Sippican School math MCAS scores show impact of pandemic, more so than English

Dec 2, 2021

MARION — Sippican School experienced some dips in its 2021 MCAS scores due to pandemic disruptions, but overall most of its scores were still above the state average. It also appeared that the math scores were more impacted than the English Language Arts results.

That’s a high level overview of the results that school and district administrators presented to the Marion School Committee on Dec. 1.

Superintendent of Schools Mike Nelson started his introduction to the tests by saying that the test was quite different from past years, as it was shortened and modified.

In grades 3 to 8, about half of the students took the first session of the MCAS, and half took the second session. Students could also take the test remotely.

This year was also unusual in that it was the first time that both third and fourth graders took the test, since the state did not administer the MCAS in 2020 when current fourth graders should have taken it for the first time.

The MCAS are scored based on four categories, “exceeding expectations,” “meeting expectations,” “partially meeting expectations” and “not meeting expectations.”

Overall, in English Language Arts, students outperformed the state average, and fewer kids fell in the “partially meeting” or “not meeting” categories. In math, Sippican School had the same number of students in the “meeting” category as the state. In 2019 and 2018, most Sippican School students were in the “meeting” category for mathematics. This year, the majority were in the “partially meeting” category.

The school’s Student Growth Percentile, which looks at two consecutive years of data, showed lower growth than the state, but higher overall achievement.

Grade 5 students are the only grade to take science MCAS, and there, students did well, especially considering the year’s disruptions.

“Teachers did an awesome job preparing students for writing, particularly with the disruptions,” Sippican School Principal Marla Sirois said.

To combat the dip in scores, the school plans to identify students who need interventions in specific areas, and work with those students. Grade level and district level teams will also continue to look at the data, what it means and how to use it.

Despite the slight dip in scores, school committee members and administrators were still incredibly proud of the effort that students, parents and teachers put in.

“I am very proud in terms of how our students and parents managed this. And our teachers, too, should be proud. We did very well despite difficult circumstances,” Nelson said.

School committee members reacted positively to the scores, and acknowledged the difficulties that educators, students and families faced last year.