First the good news:
At the district level, the Truro Central School saw a growth of 37 percentage points in their 2013 Grade 3 MCAS Reading scores and grew by 35 points in Math. Wellfleet grew by 18 points on Reading and 23 points on Math. Chatham increased by 14 points in Reading and 8 points in Math.
On the Other Side of the Column:
Orleans Elementary School’s third grade Reading scores dropped 20 percentage points. 71% of OES’s students scored advanced or proficient on this year’s test, as opposed to 91% in 2012. OES lost 13 points in 2013 grade 3 Math versus last year. On the positive side, not a single OES student outright failed the Reading test though 29% of their children scored needs improvement. Orleans’ Math scores fell by 13 points from 2012.
Wellfleet Elementary School leads the Cape in Grade 3 Reading, with 88% of its students scoring advanced or proficient, an increase of 18 points from 2012. Eastham holds second place at 78%, down 6 points from last year.
The performance was observed at Dennis-Yarmouth where only 49% of the students scored advanced/proficient. DY had the highest number of failures at 12%.
Mashpee also embarrassed itself with 44% of its students scoring needs improvement or warning/failure. Sandwich had a surprising 40% of its third graders scoring in that same low category.
Wellfleet parents should be proud. 92% of their third graders score advance/proficient on the Grade 3 Math MCAS, leading the Cape. No Wellfleet child failed the test. Orleans came in second at 79% and Brewster at 75%.
The poorest math scores among third graders were in Truro, where a whopping 43% of the kids failed the test and 27% scored needs improvement. 39% of the third graders at Barnstable Community Horace Mann Charter scored needs improvement or warning/failure. Dennis-Yarmouth came in third with 37% in the lower two scoring categories.
Reading is Crucial
In a study published in 2010 by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University, the author cites a study that found “74 percent of third-graders who read poorly are still struggling in ninth grade”.
With the Annenberg study in mind, a quick look down the NI+Fail column tells us that, on the average, Cape towns are looking at 32.9% of their third graders who do not read well. This is a number that could continue to vex our school districts for a decade if administrators do not work hard to improve the weak readers among their students.
A Bright Moment at HyWest
While we usually do not focus on individual schools in our initial articles on MCAS scores, we are pleased to make an exception for Hyannis West Elementary School.
In 2013 52% of Hyannis West’s students score advanced/proficient on the MCAS third grade reading test. That number is down 6 percentage points from last year but the number of students who failed fell from 13% last year to only 2% this year.
In Math, Hyannis West surprised everyone with 75% of its third graders scoring advanced/proficient versus only 56% last year.
While these numbers are not “revolutionary” by any means, Hyannis West holds most of Barnstable’s high needs students. From children of poverty to non-English speakers to disabilities – Hyannis West has it all in abundance. 92.4% of HyWest’s students were classified as High Needs last year.
Making this kind of progress in a 92.4% high needs school is an achievement worth celebrating. We tip our hats to HyWest Principal Kathi Amato and her staff for standing by their children and to Barnstable Superintendent Mary Czajkowski for allocating the resources to ensure their success.