September represents not only the beginning of the school year, but also the annual release of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) results. This week, MCAS results for students in Grades 3-8 and 10 will be mailed home to Reading Public School parents. As you can see from this press release students across the state continue to improve overall. To see how Reading students performed this year compared to previous years, please go to this link.
For those of you who have students in Grades 4-8 and 10, you will notice a new section of the student report called the student growth percentile (SGP). The student growth percentile is different from the performance level score that you have been accustomed to for the last several years in that they answer two different questions. Student performance levels have asked the question, “How much has this student achieved compared to the state’s grade-level learning standards?” This is in contrast to the Student Growth Percentile (SGP) which answers the question, “How much did a student grow over the previous year compared to his or her academic peers?” The Student Growth Percentile ranges from 1 to 99 and is calculated by comparing one student’s history of MCAS scores to the scores of all the other students in the state with a similar history of MCAS scores. Simply stated, students earning high growth percentiles answered more questions correctly on the spring 2010 MCAS test than their academic peers; conversely, students earning low growth percentiles answered fewer questions correctly than their academic peers.
Similar to MCAS scaled scores, SGPs require some interpretation. The following chart from the DESE provides a way to think about student performance from both an “achievement” perspective and a “growth” perspective.
|Scaled Score Range||Performance Level|
|200 – 218||Warning/Failing|
|220 – 238||Needs Improvement|
|240 – 258||Proficient|
|260 – 280||Advanced/Above Proficient|
|1 – 39||Lower Growth|
|40 – 60||Moderate Growth|
|61 – 99||Higher Growth|
The DESE has developed several resources including a parent tutorial on the growth model. You can access that tutorial here. There has been some discussion in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (Formerly known as No Child Left Behind) that the growth model will be a critical component in determining future Adequately Yearly Progress (AYP).
The data from the growth model will help assist us as a school district to continue to create classrooms where students are stretched and challenged to take risks in their learning.
At our September 27 School Committee Meeting, Assistant Superintendent Patty de Garavilla will be giving a comprehensive presentation of our districts MCAS scores, including the performance levels, student growth percentiles, and AYP determinations.
Reading School Committee Approves New Anti-Bullying Policy
Last Monday evening, the Reading School Committee approved two policies, Policy ACAB/ACAC, which is the updated Harassment, Discrimination, Bullying, and Hazing Policy, and Policy FF, which is the Naming of Facilities or Places Within Or On School Property Policy. You can access both policies here. The highlights of the new Anti-Bullying Policy are as follows:
- Creates definitions for bullying, discrimination, hostile environment, sexual harassment, harassment, cyberbullying, target, and aggressor.
- Eliminates specific examples of each type to avoid misinterpretation.
- Sets up clear procedures and process for reporting, investigating incidents, and determining consequences of incidents.
- Establishes a process on the obligations for administrators to notify others.
- States clearly that no person will be retaliated against for reporting a bullying incident.
- Lists the rights of the target and the aggressor during an investigation.
Policy FF (Naming Policy) sets up specific criteria and the process that will be used for naming a school or places within a school (i.e. gymnasium, classroom, library) after a person or place.
Both policies are in effect immediately. The Anti-Bullying Policy is one part of the new anti-bullying plan that is currently being developed by a Reading Anti-Bullying task force committee consisting of teachers and administrators. A timeline for accepting nominations of the naming of places within a facility is currently being developed and will be announced later on this fall.
RTEF Brick Fundraiser
The Reading Technology and Education Foundation continues to offer the brick fundraiser which will help fund technology projects throughout the school district. If you are interested in purchasing a brick which will be displayed at the high school, please go the RTEF website, located here.