Lower MCAS scores show lingering effects of Covid-19
Wareham students scored lower on the MCAS in 2022 than in previous years, which Assistant Superintendent Andrea Schwamb says is a result of Covid-19’s lingering effects.
According to new data released by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the percentage of Wareham students who “met or exceeded expectations” declined in nearly every subject and every grade from the last comprehensive MCAS exam in 2019.
The MCAS measures student performance in math, science and English language arts, or ELA, for grades five, eight and ten. It measures math and ELA skills in grades three, four, six and seven.
Compared to the 2019 MCAS, the greatest decreases were in 10th-grade math, where there was a 36% decline in the number of students who met or exceeded expectations; 8th-grade math, where there was a 68% decline in the number of students who met or exceeded expectations; and 6th-grade ELA, where there was a 47% decline in the number of students who met or exceeded expectations.
Additionally, the percentage of Wareham students who met or exceeded expectations on the 2022 MCAS was lower than the state average for every subject in every grade.
Schwamb said the 2019 MCAS was the last “full test” that was given by the state before the beginning of the pandemic. The 2020 MCAS was canceled due to Covid-19, and the 2021 MCAS was only a partial exam, she said.
Many 10th-grade students haven’t taken a complete MCAS exam since 5th grade because of Covid-19 cancellations, said Schwamb, adding that low-income students and students with disabilities were the most affected by changes caused by Covid-19.
Around 70% of the district’s students are low-income, and around 25% have disabilities, she said.
“Under [Covid-19] conditions, our kids [needed] to be in school to be successful, and there were a lot of struggles,” she said, referring to low-income students and students with disabilities.
However, according to Schwamb, the district’s low-income students and students with disabilities did see growth in their math MCAS scores in 2022, ”which means that more kids are understanding and moving forward,” she said.
Schwamb is confident that with the help of the school district, all students will make it out of the Covid-19 rut.
She explained that the school district has a “really significant” early literacy program and that all of the academic support programs offered in the Wareham School District are too numerous to mention.
“Everything that we do is student-focused — everything we do is to try to create equity in information so the kids can excel not only here but in life as we move ahead,” she said.