hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

School News

October 5, 2011

Special ed students have big drop in MCAS scores

Teachers work against downward trend

Special education students suffered significant setbacks in their 2011 MCAS scores, school officials said.

Haverhill's schools made progress with the other student subgroups tracked by the state — students from low income families and those with limited English skills — but experienced significant dips in the scores of special education students at several schools.

According to data released by the district, none of Haverhill school's special education student groups scored above 80 percent on the comprehensive performance index (CPI).

The CPI is a 100 point scale used by the state to rate a school's overall MCAS performance in both the English language arts and math tests.

State education officials want all math scores to meet or exceed a score of 92 points and English scores to reach 95 by 2014 across all student populations.

Some drops were relatively minor, such as the two-point dip in math scores at Haverhill High, but a few schools saw the scores of their special education students decrease by 10 points or more.

Schools that had large drops in their scores included: Pentucket Lake Elementary, Nettle Middle School, Whittier Middle School and Golden Hill Elementary.

Superintendent James Scully and other school officials said are working to reverse the downward trend.

Bonnie Antkowiak, principal of Golden Hill Elementary School, said her staff kicked up their efforts to reverse the 14-point drop which that school's students experienced in special ed English MCAS scores — a dip from 70 points to 56.

Antkowiak said her staff will primarily focus on improving students' responses on essay portions of the test and encourage teachers to take part in a workshop offered through Lesley University in Cambridge.

Golden Hill scores did improve in almost all other subgroups.

Hunking Middle School bucked the trend this year, however, with positive gains in both tests.

"That's a credit to the kids that have done that work and the staff who have put in the long hours," Hunking Principal David Cook said.

He said the school's success came primarily through special education students participating in alternative testing methods, typically putting together a portfolio of work rather than taking standardized tests, and frequent teacher meetings.

According to the state Department of Education website, Haverhill has 54 special ed teachers and 1,292 special education students. That is about a quarter of the city's student population.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
School News
  • Schools protect students with food allergies Posted 24 days ago
  • hunking2

    MARY SCHWALM/Staff photo Dena Papanikolaou, a parent organizer, talks to parents packing a room to hear about a proposal for the new school to replace Hunking. This February meeting was a kickoff to their campaign. 2/6/14

    Bradford to get new school Posted 45 days ago 2 Photos
  • 140606_et_tje_havgrad_13

    Graduates applaud and cheer for their classmates.

    'Hillie Nation' celebrates the Class of 2014 Posted 45 days ago 6 Photos
  • Write Away!! Contest celebrates 23rd year Posted 45 days ago
  • 140603_HG_MSC_HUNKING

    MARY SCHWALM/Staff photo Lisa Prendergast, left, and Melissa Seavey stand with Lisa's son John, 7, as he holds a sign in support of a new school to replace Hunking School. In the background is the Hunking.

    If voters approve, new school project starts in spring Posted 52 days ago 1 Photo
  • 140529_HG_CRU_WHITTIER_29

    CARL RUSSO/Staff photo Jonathan Maker, right, of Rowley, Whittier Regional High's valedictorian at this year's graduation ceremony, and his father, Donny Maker, a graduate of Whittier's Class of 1974, hug before the ceremony.

    Father and son graduate from Whittier 40 years apart Posted 52 days ago 1 Photo
  • Thursday, May 29, 2014
  • 140522_HG_HAND_ALINA

    Courtesy photo Russian exchange student Alina Skripets, 17, plays the character Annabella in the Haverhill High School senior class production of Alfred Hitchock's "The 39 Steps." At left is senior Alex Zylkuski in the role of Richard Hannay.

    From Russia to Haverhill Posted 59 days ago 1 Photo
  • Thursday, May 22, 2014
  • necc2

    TIM JEAN/Staff photos Hayley Carlin and Elizabeth Simpson, both of Methuen, give the thumbs up sign at the start of the graduation ceremony.

    NECC graduation generates excitement Posted 66 days ago 6 Photos
  • Thursday, May 15, 2014
  • 140429_ET_ASW_TREE_3

    Tom Minichiello of the Haverhill Exchange Club helps the students in Judy Reilly's first-grade class sort, bag and tag pine saplings, for distribution by the club to first-graders in Haverhill, Groveland and Salem, N.H.

    Tiny trees for tiny kids Posted 73 days ago 4 Photos
  • Thursday, May 8, 2014
  • 140502_HG_RHU_HEARTS_004

    Sacred Hearts first-grader Grace Wafford shows off her image of what she thinks she will look like at 75 years old.

    Cherishing the past, celebrating the present Posted 80 days ago 5 Photos

Photos of the Week