Haverhill and communities across the state are learning the pandemic indeed took its toll on student achievement, as measured by MCAS scores.
Despite mirroring declining math trends statewide, however, 10th graders in Haverhill’s and Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School actually improved in English language scoring this year.
“The MCAS tests administered in the spring provide Massachusetts educators and families with critical insight into where students did not progress academically, and the results clearly illustrate how the disrupted school year of remote and hybrid learning impacted students’ academic achievement,” said Secretary of Education James Peyser.
The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said results show many more students statewide had gaps in their knowledge of math and, to a lesser extent, English language arts, compared to students in the same grades before the COVID-19 pandemic. Fewer students also met or exceeded grade level expectations. The state did not administer MCAS tests in spring 2020, near the start of the pandemic, so this year’s scores were compared with 2019.
Statewide, 46% of students in grades 3-8 scored meeting expectations or higher in English language arts in 2021, and 33% did so in math. Both of these represent a drop compared to 2019, when 52% scored at that level in English language arts and 49% did so in math.
In Haverhill specifically, 32% of 3-8 students met or exceeded expectations in English and 18% in math this year versus 39% and 36% respectively in 2019. In Methuen, 38% elementary students met or exceeded expectations in English and 23% in math versus 43% in English and 41% in math.
For 10th grade English language arts, 64% of students scored meeting expectations or higher compared to 61% in 2019. In 10th grade math, 52% of students scored meeting expectations or higher, compared to 59% in 2019 statewide.
Looking just at Haverhill Public Schools, 50% of 10th grade students met or exceeded expectations in English and 34% in math this year compared with 45% and 41% respectively in 2019. In Methuen, 51% met or exceeded expectations in English and 38% in math versus 45% and 47% respectively. At Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School, 50% of 10th grade students met or exceeded expectations in English and 49% in math this year compared to 47% and 50% respectively in 2019.
“This data will help shed light on where additional support is most needed and as districts determine how to best use federal relief funds and state aid, these results can help inform their approach,” said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley.
Families will receive their child’s MCAS scores after Sept. 30.
Due to the disruption caused by the pandemic, and following a vote by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in June, DESE is not issuing new accountability determinations for districts and schools this year.