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New School Accountability System Changes Wrentham's Rating

Wrentham School Superintendent Jeff Marsden said Tuesday night the schools are doing well, but they are working on improvements on the high need students' scores.

 

The Wrentham School Committee discussed the ramifications of the in the Department of Education and Secondary Education Accountability System Tuesday night.

The state required before that all schools have a 100 percent proficient rating in their MCAS scores by 2014, but now they are judged by all their students’ subgroups yearly progress and the decrease of achievement gaps, under the new Race to the Top initiative.

Superintendent Jeff Marsden said while the new system is better, Wrentham’s rating will go from a level 1 district to a level to a level 2 because of the way subgroups impact the rating.

“If you remember [The No Child Left Behind policy] required 100 percent proficiency,” he said. “I’ve stood here before talking about how it doesn’t happen that way. Learning is incremental. NCLB didn’t take that into consideration, 80 percent of mass schools would have been underperforming.”

Marsden added though Massachusetts districts have higher standards and scores than other states, the rating would have made Massachusetts look like its underperforming when it really wasn’t.

He said that high needs students, which include English Language Learners and students with disabilities, are considered in the rating system just as much as non-high needs students.

“Our goal is to get our high needs kids where they need to be and our staff is looking for improvement,” he said. “Fortunately, we’re still doing well, but we really do need to improve on those high needs scores.”

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