LEICESTER, Mass. — Leicester's spring MCAS scores were released Wednesday, with the district's students making leaps of improvement over 2011, according to Superintendent Paul Soojian.
The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) is designed to meet the requirements of the state Education Reform Law of 1993. Students are tested annually and must pass the grade 10 tests in English Language Arts, math and one of the four high school science and engineering/technology tests to receive their diploma.
A report released by the Department of Education showed that overall, the district's math scores were 58 percent proficient or higher, compared to the state's 59 percent; English Language Arts scores were 67 percent proficient or higher, compared to the state's 69 percent, and Science and Engineering scores were 63 percent above proficient, compared to the state's 54 percent.
Additionally, at grade 10 math, 40 percent scored in the advanced category, 35 percent of scores were proficient, with only 12 percent needing improvement and 2 percent failing.
"We made a good jump there," said Soojian. "Eighty-five percent of our kids were in the top two categories."
Furthermore, in grade 10 English Language Arts, Soojian said, "We were at 24 in advanced last year and we're up to 33, so we had a significant push to the top level."
Additional 2012 grade 10 ELA scores were 59 percent proficient, 7 percent in need of improvement and 1 percent failing.
Soojian attributed some of the improvements to changes made to the curriculum, such as concentrating on writing in the sophomore year.
"That's where we had a little bit of a weakness; and clearly it paid off, because the numbers show we made significant improvements."
Soojian said changes made to the middle school math curriculum also yielded good results, which helped raise grade 8 math scores to 61 percent proficient or higher, compared to the state's 52 percent.
"Overall, when you take a look at the numbers, it really is impressive," said Soojian.