JFY Partner Schools Buck MCAS Downward Trend
Northeast Metro Tech is a regional vocational school that serves 11 communities north of Boston including Chelsea, Malden and Revere. The school has more than 1300 students. JFY began working in the school in 2018. Northeast Metro gained 18 points in English and 12 points in math, while the state declined 6 points and 2 points.
It goes without saying that the credit for these schools’ success goes to the hard work of the teachers and students, and the support of their administrators. It is our good fortune to work with these talented, committed professionals whose skillful use of our tools and techniques, supplementing their established practices, produces results that demonstrate how learning losses can be replaced by learning gains.
Our goal is to build the foundational academic skills of reading, writing and math so that students can succeed in their immediate academic and eventual career pursuits. High school is the critical period for career development. For most students, it is the last complement of free public education, the critical last chance to complete a foundation for lifelong learning and career development.
MCAS is not a goal; it is a milepost measuring distance traveled and distance ahead. MCAS is derived directly and specifically from the state curriculum standards. A student’s performance on MCAS tells her how far she has come and how far she has still to go on her journey toward high school completion, college readiness, career readiness, life readiness. Meeting or exceeding expectations on MCAS demonstrates that the student is on pace with the march of grade-level standards.
At JFYNetWorks, we analyze the content of MCAS tests so that teachers can focus on the necessary standards. In preparation for the 2022 tests we identified 24 math standards that had been tested in 2019 and 2021. After the 2022 administration we identified standards that had been assessed in all three years of 10th grade Next-Gen MCAS. We also compared tested domains to identify trends. We noted a 19% shift in ELA domains from fiction toward non-fiction. This kind of information helps teachers create focused individualized instruction to build the skills needed to meet changing state standards. Building skills is how we help students arrive at the MCAS milepost primed and ready.
Our tool box for teachers contains online curriculum aligned to the Massachusetts standards to supplement their curriculum and add MCAS focus. Our academic support is a form of tutoring. It provides differentiation through targeted instruction. This year, more than 275,000 students in Massachusetts scored below Meeting or Exceeding Expectations. Live one- on- one tutoring at that scale would be impossible even with expanded federal funding. JFY’s online curriculum is supervised by the teacher. It can be accessed by the student at school or at home, and the teacher can check on activity and progress at any time. Because it utilizes the existing infrastructure of teachers and schools, it can be provided at any scale. The essence of tutoring is individualized instruction with supervision. Integrated into the regular class or offered in extra sessions, JFY academic support gives teachers the capacity to provide tutoring for every student.
Teachers’ time is the most valuable commodity in education. JFY learning specialists conserve that precious commodity by doing the legwork of creating custom curriculum alignments, enrolling classes, compiling interim reports and adjusting curriculum to changing requirements and needs. A beam of JFY sunshine is only a text, call or email away.
Additional MCAS News from JFYNetWorks
There is much to say about these test results and their meaning for students, teachers and schools. MCAS has been the reference point and data bank for performance evaluation in Massachusetts public education since 1998. Even the recent pandemic period of 2019-2022 yields a small mountain of data. JFY’s in-depth analysis of a two-school research sample demonstrates how MCAS data can yield valuable insights into broad trends and focused points of concern to guide responsive action.
Gains in MCAS for East Boston High and Northeast Metro Tech
This podcast features Cathie Maglio and Joan Reissman, JFY Learning Specialists, as they discuss how both schools achieved their gains.
Digging Deeper into East Boston High
The content to the left refers to the overwhelming volume of data produced by MCAS testing and pledged to dig deeper. Here is my next excavation. We will delve into the performance of East Boston High School (EBHS).