All grade levels are close to on par with state averages; Malden High School and English Learners show dramatic improvements
By Steve Freker
The Malden Public Schools showed a measured degree of improvement in their newest MCAS score results, with higher scores than most school districts similar to MPS.
According to the Mass. Department of Education (DOE) the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) – administered each year – “helps teachers, parents, and students know where students are excelling and where they need help.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ligia Noriega-Murphy and her team made a detailed presentation of the results at the October regular Malden School Committee meeting. Pamela Stazesky, Data Analyst for the Malden Public Schools, delivered the Malden schools MCAS results.
Some drastic changes had adverse effects on the testing process, particularly the once-in-100 years pandemic, which began in spring 2020 and continued through 2022. There were also substantial changes in both the MCAS testing platform itself, as well as in the Malden Public Schools curriculum. In 2020 there was no MCAS testing, and in 2021 the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) mandated that half the regular testing platform was administered. In 2022, full MCAS testing was administered.
Improvements were cited in the 2023 testing – exceeding targets – from the 2022 results. She noted that the “pandemic slide” had halted and that targets for improvements were either met in some areas, or “very close to meeting targets.” Malden High School’s grade 10 students made perhaps the most dramatic improvement with a rise from an overall testing score of 17 on the DESE scale, all the way to 60.
The presenters on behalf of Central Administration were particularly encouraged, they told the School Committee, due to the improvement by English Learners, those whose first language is not English and are in immersive English language learner classes. The progress toward English language proficiency showed results that had doubled in positive results. Malden Public Schools has over 1,000 students in this category of the 6,300 enrolled overall.
“We are encouraged by the overall results, as there are improvements at a lot of grade levels and at various schools,” Supt. Noriega-Murphy told the School Committee, “but we have more work to do, and there are many areas where there could be improvement. We are grateful to our educators who are so passionate about helping our students achieve success in our district.”
Malden’s data analyst Stazesky explained that Malden is very close in all categories, and equal in some, to the Massachusetts state average – all schools – which was also encouraging, she said. Another highly positive aspect of Malden’s MCAS testing results, Stazesky explained, is that from the 2022 results, there is a program called DART – which appears on the DESE website – where Malden stacks up very well to the 10 “alike” districts and communities.
The 10 communities in Malden’s “alike districts” are Barnstable, Brockton, Chicopee, Everett, Lowell, Lynn, Marlborough, Milford, Revere and Waltham. Malden was below only two of these communities – Barnstable and Milford – in most grades and categories, and above all others. Malden was far above nearby districts, including Everett, Revere, Lynn in particular, as well as Brockton, Chicopee and Waltham in most categories.
The results of the MCAS testing across the district are available by viewing the presentation on the DESE website: www.mcas.doe.edu
More on Malden’s MCAS results will appear in next week’s edition.