The Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE) released the 2019 Accountability Ratings for all public schools and districts yesterday, Wednesday, September 25, 2019. Now in the second year of the revised accountability structure, the ratings clarify two major components; whether or not a district as a whole and each school individually is in need of assistance from the state, as well as noting the reasoning for that rating. The assessment has also morphed in recent years to its current version, ‘MCAS 2.0’, a test taken entirely online at all grade levels and aligned with the current state standards. With changes to testing formats and the increasing rigor of new standards, this has become more a more challenging measure, particularly at the 10th grade level where a passing score is required for a student to graduate. As a district, the Triton Schools have been found to not require assistance, and that is due to the substantial progress made towards the improvement goals established by the state.
The aggregate results of the MCAS will be presented in further detail to the School Committee on October 16th along with more information on the accountability standing. Each of the five district schools, including Newbury Elementary, Pine Grove, Salisbury Elementary, Triton Middle, and Triton High School made substantial growth towards improvement goals established through the accountability formula. “This is the result of consistent and deliberate decisions and efforts being made by educators, administrators, the School Committee and our communities as we look towards continuous improvement for our students,” noted Brian Forget, Triton’s Superintendent. Newbury Elementary School is to be further commended as they join an elite group of only 67 out of the 1,845 schools across the entire state to be named a 2019 School Of Recognition for their high growth in student performance. More details on district performance will be outlined during the October 16th presentation.
The Department of Elementary & Secondary Education has signaled their understanding of the shortcomings of the state accountability system in recent years, and have made changes to better align with the reality of 21st century learning. While the system is governed by Federal requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act, the state does have some leeway in its implementation. “As I have routinely said, this is a single measure of our performance as a school or district, though the system has evolved and become a more accurate indicator of our overall performance in recent years,” Forget said. However, he remains hopeful that the system for holding schools accountable will continue to morph and include other measures that cannot be captured by a single test. “We obviously have many positive programs and opportunities for our students that cannot be measured by the current system, but everyone should be proud and pleased with the progress we have made.”
Parents can expect to see their child(ren)’s MCAS results report by mail later in October, and we will confirm an exact date shortly. In addition, DESE publishes School and District Report Cards on their website that provide a clear and concise snapshot of the performance for subgroups and in the aggregate, along with other contributing factors for determinations. These report cards are usually published around the winter holidays, and information will be sent home to families once those are posted online with links to these reports added to the district website.