, Salem, MA

Local News

September 21, 2013

Salem 2013 MCAS scores 'flat'

Changes may be coming at Level 4 Bentley


Bentley’s scores were generally lower this year in English, math and science/technology.

While not being specific, Russell said he expects to make “changes” at Bentley.

“We’re taking more aggressive action in turning that school around,” he said. “It’s evident that we’re not meeting the mark to the degree we need to, and there needs to be more aggressive decisions made around how best we do that.”

Bentley is the city’s only Level 4 school. As a result, the district is rated Level 4 because school districts are classified based on the rating of the lowest-performing school.

Of all the city’s elementary schools, Bentley has the highest number of students who are low-income or have limited proficiency in English, according to statistics from last year. And, like other city schools, it is only beginning to put in place new programs and initiatives that officials hope will produce higher scores in coming years.

Bates School, another elementary school, had a Level 3 rating a few years ago and has climbed all the way to Level 1.

“We were all quite excited when we got the news,” said Bates Principal Tom LaValley.

While crediting the hard word of students and staff, and the school’s focus on visual and musical arts, LaValley said his students benefited from a new initiative, a testing and data assessment program done with a consultant, The Achievement Network.

The consultants test students during the school year, analyze the data and work with teachers to re-teach areas where children are having difficulty.

After taking ANet tests, the Bates students “felt more confident taking the (MCAS) test,” LaValley said. “It kind of lessened the test anxiety and gave them more self-confidence.”

Saltonstall moved up a level, in large part, because it corrected a technical problem in last year’s testing.

Tom Dalton can be reached at




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