BURLINGTON – The Massachusetts Comprehensive System (MCAS) 2.0 test results from last spring revealed great news for Burlington students.

At this week’s School Committee meeting, the Administration provided the members with a brief overview of the MCAS scores that saw the number of Burlington test-takers meeting or exceeding expectations surpass state averages in all 19 of the assessment tests,

As part of the state’s parameters, the Commonwealth uses the tests as a key guide to the performance of its schools and as part of its effort to bring accountability to the education system.

The MCAS 2.0 is also known as the “Next Generation Test” which means all students partaking have to take it on iPads. This past spring was the first time the “Legacy MCAS Test” was not given since the standardized assessment test had been implemented in 2000. The “Legacy” version consisted of students filling out the test on paper with a pencil.

This past spring, students experienced new, more difficult English and mathematics MCAS versions on the iPad, but that didn’t prevent them from performing very well on the tests.

Making the grade

On the MCAS version given last spring, the four scoring groups were classified as exceeding expectations, meeting expectations, partially meeting expectations, and not meeting expectations. The new categories in MCAS emphasize readiness for higher-level work at the next grade level. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) states that MCAS results are used to direct improvements in teaching and learning, assess school and district accountability, and measure student accountability. The “Next Generation” MCAS now has much higher expectations. However, the state takes into account when determining passing scores, so for the next two years, a passing score will be at the upper end of the “not meeting expectations” category.

The district received a “substantial progress toward targets” classification from the state. The measure is based on MCAS results combined with high school completion, English language learning, chronic absenteeism, and advanced coursework. The district earned a 2-year cumulative rating of 67 percent for progress towards targets. This classification means the district does not require assistance or intervention from the state. No individual school was classified as needing assistance or intervention, either.

Well-over half the district’s students in grades 3-8 met or exceeded expectations on the English language arts (ELA) and mathematics MCAS tests taken last spring.

- In grade 3 ELA, 57 percent of Burlington students met or exceeded expectations, above the state average of 56 percent. As for mathematics, 60 percent of students met or exceeded expectations, higher than the state average of 49 percent.

- As for grade 4 ELA, 59 percent of student met or exceeded expectation, looking down at the state average of 52 percent. In mathematics, 61 percent of students met or exceeded expectations, ahead of the state average of 50 percent.

- In grade 5 ELA, 65 percent of students met or exceeded expectations, above the state average of 52 percent. Mathematics saw 65 percent meeting or exceeding expectations for students and a state average of 48 percent. Science revealed 57 percent of students meeting or exceeding expectations, comfortably ahead of the state average of 49 percent.

- In terms of grade 6 ELA, 64 percent of students met or exceeded expectations, compared to the 53 percent state average. As for mathematics, 67 percent of students met or exceeded expectations, very much above the 52 percent state average.

- Grade 7 ELA was a little tighter, with 53 percent of students exceeding or meeting expectations, compared to the state average of 48 percent. For mathematics, 52 percent of students in the district exceeded or met expectations, above the state average of 48 percent.

- For grade 8 ELA, 59 percent of students met or exceeded expectations, and the state average was 52 percent. In mathematics, 57 percent of students met or exceeded expectations, where the state average was 46 percent. For science, 53 percent of students met or exceeded expectations, while the state average fell below that figure at 46 percent.

- Grade 10 ELA rounded out the impressive scores for the district, with 64 percent of students exceeding or meeting expectations, above the state average of 61 percent. As for mathematics, 64 percent of the district’s students met or exceeded expectations, compared to the 59 percent state average.

School officials certainly expressed their pleasure with the MCAS results.

“Overall, I am very pleased with these scores,” School Committee member Kristin Russo praised. “The effort by the teachers and students is clearly evident in these results.”

Assistant School Supt. Patrick Larkin affirmed he “likes where we are as a district” in comparison to the state averages, which Burlington students topped in every MCAS category.

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