From the Desk of Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski - November 2017

From the Desk of Stefan Czaporowski, Superintendent of Schools - November 2017
Posted on 11/14/2017
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From the desk of Stefan Czaporowski, Superintendent of Schools

It’s hard to believe that it is the middle of November already and that winter is just around the corner. It is also that time of year when the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education releases district MCAS scores and accountability levels to the public. On November 17, students in grades 3-8 will bring home their results from the next-generation MCAS that were administered last spring. Scores for students in grades 9 and 10 will be mailed, and these students who took the older MCAS, now known as the legacy MCAS, will receive test scores based on the original criteria.

The next-generation MCAS assessment was developed with the involvement of experienced Massachusetts educators from all over the Commonwealth, including Westfield. It is designed to measure mastery of skills and concepts necessary to ensure that every child graduates from high school ready for college or career. Because the next-generation MCAS is a restructured test different from the legacy MCAS, the scores are not comparable. The new MCAS is a more difficult test, and it is expected that the test results will reflect that. There will be fewer students achieving in the higher categories, not because education has been lost, but because the state is applying a higher standard. Test results range from 440 to 560, and scores fall into four levels: Not Meeting Expectations, Partially Meeting Expectations, Meeting Expectations, and Exceeding Expectations.  Students that fall into the Partially or Not Meeting Expectations will receive academic assistance and additional instruction. Students in the Meeting or Exceeding Expectations category are achieving at or above grade level expectations and are on track for academic success.  Grade 9 and 10 students that are taking the legacy MCAS will still be scored in the 200-280 range and fall into the traditional categories of Advanced, Proficient, Needs Improvement, and Warning. The legacy MCAS in English Language Arts and Mathematics will be administered for the final time to 10th grade students next spring.  Current freshmen will take the next-generation ELA and Mathematics MCAS next year as sophomores. For now, the Science MCAS will remain the legacy version. 

Each year, we look forward to receiving MCAS data so that we have valid information on our educational progress.  Participation in the MCAS assessment has significant benefits for the district, schools, parents and students, and teachers.  On the district and school level, MCAS is a tool that allows comparison of performance data in multiple ways; district, school, grade level, student level, and subgroups, including special education students and English language learners. Through our MCAS data, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education holds our district and schools accountable for preparing all students to be college and career ready. MCAS results allow parents and teachers to identify strengths and areas of improvement for their students’ learning.  MCAS data further provides teachers with the data necessary to design instruction based on students’ academic needs.

While these assessment results are only one measure of student success, the analysis of this data allows us to better serve students in our district.  Further information on how to better understand the changes in the next generation MCAS or how to read your child’s MCAS report can be found on the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website at http://www.doe.mass.edu/odl/e-learning/mcas-parentguide/content/index.html#/?_k=1z665b. If you have any additional questions about the MCAS or about assessment in general, please feel free to contact your student’s school or Mrs. Denise Ruszala, Director of Assessment and Accountability at 413-642-9320.  Finally, I’d like to wish a safe and happy Thanksgiving to all our students, parents, staff, and families.    


Stefan Czaporowski
Superintendent of Schools
Westfield Public Schools