What does this measure?
The percentage of students considered proficient on of the state's 10th grade math test, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS).
Why is this important?
Students must pass the 10th grade MCAS math and English tests in order to graduate high school. Math skills are critical to a variety of careers and important for life skills ranging from budgeting and smart shopping to understanding the news.
How is our county doing?
In 2022, 43% of 10th graders passed the state's math exam, a slight decrease from 2021 and below the state 2022 passing rate of 50%. Passing rates lagged in Lynn (18%), Lawrence (19%) and Salem (26%). The highest passing rates were in Manchester Essex Regional (76%), Hamilton-Wenham (74%) and Masconomet (73%).
Passing rates in 2022 were lower among Hispanic students (22%), and African American and economically disadvantaged students (both at 25%).
How do we compare to similar counties?
Essex County's passing rate was below the 60% passing rate of Middlesex, MA.
Why do these disparities exist?
Studies point to a variety of factors believed to contribute to disparities in test scores and other measures of student achievement. School systems in the United States are highly segregated, and students of color disproportionately attend schools with high proportions of low-income students who may not have benefited from early learning opportunities at the same rate as other students. Schools also have different levels of resources ranging from qualified/experienced teachers to advanced courses to facilities and technology, and schools with large Black and Latino populations often have lower levels. In addition, teachers across all school systems tend to be disproportionately white, and teaching practices and curriculum may not be culturally relevant to students of color.
Notes about the data
As assessments vary among states, it is not possible to include comparable data for the nation or other areas in this indicator.
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education did not administer Spring 2020 MCAS for the 2019-2020 school year due to the cancellation of state assessments and school closures related to COVID-19.
Data prior to 2017 is not comparable due to changes in the state test.
In 2019, next-generation MCAS tests were administered. These next-generation achievement levels differ from the legacy MCAS achievement levels and are reported using a different scale. The next-generation achievement levels are designed to provide an indication of whether a student is on track to succeed in the subject matter and whether extra academic assistance may be needed for the student. Results from the next-generation grade 10 ELA and math tests, which were first administered in 2019, are not comparable to results from prior years.