Elementary, GMS students to take PARCC

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The Canton School Committee agreed with the recommendations of Interim School Superintendent Jen Henderson and decided last week that elementary and middle school students would begin preparing for the new “MCAS 2.0” test by taking the PARCC exam in various forms this spring.

Elementary students will take a paper-and-pencil version of the test while middle school students will take the test on computer.

Henderson said she reached her decision after consultation with many teachers as well as the district technology department. The state Department of Education will administer the new hybrid MCAS in the spring of 2017, and Henderson said the assessment questions and rigor will be “PARCC-like.” Overall, she said taking the PARCC tests in the coming spring would give students two years of exposure.

By taking the PARCC tests rather than MCAS, the district will be “held harmless” this year, and in 2017 it will receive results but they will not impact the district’s accountability levels.

Also at the December 17 meeting, committee members began discussing results from the spring 2015 MCAS test. Jayne Moore, interim director of curriculum and instruction, made the presentation. She said additional information will be presented at future meetings when individual school improvement plans are presented.

According to Moore, the Hansen School repeated as a Level 1 school while the remainder of the schools in the district retained Level 2 status. Statewide, 71 schools are currently at Level 1 and 237 schools are at Level 2. Looking at the results, School Committee Chairman Bob Golledge said there is still work to be done to improve math scores and more attention should be given to high needs students.

In other news Thursday night, School Business Manager Barry Nectow said that Finance Director Jim Murgia, within days of the committee meeting informally with selectmen, suggested that the schools file a warrant article requesting funding for full-day kindergarten at the upcoming May town meeting …

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