Four Rivers pleased with MCAS scores

GREENFIELD — For the second straight year, and the third time in the last five, all Four Rivers Charter Public School 10th-graders scored proficient or advanced on their English/language arts MCAS scores.

That accomplishment, coupled with signs of growth in all grades, has administrators pleased with overall student performance on the standardized test.

“We are proud of our results, once again,” said Principal Peter Garbus. “Our performance on the 10th-grade exams shows consistent high achievement over the past five years. Even more significant to us is the growth that takes place in our school from seventh and eighth grade to 10th.”

Four Rivers’ eighth-graders saw a slight improvement in ELA scores, up six points in proficiency rate from 80 percent to 86 percent (which equals an increase of three students). Improving students’ answers to open response questions was one of the school’s goals after analyzing last year’s MCAS scores, said Garbus.

“A key goal is to teach kids how to become good communicators ... they write a lot, they get teacher and peer feedback, and they revise,” he said. “The attention we give to reading and writing seems to be paying off.”

Math scores were down slightly from last year. Eighth-graders had a proficiency rate of 42 percent, compared to 54 percent last year, while 10th-graders had a rate of 86 percent, compared to 97 percent last year.

Because of the low number of students in each grade, changes are expected from year to year, said Garbus. In grades that fluctuated between 34 and 36 students, those percentages equate to four fewer eighth-graders and three fewer 10th-graders who scored proficient or better, compared to last year.

The staff met earlier this week to analyze the scores and come up with goals for the academic year, said Garbus.

He also highlighted an accomplishment of the school’s seniors. Because of their MCAS scores as 10th-graders, 20 of the school’s 34 seniors have earned John and Abigail Adams scholarships. The scholarships entitle them to free tuition at University of Massachusetts campuses, state universities and community colleges.

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