Teachers Look to Develop New Ways for MCAS Tests

Teachers, staff, and the principal at the William P. Gorman Fort Banks Elementary School have been examining the trends in student MCAS scores and classroom performances. They have been analyzing data and developing approaches to increase student comprehension, such as developing collective teaching goals.

Currently, 60% of grade 3 students’ MCAS reading scores are in the top three categories, and 40% are in the bottom three categories. Teachers have been measuring students’ oral and reading fluency with the goal of getting 80% of students in the top three categories.

“Now that we have 3rd grade there, and we’re looking at where the overlap is for the lowest scoring students in terms of oral reading and comprehension,” said Principal Ilene Pearson. “I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to make a significant difference.”

The staff has been examining the trends in student performance, and looking at an item analysis to pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses in student learning. That information will be used to identify where the instructional approaches or the introduction of content needs revision. Teachers will then establish practices, programs, and supports to address the areas of need.

“The staff has persevered over the data, and I feel incredibly fortunate that we are all in one building,” said Principal Pearson.

Teachers have been making reference to specific test items, and focusing on students’ learning habits and the strategies that they have acquired. The school is going to establish collective ownership of students’ performance on MCAS, align their practices so they are common and meaningful, and provided targeted support.

“Our approach is a reflection of a very dedicated staff,” Principal Pearson said.

The Gorman Fort Banks will have team based goals that transcend grade levels. The school has also established a writing curriculum development committee to work in collaborative efforts to identify and isolate what students need to hone in on.

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