From the Principal: October 18, 2019

In the next few days, parents of 4th and 5th graders will receive MCAS Reports from last spring’s MCAS tests.

MCAS, or the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System is a standardized test required for 3rd-5th graders. All students take a Math test and and ELA test. 5th graders also take a Science/Technology/Engineering test.

I wanted to share a few words on MCAS and assessment in general in this week’s Broadside.

Assessment, as defined by the Cambridge Public Schools “is the process of gathering evidence of student understanding to inform instructional decisions. Assessments support the work of effective educators in continually observing, probing, investigating, analyzing and responding to their students' thinking and performance.” (CPS Vision & Principles of CPS Assessment)

We utilize a number of measures to help us better understand student learning. In fact, good teaching requires that a teacher is constantly assessing, informally at least, to better understand each child’s individual path for growth.

While we don’t consider MCAS the core measure of growth, MCAS does provide some helpful information that helps us get a yearly snapshot of the ways we are improving and the ways we need to continue to grow.

If you are receiving MCAS Reports, please do take a look at the information those reports provide. And, remember that they are a snapshot of your child. While we consider MCAS a measure of some elements of progress, so many factors can influence scores. We always triangulate these measures with other information we have about a child including parent input, anecdotal observations, daily performance on classroom tasks, and other informal assessments. We encourage you to do the same. Please reach out if you have concerns and open a conversation about your child’s learning needs.

To learn more about Cambridge’s vision for Assessment, please click here.

To learn more about MCAS, check out this site.

My Best,

Heidi
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