Tech MCAS scores up

TURNERS FALLS — Franklin County Technical School students performed well enough on the spring Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System tests to lift the school a level in the state’s five-step ranking.

The school slipped from the highest level into Level 3 last year following disappointing math performance, but is up to Level 2 after improvement the school called “remarkable.”

The school’s 17 percent increase in math was the highest level of growth among all vocational schools in Massachusetts, according to a release from the school.

This spring, 70 percent of 10th-graders scored proficient or higher on the math portion of the test, up from 53 percent last year, but short of this year’s state average 80 percent. Scores in both the English and math assessments were also higher than they were in 2010, when the school was ranked in Level 1.

Grade 10 students also scored a three-year high on the English test, with 88 ranked as proficient or advanced.

Principal Richard Martin attributed the improvement to targeted intervention including the hiring of an additional math instructor halfway through the last school year, curriculum realignment and the introduction of math software allowing students to continue math studies during their shop weeks. Tech students alternate weeks in the classroom and the vocational shops.

“Our intervention strategies worked. This will not be a one-year anomaly,” Martin said.

The school pointed to the difference in student scores before and after they entered the technical school, which teaches grades 9 through 12.

According to the school, only 22 percent of the 10th-graders who took the tests this spring scored as proficient or advanced when tested in eighth grade, outside the district. That rate more than tripled to reach 70 percent this spring.

For the first time in 15 years of MCAS tests, no tech students failed the test. The zero percent failure rate is down from a slim 2 percent last year.

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