26 Boston Schools With Low Test Scores at Risk of Being Declared ‘Underperforming'

More than two dozen schools in Boston with low standardized tests are at risk of being declared "underperforming," new analysis shows.

According to the Boston Globe, the analysis was presented to the Boston School Committee last week, but many people say standardized tests are the problem and that the study is misleading.

Every year, Massachusetts identifies the bottom 4 percent of schools by way of standardized testing. Officials with Boston Public Schools decided to do their own study to get results.

"This was an opportunity, so instead of being reactive when the state identifies a school that's low performing for turnaround, the district was trying to avoid that," said Jessica Tang, president of Boston's Teacher's Union.

Boston public schools issued a statement regarding the study:

"BPS is taking a proactive, data-driven approach to supporting our schools whose performance evaluations were ranked in the bottom 10 percent statewide. BPS is committed to providing additional budgetary and instructional supports to ensure students at these schools are able to achieve academic success," read the statement.

But Tang said the preliminary study is causing false alarms.

"So it's very misleading to say all schools are at risk of turnaround when that's in fact not the case," she said.

Elementary schools use a new standardized test — MCAS 2.0, and according to Tang, that’s not a fair measure.

"It's not actually helping the schools that need support. Our ELl students — even if they have only been in the country for one year — are asked to take the same exact same test that someone who has been speaking English their whole lives is taking," Tang said.

Blackstone Elementary is a school that was underperforming in 2010 and is back on the list despite big improvements.

"The facts are the facts but there are money, other elements that need to be looked at besides just the numbers. The school has made tremendous progress in terms of teacher's they brought on board," said Bill Wolff, President of Friends of Blackstone Elementary.

Tang said a new accountability system is what the school system should be looking towards.

"We know other factors besides just test scores really impact how much students can learn and how much growth they have," Tang said.

Elementary and high school will not be in danger of shutting down this year because of the new testing system; however, high schools could be placed in a lower accountability tiers by Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, as their scores come out in October.

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