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Hingham shows good MCAS results,
struggles with yearly progress standard

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  October 28, 2011 05:06 PM

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While the state waits on word from the federal government about a waiver to requirements under No Child Left Behind, school officials are working toward meeting the law's goals and standards..

The latest results show that Hingham, although performing admirably, still has a ways to go before all students meet the thresholds of performing at or above proficient in both math and English language arts.

“Overall our test results were very positive,” said Assistant Superintendent Ellen Keane. “There are a lot of strengths particularly in ELA in grade 10, and high growth percentiles in certain grades. Concerns would be our middle school math results and grade four math results – which are the lowest.”

Keane will be giving a report to School Committee members on Nov. 21 of the progress of the requirement, which this year asked that 95.1 percent of students perform at or above proficient in English Language Arts tests, and 92.2 percent perform at or above proficient in math.

The results were recently outlined in a “Report Card” sent to parents.

According to Keane, Hingham has traditionally done well to meet these goals, but as the percentage of students required to meet the goal climbs higher, and as the country creeps ever closer to the 2014 deadline of reaching 100 percent, pressure continues to mount on the district.

Going forward, Keane said the school will continue to work with its students to bring them up to the goal. “We will obviously continue to work on with a variety of interventions and extra [curricular] help,” Keane said. “I think that it has a good goal, I think everybody agrees that we want to have all kids proficient in ELA and math, but… as we get closer to 2014, to the 100 percent goal, it gets more and more difficult to meet.”

In percentage terms, Hingham schools overall outperformed the state in both math and English scores throughout the grades and in both subjects.

For Adequate Yearly Progress, the results were a bit different.

The measurement looks at if students meet or exceed the state’s performance targets, and if students met their own improvement requirements, based on a rising target that reaches 100 percent in 2014.

Plymouth River did meet performance and improvement standards for math, but failed to do so in English (with the exception of special needs students, who did meet all goals).

South Elementary School made improvements targets in math, but failed to make improvement targets in English or performance targets in English or Math.

Foster also was unable to meet performance or improvement targets for math or English.

East Elementary met performance and improvement standards for math but not English, and at the Middle School, special needs students did not make targets for improvement or performance in either subject. The remaining students made strides in English, but not in math.

The high school, however, met performance and improvement targets for both subjects, and kept with its AYP goals as well.

For high school Principal Paula Girouard-McCann, the results are exciting, but by no means the only thing the student body is striving for.

“The goal was to make the target they set for you; did you continue to achieve at the level you’re supposed to? Our goal is that the kids have the skills in English, math, to succeed. The NCLB complements our broader goals in just English, Math, Science, but we have other goals for graduation,” she said.

Girouard-McCann said that the strong curriculum in grades K-12 helped facilitate good test scores overall, and strong teachers in the classroom only enhanced a high-quality education.

“It’s just a piece of that. Just passing MCAS was never the end result for us,” Girouard-McCann said. “You take it in grade 10 -- halfway through your high school career. We absolutely want everyone to pass, they always have. We’ve never had them not graduate…but we have two more years to educate the kids, so we’re working on going beyond the demand of just the MCAS.”

For total results for all schools, click here.

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