Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Much Awaited (Practically Demanded) 10th Grade Analysis

A reader has been posting repeatedly their insistence that our failure to include the 2010 MCAS scores for the 10th grade is unfair and because it isn’t in alignment with our needs or ‘thesis’.  We didn’t initially provide the data as we felt that since the results were included in the Annual Report and we gave them credit for the student’s performance in English Language Arts and Math that it wasn’t alarming nor did they constitute as a parent concern.  Alternatively, the Science/Technology MCAS scores were less than impressive both independently and in comparison to the other sending districts. In response to their posting, we did do the analysis which we initially provided within the blog posting and in direct response to their posted comment.  Unfortunately the reader continues to feel as though we have slighted the accomplishments of the students and school. As a result of their ranting we have decided to do as they suggest and are providing an analysis not only of the 10th grade 2010 MCAS results in comparison to the sending districts but to also provide the data for this same classes MCAS scores since 2003.

As you will see, the majority of the students did do well in the English Language Arts (84 of the 88 students) and Math (79 out of 88 students) 2010 MCAS’s. Unfortunately, 4 students did not do so well in English Language Arts (i.e. their scores indicate that their ELA levels ‘Need Improvement’ or that these students are performing below grade level) and 9 students did not do so well in Math (i.e. 8 of the students are performing below grade level and 1 student failed). Yes, lower numbers and percentages than the sending districts but we must make mention that by this time these students have attended school for nearly an entire year more than their counter-parts of sending districts.

The truly unfortunate part of this classes MCAS scores would be the Science and Technology portion. While the ELA and Math scores for MVRCS have fluctuated over the years, MVRCS has pretty consistently scored poorly within this subject matter.  Only 69 % (or 61 out of 88 students) achieved a score of Advanced or Proficient with Melrose (70%), Stoneham (78%), and Wakefield (86%) out-performing MVRCS. These other districts were able to do this with less school time and with more students. The question must then be asked if MVRCS students are excelling within some subject matters at the expense of others.

We then began an analysis of the MCAS scores for the 2010 grade 10 class since 3rd grade (as our reader had suggested). We are including the data that we accumulated and used for our analysis as we found a number of interesting aspects. We must begin by saying that we obtained all of our information from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s website at (DESE MCAS Results). We must state that although the reader who prompted us to begin this analysis insists that the 2010 10th grade class has a combined Advance Proficient and Proficient score of 97% (versus the 96% that we found), we were unable to locate the “new link to the State for the 10th grade they just put up”. What we did find was that for the 2010 year, the 10th grade class did increase the number of students who scored Advance Proficient and Proficient from 69% to 96% between the time this class took their 3rd grade MCAS scores (in 2003 when they were in 3rd grade) and their 10th grade MCAS scores. What we also found interesting for this group was the total number of students who participated each year. Specifically the fact that in 2003, when the class that was in 10th grade during the 2009-2010 school year was in 3rd grade, they had 120 students. Of those students, 83 students (or 69%) scored Proficient in Reading (the DESE did not indicate an Advanced Proficient rating for MVRCS during that year). Interestingly enough the total number of students in that class group declined gradually over the years with only 88 of the original 120 students remaining. It would be our guess that the remaining 32 students of the original 120 were the students that were systematically eliminated or nudged towards the door as they were not performing. The question then remains if MVRCS truly improved their score or simply continued educating those 83 students and allowing the others to fall through the cracks.

Another interesting aspect of this analysis that we feel is worth sharing is that if one looks at the Science scores for this same group of students (the students that made up the 10th grade class during the 2009-2010 school year), they are consistently deplorable. Yes, a rise in scores and students can be seen but we should expect more students to have better scores after having almost an entire extra year of schooling than their counterparts of sending districts. We're not sure we would consider all of these results as 'staying the course' as one has suggested.

The figures in Red represent the English Language Arts and are the % of students who scored Advanced/Advanced Proficient, the High % for the sending district, and the actual number of students. The format remains the same with math displayed in blue and science in green. The last column is the total number of students within that class during that school year.



  1. Someone had made the comment 'Research has shown that gaps between performance levels only increases over time, not decreases' and it seems MVRCS has realized that. They don't try to close the achievement gap by increasing the number of students who are succeeding but just lower the number of students they have in a class size. No great accomplishment shown here, these kids would have done well wherever they went to school.

  2. The class size from 120 down to 88 also resulted in many students leaving after the 8th grade to go on to private high schools.

  3. Hey that is not many students leaving at all. 27% (88/120) over 7 years that is less than 4% per year. No school around here has as few leave per year. How about finding out what the attrition rates are for each of the school district sending students. Malden and Everett are way over 10% a year. All the others are higher as well and if you take the same grades meaning including 8th to 9th MV is way better. So who's chasing kids out of school really? Lets see those numbers UnMV. Integrity Integrity getting better. We shall see if it continues.

  4. Thanks for the numbers: So now linem up.

    Reading 2003 3rd grade 69 Advanced/Proficient
    Reading 2010 3rd grade 71 Advanced/Proficient
    Math 2003 4th grade 45 Advanced Proficient
    Math 2010 4th grade 46 Advanced Proficient.
    Massive Improvement from 3rd through last years 10th. Last years 3rd grade and 4th grade was better than our top scoring 10th grade when they were in 3rd. Rest my case school getting better. Now show 10th comparision for class 2005-2009. Guess what same huge improvements. MV absolutely best school if you want improvement for your kids.

  5. To Anonymous @ Janu 19th 8:18
    Your figures don't take into consideration that some kids left and were replaced with students (hopefully) from the waitlist. The fact that Malden and Everett may have more is irrelevant as they aren't always leaving because of the same reasons. Funny you speak of integrity on our part and sincerely hope that you are demanding the same from them. We know we'd certainly like to see more integrity on THEIR part.

  6. To Anonymous @ Jan 19 8:23PM
    Interesting that you only speak to Math and Reading. Take you don't feel Science/Technology should be a priority or is just because MV can't perform within that subject matter? Comparisons are great to a point but we'd like to see consistently high numbers in all grade levels and in all subject matters. The math numbers are still showing that less than 50% of MV 4th graders are performing at or above state standards grade level. Those numbers also need to improve. If you look at the 2004 3rd grade scores compared to the 2009 8th grade scores, they originally had 74 students working at or above grade level. That number only increased to 82 students by 8th grade. What about other 11 kids - will they still be there for their 10th grade MCAS? MV still isn't reaching all students as their original Mission statement aimed for.

  7. School doesn't take kids after 5th grade and fewer leave in elementary so you know the attrition is very low admit it. You know you have done the research by now. Back track again. MV 10th graders make the grade all able to graduate for years cant say the same for any others and you know that to. Science is important but MV is right with Melrose and statistically ahead in 10th grade reading and math. Get one of your math buddies to validate.

  8. MV math program doesn't fit into the new new math programs of today and thus there is much drilling of facts early on. Can't think critically about things you don't know cold when you are older. MV is slow but steady with Saxon and same with method on English Language and reading. End proves which methods work best. Your post of 10th grade MCAS and SAT scores shows statistically superior results get a math person to help you. Thanks for posting some of us parents can think critically like you too. Imagine that. Some of us actually may have better math skills than you.

  9. As long as Marty Gately works for the school they will never have any "integrity". It is a slap in the face to the faculty, parents and most importantly, the students. If you think it is ok for him to be here in his position at our school, you are just as morally twisted. I want to hear Andrew25 defend this guy.

  10. Yes, MV is doing some things well but again, no consistency, science is an issue, and one must remember that the successes we are seeing on based on the smaller class sizes. It also still doesn't address the corruption, mismanagement, and fact that the school is failing their special educations students miserably. We know they can do some things well otherwise our own children wouldn't still be there. The difference between you and us is that we are unwilling to settle for low Science scores, inconsistency, and all the other BS that is going on. Just as you expected integrity from us, we expect integrity from the trustees and administration.

  11. The only BS going on is right here on this blog. Filled with lies and half truths to distort and harm this school. The class sizes are actually as predicted with its super low attrition rate. Yea and mismanagement that has this school flush with cash and buying when the market is down. Oh and everyone else around is talking cutting are you paying attention. The problem the school faces is that its a threat to all the others around it. If your kids can read, write and do math well the world is open to whatever they wish to study and that is the bottom line.

  12. Funny, every time we make a valid point (or points) the attacks start that we are out to harm the school or your favorite (Anonymous @ Jan 20th 9:39), that we are associated with the union. Neither of which is true. Super low attrition rate? How many students were in the last 2 years graduating class? Somewhere in the 30's and 40's? As for the mismanagement issue and buying when the market is down, many parents send their children to MVRCS for the academics NOT for it to be run as a money making business nor athletic focused school. Building an athletic facility rather than making educational facilities a major priority is an injustice to the students in the lower school. MVRCS has it's cuts too, they just keep them under wraps as they are usually clouded by some wrong-doing or teachers dissatisfaction with being treated like monkeys. As for the kids writing, lets not forget that the school doesn't have a strong writing program and very little creative, edited, crafted writing takes place. Finally, let's not forget all the money being wasted on employing the friends and family members club that SHOULD be being used for the students.

  13. An interesting quote by educational researcher Diane Ravitch:
    “Our schools should have a well-rounded curriculum that includes the arts, history, science, geography, literature and foreign languages, as well as basic skills. Teachers should be well-educated and treated with dignity. Principals should be head teachers, who can capably evaluate and assist their teachers. School buildings should be well-maintained. Class sizes should be reasonable, making it possible for teachers to give extra attention to students who need it. Schools should have a firm and fair disciplinary code."

    FYI - Diane Ravitch is Research Professor of Education at New York University and a historian of education. In addition, she is a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.