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February Biology MCAS

If eligible, don’t wait till June

by Joan Reissman, MCAS Maven

If you are eligible to take the Biology MCAS in February, you should definitely consider doing it. As with any test required for graduation, you want to give yourself as many chances as possible to pass. The February test (Feb. 5 and 6) will be a legacy test—the old MCAS. That means the questions will be based on the 2006 standards (which overlap with the 2016 standards) and it will be paper based, not online. If you don’t take this test now, you will have to wait until June. Then you’ll be running into finals and all the distractions of the end of the school year. Why not take it now if you are eligible?

Madison Park Holds the Line on MCAS Math

Madison Park is on an upward trajectory.

by Gary Kaplan

The scores are in, and they’re down. It was expected that scores on the new 10th grade MCAS 2.0 would be lower than on the old “Legacy” MCAS. The new test was designed to be more difficult, with higher-level questions. In addition, it was online, not on paper like the old test, and it contained new question formats—technology-assisted questions and multi-text comparisons, for starters—that students had never seen before. Lower scores were fully expected.

HS Science MCAS Tests

Are we confused yet?

By Joan Reissman, MCAS Maven

If you are a science teacher, you know all about the different science tests. But if you’re a student or parent, you may be wondering about them. You know that the new MCAS 2.0 in English and math have been redesigned to meet more demanding standards of college and career readiness. But what about science?

This year was the first year for computer based MCAS tests in math and English for high school. The science tests are still paper-based, but there will be some field tests of computer-based Biology and Introductory Physics. Parents and students may have some questions. What standards will be tested? What test or tests are required for graduation? What choices do students have?

Strategies for MCAS Next Gen ELA
MCAS Next Gen 2.0 ELA – Expect greater emphasis on text comparison.

by Joan Reissman, MCAS Maven

The biggest change in the MCAS Next Gen 2.0 ELA test, coming to 10th grade next month, is a greater emphasis on text comparison. Although people read every day, much of the reading students do on the phone or computer is recreational. Nobody is going to quiz you on detailed comprehension after you read something on social media. There is ongoing debate over whether students comprehend better on paper or screen. But it’s academic to us, because Next Gen MCAS is coming on a screen.

Last- minute quick tips for the MCAS ELA open response

Simple techniques to improve performance

by Joan Reissman, Blended Learning Specialist
Many students lose points on the ELA open response questions. We know that some students don’t like to write. But even so, we can improve their performance with some simple techniques.

The 2017 average on ELA multiple choice questions was 80%. Yet the average on open response questions was only 68%. The discrepancy is not due to test position: students did best on the first and last questions of the four open response questions (Reading Comprehension section). So how can we help students score at least a 2 or 3 on open responses?

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    JFYNetWorks Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) Preparation

    MCAS is the statewide testing structure adopted in 1998. High school testing occurs only in the 10th grade. There are three MCAS tests: English Language Arts, math, and science/technology/engineering. JFYNet focuses on ELA. A new testing system, PARCC, is expected to replace MCAS at some point. PARCC is being piloted in the lower grades and in selected high schools. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has announced that MCAS will continue to be the high school graduation standard for the next several years.

    The JFYNetWorks MCAS Preparation program is designed to help 9th and 10th grade students reach Common Core-aligned standards with the goal of on-time grade progression and ultimately successful graduation from high school and success in college.

    We measure our success by improved MCAS scores, teacher and administrator satisfaction surveys, and testimonies and stories from students and teachers about the impact of the program on their lives.

    Learn more about JFYNet’s methodology.


    WEBINAR: MCAS 2.0 Prep Tips found here.


    JFYNetWorks offers a complete MCAS 2.0 prep curriculum including practice tests and test-taking strategies for math and ELA. We’ve been providing blended MCAS prep programs to schools since 2000. Our focus is on standards-based instruction. We raise test scores by building students’ skills.

    Our blended learning academic support programs have a long history of documented student gains. We’d be glad to discuss them with you on the phone or come and present a demo. Please shoot us an email or give us a call.

    JFY Accuplacer prep College Readiness
    JFY Accuplacer prep College Readiness

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      JFYNetWorks Podcasts

      Podcasts from JFYNetWorks

      JFYNetWorks addresses today’s college readiness pursuit by providing focused blended learning programs in high school to help students build the academic skills they need to enter college or technical training earning academic credit. The JFYNetWorks blended program model — infusing specialized online content into the regular curriculum — also facilitates scalability, as the low cost of the online platform can easily be expanded to entire schools. Listen to our podcasts to learn more.

      Listen. Download. Share.

      Kingsman Academy Public Charter School Presents in DC

      JFYNet Partner School takes their rebuild process to DC

      JULY 2020 PODCAST – This month’s podcast features excerpts from a presentation by Kingsman Academy Public Charter School in Washington, DC, a JFYNet partner school. The presentation to the DC Public Charter School Board took place on June 20th, and describes the process begun shortly after the school’s opening in 2015. The Kingsman staff and administration realized that their operational plan was not serving the needs of their student population as they had thought it would and spent the next few years redesigning the school from the ground up. The current move to competency- based learning is the final step of their rebuilding process.

      Click here for a transcript of this podcast.

      Jorge Santana now leads students towards success at PACE Academy

      Executive Director at PACE Guides At-Risk Students Towards Success

      JUNE 2020 PODCAST – This month’s podcast features Jorge Santana, the Executive Director of the PACE Career Academy Charter School in Pembroke, New Hampshire, a JFYNet partner school. In this episode, you’ll hear how Mr. Santana was an at-risk student while growing up, worked early in his career to find systemic solutions to help students connect with mentors, and how PACE Academy works with students who are considered at risk and struggle with education due to other factors in their lives. We also hear two current students at PACE Academy discuss how they have found success with the help of Mr. Santana and all the staff members at PACE.

      Click here for a transcript of this podcast.

      Teachers: Impact of COVID-19 on Students and More

      Educators Shifting to Remote & Distance Learning

      MAY 2020 PODCAST – This podcast features educators from Durfee High School in Fall River, Mindess Elementary School in Ashland, and Newton South High School discussing how the shift to remote learning due to the Covid-19 shutdown has impacted daily schedules, allowed some students to thrive, thrown other students off stride, and may create a “new normal” for education in the future.

      Click here for a transcript of this podcast.

      More from JFYNetWorks

      Inside MCAS 2.0, Strategic Coaching Tips for Students

      Improved Student Achievement: The JFYNet Track Record

      Education and Workforce: What’s New?

      Old Year, New Year, New Decade. Same Story.

      by Gary Kaplan

      For readers of education and workforce journalism, the turn of the decade was neatly bracketed by two articles that summed up the year’s main themes: low student performance and labor shortage. First was a New York Times piece on December 28 headed “Year in Education: Stalled Test Scores…” Under the sub-head “Stagnant Student Performance and Widening Achievement Gaps” it reminded us that the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), our “gold standard” nationwide assessment, had found only one-third of fourth and eighth-graders proficient readers, while student achievement in both reading and math was flat over the past 10 years. That wasn’t all: the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), an 80-country international test under the auspices of OECD, found that American 15-year-olds have been stagnant in reading and math for two decades. Both tests noted widening achievement gaps between low-performing and high-performing students. The article did not delve into the demographics of the gaps, but we know all too well how that maps.

      A Jeffersonian Solution for a Jeffersonian Problem: Inequality

      All people may be created equal, but all schools are not.

      by Gary Kaplan

      Inequality will be a pervasive topic in the new decade. It won’t be a new topic. It’s been a front page story ever since Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century came out in English in 2014. But it seems to be coming up more frequently, and in more contexts, from the World Economic Forum in Davos to the sports page of the Boston Globe. Yet for the millions who live it every day, it’s hardly breaking news.