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District MCAS scores 'hurt' SHS efforts

Wells math scores suffer, officials say

Southbridge High students have shown double-digit improvements in MCAS scores in the last year. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
September 26, 2009
SOUTHBRIDGE — To High School Principal Bill Bishop, the latest district MCAS scores aren't a fair reflection of what's happening at his school.

Not only does the school lack control over out-of-district placements (whose scores are included), the fact the scores are compiled district-wide obscures the high school's improvement in the last few years.

"Our kids, teachers, parents and administrators have worked their tails off to improve those scores," he said. "… When people are talking about the district, the district, the district, they throw us [the high school] in there and it hurts."

In all three tested areas, the high school's "advanced or proficient" scores have seen double-digit increases in the last year: English, up 31 points; Math, up 10 points; Science, up 24 points. At the same time, failure rates have plummeted noticeably: down seven, nine and 18 points respectively.

"[O]ur students successfully made adequate yearly progress in all areas and subgroups," Bishop wrote in a letter to parents sent home Thursday. "But, under the federal government's No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, our school must meet AYP for two consecutive years. … Our current NCLB status is 'Improvement-Year 2.'"

For more on this story, please see Monday's Southbridge Evening News.

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