As I have mentioned before, all students at Lane will be taking the PARCC test instead of MCAS this Spring. The PARCC will test ELA and Math. Throughout the upcoming months, I will update you on what we expect the test will be like. But keep in mind, this is the first year of the test, thus there are still many unknowns. One thing we do know for sure is that our students are taking the pencil/paper version of the test (many schools in Massachusetts, including JGMS, are taking the online version). For this post, I want to focus on one of most challenging ELA Learning Expectations for Gr 3:
“Compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic”(ELA Standard Gr 3).
What might this look like for grade 3? See the two links below which show two reading passages. After reading the passages, look at the question below in red. Your reaction may be “wow this is difficult” or “this seems reasonable.” Either way, we are working hard to make sure our students can demonstrate proficiency for this high-level skill. Let me know what you think.
This year, students in grades 3-5 will be taking the PARCC exam instead of MCAS. Although there are some unknowns about the test, there are a few things we are confident will appear on the Math part of the PARCC in the Spring. One of the characteristics of the PARCC will be questions which ask the students to transfer their math knowledge to demonstrate understanding. In simple terms, this mean there will not be a lot of straight computation, like this:
Instead, students will need to use the skill of adding or multiplying numbers in combination with their mathematical knowledge to solve a multi-step problem.Why multi-step? Because most problems in life require more than just one step to solve. Our goal at Lane is to prepare students for their future. This means making sure they are equipped with the skills, habits and understanding to solve “real life” math problems. This is a short video I put together to give you a better sense of what to expect.
MCAS scores will be arriving in the mail this week. Please view the video below if you need help understanding the scores you receive. Grade 4 and 5 do have growth scores, whereas Grade 3 does not since it is their first year taking the state test.
As we reach the half way point of our MCAS testing (still have math and some science in May), it is important for all of us (me included) to put MCAS in perspective. I think most would agree that the following attributes are things we want for all our students.
creativity, critical thinking, resilience, motivation, persistence, curiosity, endurance, reliability, enthusiasm, empathy, self-awareness, self-discipline, leadership, civic-mindedness, courage, compassion, resourcefulness, sense of beauty, sense of wonder, honesty, integrity
But. . .none of these are tested on the MCAS. Don’t get me wrong- I think there is a place for a state test in education. But lets not lose sight of what the MCAS doesn’t test.
The short video below will help you better understand the MCAS scores you received in the mail recently. Please do not hesitate to ask for any help in understanding the results. (Its best to enlarge the video to see it better.)
The MCAS scores have been released and we are pleased with the results. Overall, 79% of our students were proficient in English Language Arts (ELA) and 76% were proficient in Math. You can see the history of our MCAS scores, as well as the grade by grade breakdown at the Dept of Education site.
Lets face it, lots of people are interested in MCAS scores, even though I would argue the scores by themselves don’t define success. Nonetheless, like keeping track of the standings in sports, it is interesting to compare towns.
Several years ago Bedford identified eleven other towns that were similar, in order to gauge how well we were doing as a school district. The towns are: Burlington, Duxbury, Lexington, Lynnfield, Medfield, Medway, Norwell, Swampscott, Wayland, Weston, and Westwood. All of these towns have excellent schools, just like Bedford.
Here is how our students did in comparison to the others (1st place being highest scores, 12th place being lowest) for 2008 scores
Grade 3 ELA- 9th place
Grade 3 MATH- 8th place
Grade 4 ELA- 8th place
Grade 4 MATH- 6th place
Grade 5 ELA- 5th place
Grade 5 MATH- 4th place
How did we do compared to all Massachusetts schools?