Tenth-graders at The English High
School, a Diplomas Now partner school in Boston, have shown
tremendous increases in math and English scores on state
standardized tests. In math, students' scores have jumped from
just 36 percent proficient or advanced to 66 percent. Similarly,
84 percent of students are proficient or advanced in English,
compared to just 50 percent last year.
The English went from having 34 percent of students
in the bottom tier in math last year to only 12 percent this
year, and from just 13 percent of students in the top tier in
2014 to 32 percent in that range this spring.
On the English part of the test, only 5 percent fell
into the lowest tier this year. Last year, no 10th graders scored
in the advanced range while this year, 10 percent did.
The jump in math scores on the
Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) test was so
dramatic that the state officials withheld
the math scores from September's release of data from schools
across the state. But after a state investigation validated the
results, Mitchell D. Chester, commissioner of elementary and
secondary education, approved
their release last week. "They are an accurate
reflection of what these students have achieved," Chester
told the Boston Globe.
For years, the threat of a
state takeover loomed at The English. Diplomas Now has been
operating at The English since 2011. René Patten, the school's
school transformation facilitator, said the weekly review of data
on student performance, attendance and behavior played a huge
role in the turnaround.
"The school community took
ownership of the early-warning-indicator meetings structured by
Talent Development Secondary and created student-focused
interventions that directly impacted teaching and learning,"
said Patten. "The interventions were implemented and
monitored weekly by the teacher teams. The analysis of ABC
intervention data profoundly impacted the school's ability to
move students forward in their academic gains. When early-warning-indicator
structures were coupled with the support of City Year corps
members in classrooms, teachers were able to ensure that students
were able to make significant progress in their content area
skill sets. As the school became keenly focused on using data to
drive all decision-making in our teaching and learning plans, we
were rewarded consistently with student achievement. We learned
how to enact the Diplomas Now motto of, 'The right intervention
for the right student at the right time' and the payoffs are clear
in this year's MCAS scores."