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MCAS Letters 2010

MCAS Letters 2010

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Published by dandressler
2010 MCAS Packet Letters
2010 MCAS Packet Letters

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Published by: dandressler on Oct 07, 2010
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10/07/2010

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Watertown Public Schools
30 Common St, Watertown, MA 02472 USA 617-926-7766 fax: 617-926-9759 www.watertown.k12.ma.us
September 28, 2010Dear Parents and Guardians,Enclosed you will find your child’s MCAS Alternative Assessment (MCAS-Alt) scores from last spring. Theoverall Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) is designed to measure important skillsand knowledge in core academic subjects: English Language Arts and Mathematics in grades 3-8 and 10, andScience in grades 5, 8, and in high school. MCAS has two purposes: the first is to measure individual student performance and make sure that every child has adequate knowledge and skills by the time they graduate fromhigh school; the second is to assess and publicly release school and district performance ratings, holding schoolsystems accountable for student achievement.The purpose of the MCAS-Alt is to make sure schools are teaching the state’s learning standards to allstudents, regardless of their disability, and to help explore student’s capabilities, even when they cannotdemonstrate those capabilities on a standardized test like MCAS. Students taking the MCAS-Alt work withtheir teachers and other instructional staff over the course of the year, and create a portfolio that demonstratestheir academic understanding in one or more subject areas. Student Portfolios are carefully reviewed andindividually scored. Each portfolio is awarded one of the following levels of performance: Incomplete(insufficient evidence and information included); Awareness (students demonstrate very little understanding);Emerging (simple understanding below grade-level expectations); Progressing (partial understanding belowgrade-level expectations); Needs Improvement (partial understanding of grade level subject matter); Proficient(solid understanding of challenging grade-level subject matter); Advanced (comprehensive understanding of challenging grade-level subject matter). In order for a student to graduate from Watertown High School theywill need to reach the Needs Improvement level or above, demonstrating knowledge and skills at a grade 10level of performance.Watertown continues our commitment to the education of all children. If you have questions about your child’sMCAS-Alt performance please do not hesitate to call your child’s special education teacher.If you would like to learn more about the MCAS Alt in general please visit the Department of Elementary andSecondary Education Web page which can be found athttp://www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/alt/resources.html.Sincerely,Elisabeth Schaefer 
Director of Student Services
 
nn Koufman-Frederick, Ph.D.Elisabeth Schaefer, M.A.
SuperintendentDirector of Student Service
 
Cynthia W. Crimmin, Ph.D.
Principalccrimmin@watertown.k12.ma.us
617-926-7726 (fax) 617-924-0420
Cunniff Elementary School
246 Warren St, Watertown, MA 02472 USA 617-926-7726 fax: 617-924-0420 www.watertown.k12.ma.us
September 23, 2010Dear Parents and Guardians,Enclosed you will find your child’s MCAS scores from last spring. The MCAS (Massachusetts ComprehensiveAssessment System) is a series of standardized tests designed to measure important skills and knowledge inselected academic subjects: English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science. The MCAS has two purposes: thefirst is to measure individual student performance and make sure that every child has adequate knowledge andskills by the time they graduate from high school; the second is to assess and publicly release school and district performance ratings, holding school systems accountable for student achievement.There is a lot of information on your test results, including your child’s performance level (advanced, proficient,needs improvement, or warning), his or her scaled scores (200 – 280), and a comparison of your child’s scoreswith the average scores of other students in the school, district, and state. This year’s scores for current 5
th
gradestudents are also accompanied by a growth score, which represents the state’s best early efforts to identify howmuch student scores have improved over time. If you have questions about your child’s MCAS results, please callyour child’s guidance counselor. You can also go online to the district web site and click on “DistrictAssessment” on the right-hand column for information around your child’s scores.This year, the Cunniff School’s overall rating in both ELA and Mathematics is, once again, “High”, withcontinued, gradual improvement in several areas. For example, 55% of our current Grade 5 students performedin the Proficient or Advanced category, a 12% improvement over the performance of this cohort last year. ELAscores for this group of students were up to 43% Advanced or Proficient, a 2% improvement over the previousyear’s scores in ELA. Students in our Grade 3 classes made a solid showing for their first round of assessmentswith 71% in the Proficient or Advanced categories in ELA. While these scores do not represent an all-time highat this grade at the Cunniff, the scores are stronger than were the previous two years of Grade 3 scores (40%Proficient or Advanced in 2008 and 70% Proficient and Advanced in 2009). Student performance inMathematics was strongest in Grade 3 with 77% of the students scoring in the Proficient or Advanced categories,and Grade 5 Mathematics, where 12% more students earned in the higher categories than they had when inGrade 4.While performance in many areas continues to be consistent, we were disappointed that, as a school, we did notmake the threshold for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for the first year in either ELA or Mathematics.Adequate Yearly Progress is calculated based on the score in CPI (Composite Performance Index) units needed toreach the national goal of 100% proficiency by 2014. This year, the Cunniff School missed the necessary marker in English Language Arts with a score of 81.3 versus an expected 90.2 target, and with a narrow margin of 83.5versus a target of 84.3 in Mathematics. Although more and more schools struggle to meet this target as weapproach 2014, we, at the Cunniff, still take the meeting of this goal seriously.These scores, in conjunction with many other measures of students’ learning growth, serve to guide our work inthe schools. They help us target our focus on areas that need attention, and they provide us with the data that canhighlight our successes. Ultimately, the real measure of our children’s learning will be the lives they are preparedto lead as adults. In this task, strong communication between home and schools, and caring, consistent adultsupport make all the difference. Thank you for supporting our work here at the Cunniff.Sincerely,Cindy Crimmin, Ph.DPrincipal
Ann Koufman-Frederick, Ph.D.Superintendent

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