SOUTHWICK — Powder Mill School Principal Erin Carrier said last week that the MCAS scores of Powder Mill School students showed minimal learning loss among students even after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted education.
Carrier told the Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School Committee on Oct. 19 that all grade levels have either met or exceeded the state average score for the standardized test administered in spring 2021. In the math and English-language arts tests, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grades consistently had the same ratio of students who “met expectations” as the state, and consistently had a smaller ratio of students in the “not meeting” and “partially meeting” benchmark categories.
“These are the really solid numbers we want to see,” said Carrier.
Carrier said she took the MCAS date for each grade and compared it to how the same students did when they took the test previously. For current sixth graders, she found that there was a slight increase in the number of students who partially met the benchmark, though the data may be skewed because seven percent of parents opted their kids out of the data tracing. For current seventh graders, she found that a higher percentage of students did not meet the benchmark, a higher percentage of students also met and exceeded the benchmark than they had in previous years for language arts.
In math, there was a more noticeable improvement among current sixth and seventh graders, with fewer students not meeting the benchmark.
Through the data, Carrier determined that there was minimal learning loss among Powder Mill students after their education had been disrupted by the pandemic. Like all public schools, Powder Mill closed its building in March 2020 and students had to attend classes online. Remote learning at Southwick schools continued into the 2020-21 school year.
Southwick Regional School Principal Joseph Turmel is expected to give a presentation on high school MCAS data at the next School Committee meeting.
Superintendent Jennifer Willard said earlier this month that all grades in the three-town district had done better than the state average in the MCAS tests. She noted that this year, test results were used in more of a diagnostic sense than in previous years, considering the expected educational impact on the pandemic. She also noted that the test students took last year was a shortened version from that of the past.