Watertown MCAS Data Looks Promising, School Committee to Discuss Details at 2 Meetings

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Watertown’s results on the 2022 MCAS generally look good, and the scores at two schools look very positive, Superintendent Dede Galdston told the School Committee on Oct. 24.

The results of the MCAS, the state’s standardized test, and other measures used by the district will be discussed at a pair of upcoming School Committee meetings in early November.

“The (Watertown) Middle School percentiles went way up as well as at the Lowell (Elementary),” Galdston said. “Everyone else did great, don’t get me wrong. If this was a different year I think we would be seeing some recognition for the growth we have been seeing at those two schools, in particular.”

One of the reasons for the improvements, Galdston said, is the addition of curriculum coaches for middle school teachers,

“We are seeing that pay off, especially at the middle school level, as you now added middle school coaches,” Galdston said. “If you look over four years, it is pretty dramatic the growth that has happened.”  

Another factor is the ratio of students to teachers, she said.

“I would say that I think the ratios and the size of the school really make a difference, and we will be talking about that in the budget process,” Galdston said.

Schools had not given students a normal MCAS exam since before the COVID-19 shutdown. The tests were not given in 2020, and in 2021 an abbreviated version of the exams was administered, said Galdston, who added that the current 10th graders have not taken a math or English Language Arts (ELA) MCAS since they were in seventh grade.

Prior to that, the schools had multiple years of MCAS exams to analyze, with results from 2016 (when the state’s new system of accountability began) to 2019. Due to the interruption in the results, 2022 will be the new baseline which the state uses to measure the progress or shortfall of schools and districts, Galdston said.

The Curriculum Subcommittee of the School Committee will take an in-depth look at the results on Nov. 1 at 3:30 p.m., and the School Committee will hear the highlights at its Nov. 7 meeting which begins at 7 p.m., said Superintendent Dede Galdston.

“So, if you are really interested in learning more about the data, the recommendation is for you to Zoom in on Nov. 1 because that’s when there will be a deeper dive into it,” Galdston said. “The School Committee meeting will be getting more of the 30,000-foot view of the data.”

The Curriculum Subcommittee meeting will be on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 3:30 p.m. in the Phillips Building. See the agenda and how to participate on Zoom by using the following link: https://watertownma.civicclerk.com/Web/Player.aspx?id=4682&key=-1&mod=-1&mk=-1&nov=0

The School Committee meeting will be on Monday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. See the agenda and more information when it is posted by clicking here.

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