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.
Here is one of the questions our students would need to answer:
You have read two texts about famous people in American history who solved a problem by working to make a change.
Write an article for your school newspaper describing how Eliza and Carver faced challenges to change something in America.
• In your article, be sure to describe in detail why some solutions they tried worked and others did not work.
• Tell how the challenges each one faced were the same and how they were different
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.
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?
3rd Grade Reading top 15%
3rd Grade Math top 25%
4th Grade English top 16%
4th Grade Math top 17%
5th Grade English top 10%
5th Grade Math top 11%
5th Science top 19%