AS THE the former headmaster of Brookline High, now a professor of educational leadership at Boston University, I have been a strong supporter of MCAS to improve the performance of students in all schools. I always look carefully at the scores. Over the past few years, I have noticed a disturbing pattern in many charter school results.
In charters that enroll students in grades 7-12, enrollments in grade 10 are often significantly lower than enrollments in grade 8, and scores on the grade 10 MCAS are dramatically higher than scores in grade 8.
At the highly regarded MATCH Charter School, 76 students took the grade 8 MCAS in 2012. Seven percent scored in the advanced category on the English test and 18 percent scored advanced on the math test. On the 2014 grade 10 test, that cohort shrank from 76 to 59. Forty-four percent of these students scored advanced on English and 83 percent scored advanced on the math test.
Other highly regarded charters such as Academy of the Pacific Rim, Francis Parker, and Boston Prep show similar patterns. I’m wondering what’s behind all of these numbers.