Rochester Memorial principal: MCAS scores say 'We're in a good place'

Nov 17, 2017

When it comes to science education in the tri-town's elementary schools, Rochester Memorial School is top dog.

The school's average of fifth-graders in the 'advanced' and 'proficient' categories was 24 percent higher than the state average.

"We're really pleased with that number," Rochester Memorial principal Derek Medeiros said.

The students performed particularly well in Earth and space science questions, as well as questions which focused on the physical sciences, such as biology and geology. Students outperformed the state average in physical science questions by 19 points.

The science portion of the test was the only portion judged by "traditional" MCAS standards. MCAS released a new test this year, called "MCAS Next Generation," which many people call "MCAS 2.0." The new test is administered via computer rather than by pencil and paper. While the mathematics and language arts portions of the MCAS test were administered under "Next Generations," the science portion of the test will only be converted to the new format in the next year.

Student performance in the mathematics portion of the test was also high; 76 percent of fifth-graders scored  "exceeding expectations" or "meeting expectations" on the test. The scores put the fifth-graders in the 93rd achievement percentile statewide.

The test results for the English and Language Arts test sections listed Rochester Memorial as falling into the 63rd achievement percentile statewide. Only 57 percent of students met or exceeded expectations on this portion of the test, Medeiros acknowledged.

"It's not a bad thing, really," he added. "We like to keep the average of students who meet or exceed expectations at sixty percent school-wide, but this is the first year the students took this test. For the first year, this is a good place to be."

Among some of the strategies in place to improve scores next year, Medeiros explained, is giving each student a Chromebook so that they can get used to using a computer to take tests.

Addressing the language arts scores, the school is putting in two new higher-level reading strategies: reciprocal reading and partner reading, where students will lead discussions on books they've read, and will read to each other as well.