ORR MCAS scores beat state average in spite of Covid learning loss

Oct 18, 2022

Old Rochester Regional School District students outperformed the state in nearly all subjects and grades on the 2022 MCAS, but Covid-19 learning loss still played a role in lowering the district’s scores.

According to new data released by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the percentage of students in the ORR School District who “met or exceeded expectations” was higher than the state average in all grades and subjects except for 8th-grade English language arts, or ELA, and math. 

The MCAS measures student performance in math, science and ELA for grades five, eight and ten. It measures math and ELA skills in grades three, four, six and seven. 

Although the ORR School District outperformed the state in many areas, it scored lower than it had previously when compared to the last comprehensive MCAS in 2019.

The greatest decreases from 2019 were in 8th-grade ELA, where there was a 43% decline in the number of students who met or exceeded expectations; 8th-grade math, where there was a 40% decline in the number of students who met or exceeded expectations; and 3rd-grade ELA in Mattapoisett, where there was a 41% decline in the number of students who met or exceeded expectations.

“As we leave the pandemic in the rear-view mirror, we anticipate any residual learning loss to dissipate over time as we return to normal,” said Superintendent Michael Nelson. “This year, we are already chartering rigorous learning and student engagement.”

The last full MCAS exam was given in 2019. The 2020 MCAS was canceled due to Covid-19, and the 2021 MCAS was only a partial exam, said Nelson. 

He added that according to state data, all subject areas across the board still show some residual learning losses due to the pandemic.

According to Assistant Superintendent Shari Fedorowicz, the ORR school district followed state trends that showed the negative effects of Covid-19 on student learning. 

“Our schools saw similar patterns and trends as the state, but overall we performed significantly better than the state,” said Fedorowicz. “We did see some dips in elementary writing in some grades, which is in line with the state and will be addressing that through our literacy initiatives this year.”

“Overall, we are impressed and proud with our students' perseverance and how they performed this year related to learning loss coming out of the pandemic,” said Nelson.