual Report. The different test scores can be found on our website and/or at the DESE website using the links below.


  1. It would be nice if there was an area for a parent to ask a question not related to the topics you have already addressed, or are being addressed.

    Is it true that 8th grade girls are segregated from boys in math classes? And what would the reasoning for this be?

  2. I said it before and I'll say it again, I don't know why any parents of Stoneham, Melrose, or Wakefield send their kids to MVRCS. The other districts did better, the day and school year shorter, and the kids do better AND get to act like kids!

  3. To Anonymous @ January 14th 8:36AM
    We welcome any questions you may have. Feel free to email us or post them under the most recent posting and we will address in an appropriate manner.
    As for the question of boys and girls being segregated in 8th grade for math classes, it may be that they have (or had) begun allowing students to choose which books they would like to read for English and it resulted in the boys and the girls being segregated. Since they form groups that typically stay together for both English and Math, it may have been as a result of the choices the students made. This is just our thoughts, we don't have any facts or direct information but will look into it further.

  4. As a side note, anyone who would like to send us a question, topic, or information without revealing their identity can go to and send it anonymously. It doesn't require the sender to reveal their identity.

  5. We've also created a forum to further promote discussions between not just ourselves and other parents but between parents themselves. It can be found at

  6. Hey funny where are the 10th grade comparisons? Not here? Wonder why? MV always says they look at the growth of the students and focus on getting kids to be best by 10th grade. How are those scores compared to other Districts last year? I will look around some more for that all important comparison must be there. Can you tell us how last years 10th graders did in 3rd grade reading? Then we can see the growth and figure how to compare this years 3rd grade with them. Bet we never see those.

  7. Where is 10th Grade?

  8. We have the 10th grade comparisons but didn't include them as MVRCS had done their own analysis of them in the Annual Report. Yes, MVRCS did slightly better than Melrose, Stoneham and Wakefield in Reading and Math but in Science they didn't do nearly as well as they should have. Would you like us to post those as well or just the reading and math?

  9. The 2010 10th Grade scores in Reading (as requested. Great job here - too bad the lower grades aren't doing as well. Should we wait until they are ALL in 10th grade to see if MVRCS can maintain these scores and the kids will just magically? Let's not forget by the time they reach 10th grade, the low performing kids have been systematically eliminated. Maybe we should do a sub-group analysis that includes those Special Ed students too.
    Everett 67
    Malden 74
    Medford 82
    Wakefield 83
    Stoneham 86
    Melrose 89
    MVRCS 96

  10. Math scores for 10th grade 2010...again MVRCS students did well.
    Everett 56
    Malden 69
    Medford 76
    Wakefield 80
    Melrose 81
    Stoneham 83
    MVRCS 90

  11. And then we have Science & Technology but who needs them going forward? Is this where the Board and Admin wanted this group to end up?

    Everett 38
    Malden 57
    Medford 61
    MVRCS 69
    Melrose 70
    Stoneham 78
    Wakefield 86

  12. Can you post how that class(2010 10th grade) scored in Reading and Math in Comparision to those Districts the first time they took the tests? You did all the other research you must have done that too. 3rd Grade would have been 2003. Then we can see where they were in comparison to this years 3rd grade class. Then we can see how the school brings kids along which is what they always say they do. Can't tell unless we see those scores.

  13. No, we didn't do the research on that and nor will we. Number one, it is truly just an indicator of how well the school do with systematic elimination of under-performing students (get out the ones that don't perform well). Research has shown that gaps between performance levels only increases over time, not decreases. Number two is how many parents are willing to gamble that the school will be able to repeat what they did with 2-3 groups of students. The numbers show inconsistency and declining scores. Should we all just sit back and 'HOPE' that the younger kids (that aren't systematically eliminated) do well over the next 7 years? Or should we start counting the retentions that MVRCS has in comparison to other districts. Keeping a kid back 3 times? Really.

  14. Hey did you know that three kids from the MVRCS class of 2010 were accepted into and now attend Harvard. One graduated from MV the other two left after 8th grade got scholarships to other private High Schools. Those two who left are they the ones you say are being weeded out?

  15. Hey did you know that most schools have at least 1-2 kids (and some many more) that are accepted into Ivy League schools? No, the two who left are NOT the ones being weeded out. But you know that, don't you?
    Do we have the schools own Mr. PR guy trying to battle with us again? Love your propaganda but maybe we should look at the real data.

  16. How many years of success would be good in 10th grade? 5? Why don't you show the last 5 10th grade tests compared with where they were in 3rd grade. Then show where this 3rd grade is and the last five. What you will see is very consistent meaning by 10th grade because this school stays the course students will succeed. Now to show integrity why don't you put a link to the 10th grade scores above like you did with all the other grades.

  17. Don't know if what you say about acceptances are true but with a starting class of 120 those other schools classes are at least 3 times as big and none around here have 3 at Harvard.

  18. No not Mr PR. Believe it or not some of us regular parents at MVRCS actually can think and research ourselves and think its important that people get the whole truth. One thing I remember at the beginning of this school is the Teachers Union asking are you willing to "gamble" with your kids education. As if sending them to the regular public school isn't gambling. Funny how you are using the same phrase makes one wonder.

  19. Could you do me a favor? Try to include all this "analysis" and your "thoughts" in your childs college applications...And wish them luck in there endeavors at Aba Dabba prep.

  20. to poster at 9:25 AM

    The MVRCS Class of 2010 does not consist of the two students who left the school in the 8th grade. I don't understand your reasoning. These gifted students would go on to Harvard no matter where they started school.

    Building an athletic complex is not going to sway these gifted students to stay at MVRCS.

  21. Re: Jan 17 @ 9:36 - As far as other colleges around here (i.e. sending districts) go, yes, other districts have 3 or more kids from various graduating classes attending Harvard and/or some other Ivy League school. AND, that's NOT counting the kids who attend district schools until HS and then transfer to private HS (as you are trying to count).
    More importantly, the kids that did this (and all the kids that do well regardless of what college they decide to attend) have made these accomplishments as a result of their hard work and dedication - NOT as a result of the corruption, mismanagement, or efforts of the school. Remember, MVRCS can't educate ALL of their students to that without the students having the dedication.

  22. Re jan 17 @ 9:40
    Happy to see other parents on here and sharing their thoughts - even when they differ from our own. Welcome.
    As to your allegation or suggestion that we have anything to do with Unions, we can assure you, we do not. We actually have nor want anything to do with any union or anything else that attempts to keep non-worthy teachers at any school. We just think that things are not going well at MVRCS and that the attitude, approaches, and practices are not where they should be or were at one time. We see too much inconsistency, poor management, and actions that are not aligned with the original mission statement and/or purpose of the charter school. Trust us, we are NOT union.

  23. To Anonymous @ January 17th @ 9:32AM
    With the past years 10th grade MCAS results it is wonderful that they have done well (and we are taking your word on this as we haven’t analyzed each year in comparison to other sending districts. We would expect them to all factors considered.
    Unfortunately, our analysis DOES show that although MVRCS does do well at times and in some subject matters, it is not consistent and with the larger classes or groups of students nor have we seen any indication of outstanding performance in the Science/Technology tests. While we feel that reading and math are important, so too is Science and Technology.
    From the scores that we have analyzed we don’t see MVRCS staying the course, we see volatility, inconstancies, and the school being able to succeed with some students and eliminating others. As for integrity regarding the data, we have given credit to MVRCS for their achievements regarding the 10th grade (as have they) and we have provided the data along with links for parents looking to view the data. Should we expect MVRCS to have integrity as well? Should we expect them to give actual numbers and not convoluted numbers masked in a smoke screen that show them performing below some of the sending districts in MCAS? Or better yet to admit when they make an error or can’t do something (such as provide that first class education to all students that they included within their mission statement)? Yeah, that’ll be the day.