By Chelsea Feinstein

PEPPERELL -- The North Middlesex Regional School District is largely on par with state proficiency, based on MCAS testing results released Sept. 20.

The average scores for all grades showed that 61 percent of North Middlesex students tested as proficient or higher in math, while 53 percent were proficient or higher in science and technology. Both of these numbers match the state proficiency exactly.

For English, 73 percent of all students tested proficient or higher, compared with 69 percent of students statewide.

Superintendent Joan Landers said in a statement that she is particularly pleased with the 10th grade English scores, which show a 96 percent proficiency rate.

"We are pleased to see these results and acknowledge that the high school's school-wide initiative focusing on reading has yielded positive results. Scores in mathematics, science and technology remain stable," Landers said.

Students in third grade were ahead of their statewide counterparts by at least six percentage points in both reading and math. They are not tested in science and technology.

Fifth- and sixth-graders also superseded the statewide scores in all subject areas.

Science and technology scores were low for eighth-graders, with just 32 percent proficiency compared to 39 percent statewide.

For 10th graders, the science and technology scores jumped up to 78 percent proficiency, compared with 71 percent at the state level.


Landers also cited improvements from last year among third- and fifth-graders as one of the major successes in the scores.

"Overall, at the elementary and middle school level, achievement rates varied in ELA, mathematics, science and technology with no notable increase in achievement. However, there was a significant increase in our fifth grade scores in ELA and mathematics and third-grade mathematics," Landers said.

Tenth-graders posted some of the district's strongest scores, with 96 percent proficiency in English compared to 91 percent statewide, 85 percent in math compared to the state's 80 percent and 78 percent in science and technology compared with 71 percent across Massachusetts.

Landers emphasized that her analysis of the data was only preliminary, but more work is being done to make sense of the scores.

"The district administration plans to meet in the coming weeks with the leadership team, curriculum associates and teacher leaders to further analyze the data," she said.

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