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Brookline's MCAS Scores: Five Things You Need to Know

Brookline's scores for the state-wide standardized test have been released, and Brookline is beating all state averages.

Earlier this week, the Massachusetts Department of Education (DOE) released yesterday the spring 2012 scores for the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System--also known as MCAS.

The Brookline School District's full results are available on the DOE website. Below, you will find some useful information about the MCAS test, and what the scores mean. 

1. No more 'No Child Left Behind'

In previous years, the district has had to work on meeting benchmarks outlined by the federal No Child Left Behind act. However, starting in the 2012-13 school year, Massachusetts has waived NCLB requirements. Instead of meeting the NCLB requirements of 100 percent proficiency in the district, the state's new accountability goal looks for reducing proficiency gaps by half by 2017.

A full explanation of the state's new accountability system is available online.

2. Grade 10 Improves From Last Year

Brookline's 10th graders--the kids who are now Juniors at the school--showed improvement over last year's groups--as well as beating averages around the Commonwealth.

The biggest leap was in the science and technology/engineering section, where 53 percent of students scored Advanced--an increase of last year's 44 percent. The number of failing students also went down in this category, down to 2 percent from last year's 4 percent. 

3. High Needs Students Short of Targets

With a target of 75 Cumulative Progress and Performance Index (PPI) score, Brookline schools met that target when all students were taken into account, but the PPI score falls short when looking at "high needs" students, scoring only a 65. 

"High needs" students are those from low-income homes, English language learners (and former ELL students) and students with disabilities. Of the three groups, ELL students scored a 90 PPI, while both other groups were at 62. 

According to the DOE's MCAS glossary, "The cumulative PPI combines information about narrowing proficiency gaps, growth, and graduation and dropout rates over the most recent four-year period into a single number between 0 and 100."

Breaking the student body down in different ways, the highest PPI score was among students identifying as Asian, who exceeded the target and scored a 93 PPI score. White and multi-racial students also beat PPI targets, while Hispanic and black students were below the target of 75. 

4. Math a Strong Suit for 8th Graders

While the maths section is a strong point for kids in the 8th grade, the bulk of them scored "proficient" in both english lanugage arts and the science, technology and engineering categories. 

More students scored proficient or higher this year in the Science and technology category than last year, and fewer were "Needs Improvement" or lower. 

Grade 8 Science/Tech 2010 2011 2012 Advanced 10 10 12 Proficient 47 43 54 Needs Improvement 33 36 27 Warning/Failing 9 11 8

But compared to the mathematics category, where 50 percent of students scored "Advanced," or 36 percent scoring "Advanced" in English Language Arts," the 12 percent of advanced students looks fairly low. 

5. Brookline a Level 2 District

The DOE Ranks four of Brookline's schools, based on MCAS scores and participation rates, at a level 1: Baker, Driscoll, Heath and Lawrence. The rest are ranked Level 2.

Level 1 schools/districts have high overall achievement and meet all the goals for narrowing achievement gaps between the whole student body and minority student subgroups. Level 5 schools are the lowest on the scale and the districts/schools most in need of improvement.

Because the level ranking is determined by the lowest-level school, Brookline is designated a level 2 district. 

Brookline High School was ranked number 15 in the greater Boston area, which is an increase from number 23 last year. However, this is down from number seven in 2010.

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Below is the full breakdown of MCAS results by grade and subject.

Grade and Subject Proficient or Higher Advanced Proficient Needs Improvement Warning/ Failing Students Included CPI SGP Included in SGP DISTRICT STATE DISTRICT STATE DISTRICT STATE DISTRICT STATE DISTRICT STATE GRADE 03 - READING 77 61 26 15 51 46 19 30 4 9 544 91.1 N/A N/A GRADE 03 - MATHEMATICS 78 61 45 27 33 34 14 25 7 14 545 90.3 N/A N/A GRADE 04 - ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS 72 57 20 13 52 44 22 30 7 14 502 87.6 55.0 461 GRADE 04 - MATHEMATICS 69 51 26 16 43 35 24 36 7 12 503 87.1 55.0 465 GRADE 05 - ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS 80 61 33 17 47 44 16 28 5 11 517 92.0 62.0 478 GRADE 05 - MATHEMATICS 78 57 53 25 25 32 14 26 8 17 520 89.9 64.0 483 GRADE 05 - SCIENCE AND TECH/ENG 64 52 25 22 39 30 30 34 6 14 519 85.4 N/A N/A GRADE 06 - ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS 87 66 40 18 47 48 10 22 3 11 501 95.1 63.0 463 GRADE 06 - MATHEMATICS 83 60 57 27 26 33 13 24 4 16 500 92.6 59.5 462 GRADE 07 - ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS 89 71 33 15 56 56 9 21 2 7 428 95.6 64.0 388 GRADE 07 - MATHEMATICS 78 51 47 20 31 31 15 30 8 18 429 89.5 62.0 388 GRADE 08 - ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS 94 81 36 18 58 63 4 14 1 6 417 98.1 58.0 380 GRADE 08 - MATHEMATICS 80 52 50 22 30 30 15 28 5 19 420 91.1 57.0 385 GRADE 08 - SCIENCE AND TECH/ENG 66 43 12 5 54 38 27 38 8 20 418 85.5 N/A N/A GRADE 10 - ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS 96 88 62 37 34 51 3 9 2 3 397 99.1 58.5 328 GRADE 10 - MATHEMATICS 92 78 72 50 20 28 6 15 3 7 400 96.8 56.0 329 GRADE 10 - SCIENCE AND TECH/ENG 84 69 53 24 31 45 14 25 2 6 369 94.3 N/A N/A ALL GRADES - ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS 84 69 35 19 49 50 12 22 3 9 3,306 93.7 60.5 2,498 ALL GRADES - MATHEMATICS 80 59 50 27 30 32 15 26 6 15 3,317 90.9 60.0 2,512 ALL GRADES - SCIENCE AND TECH/ENG 70 54 29 17 41 37 24 32 6 13 1,306 87.9 N/A N/A

The above chart originally appeared on the Department of Education's website.

Melanie Graham contributed to this report.

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