In the spring, the PARCC tests were administered to students in the Triton elementary and middle school. The district had decided to administer the PARCC rather than the MCAS tests because the former are aligned with state standards for English Language Arts and Math, whereas the MCAS tests are not. Further even if the PARCC tests are not adopted in their entirety it is clear that they represent the direction in which the state is moving. Given that the PARCC tests are designed to be more rigorous than the MCAS tests, this year’s results were anticipated with some trepidation.
In practice, the Triton students made a very strong showing. Across the district as a whole the results in English Language Arts for Grades 3 through 6 were better than the previous year’s MCAS scores. In Grade 7 they matched the 2014 MCAS scores, and were a little below in Grade 8.
The general view has been that Math would provide the greater challenge. Here, Triton results were lower than the prior year’s MCAS scores, but were nevertheless better than the state average.
The improvement in student achievement was also reflected in student growth indicators.
Commenting on the results Superintendent Christopher Farmer said, “What students and their teachers have achieved is enormously encouraging. Notwithstanding the fact that we try not to teach to the test, the students have shown their mettle when challenged by more rigorous assessments than the MCAS. Whatever the state puts in place in the form of MCAS 2.0 we have shown that we are on the right track.”
The state has mandated that Triton students will take the PARCC tests again next year while it develops an updated version of MCAS. High school students will continue to take the MCAS tests this year as they are a graduation requirement.