Rochester Memorial posts strong MCAS results

Dec 7, 2021

ROCHESTER — Despite some slight dips in certain test scores, Rochester Memorial School’s 2021 MCAS results stayed mostly consistent in the first round of standardized testing since the pandemic began.

Superintendent Michael Nelson emphasized that the state-wide test is only one of many data points that the schools use to track the progress of their students, but expressed his pride in the results and the job that the school has done to maintain high standards of learning despite the challenges of covid.

“Overall, we are extremely proud of the efforts our school community made last year,” said Nelson before presenting the MCAS results at a Dec. 2 Rochester School Committee meeting . “I tip my cap to the teachers, the support staff, the families that were at home supporting learning last year and everybody else, and especially our students.”

The state Department of Education cancelled MCAS in 2020, and modified the test this year, allowing students to take it for only one session and in-school or at home.

The MCAS are scored in four categories. Students are ranked as “exceeding expectations,” “meeting expectations,” “partially meeting expectations,” or “not meeting expectations.”

Across all grades in English Language Arts, 56% of students were meeting or exceeding expectations, down from 58% in 2019 and 59% in 2018. The percent of students not meeting expectations rose from 3% in 2019 to 8% in 2021.

However, Rochester Memorial still fared better than the state as a whole, where the percentage of students meeting or exceeding expectations fell by 6% on average.

Math scores seemed to be hit the hardest by the pandemic. In 2021, an average of 44% of Rochester Memorial students met or exceeded expectations, down from 52% in 2019 and 55% in 2018.

Overall in the state, math scores dropped even further. In 2021, an average of 34% of Massachusetts students met or exceeded expectations on the math test, down 15% from 49% in 2019.

On the contrary, results for the science portion of the test, which is only taken by fifth graders, actually rose significantly from 2019. In 2021, 62% of students met or exceeded expectations, up from 49% in 2019. In the state, the number dropped from 48% to 43% over the same period.

In a Sippican Week analysis of statewide MCAS results, Rochester Memorial School was found to be in the 74th percentile of Massachusetts elementary and middle schools based on an average of all the meeting or exceeding expectations rates in all subjects. It was in the 54th percentile in 2019, meaning that the school improved its standing relative to other schools during the pandemic.