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GROTON — Happy with students’ overall performance on MCAS testing, officials at the Groton-Dunstable Regional School District nevertheless expressed concern about those who have continued to lag behind.

According to Susan Rubel, district director of curriculum, the number of students passing the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) tests reached into the 85-90 percentile range. Only a relative handful under-performed. But with the ability to retake tests and programs designed to help improve scoring, even those students are expected to achieve the scores required for graduation.

In the meantime, school officials have no intention of easing up in their efforts to make sure each student in the district achieves what the state’s education reform law defines as success in basic English language, math and science skills.

Rubel last week presented School Committee members with an outline for how the administration intends to support success and to shore up slower learners to bring up the district’s overall MCAS performance.

Identifying problem areas in English language skills, Rubel opened her remarks by saying that among elementary students, there seemed to be a disconnect between understanding the mechanics of grammar versus comprehension of the written word.

“At the elementary level, students seem less able to understand inferential questions, especially for non-fiction texts,” Rubel said.

To solve that problem, Rubel suggested that the district purchase more non-fiction books, align non-fiction subjects with what is being taught in the classroom, and train students to identify the main theme in what they read and learn how to draw their own conclusions.

Closely connected with actual reading comprehension is the ability to put ideas down on paper in a logical manner. That was suggested as a way to improve students’ reading comprehension.

A similar approach was suggested to improve math skills. Comprehension, analysis and expression are needed to help students to better grasp the concepts being taught. Another task would be to teach students to explain their methodology in writing.

At the middle school level, concentration would be placed on the use of short texts. Students would be asked to identify the reasons why the author chose a particular setting for the story while picking out key words and phrases for study. Some focus would be on the structure and meaning of poetry.

In the area of math, Rubel urges the middle school to begin after-hours MCAS training earlier in the year. At least three teachers should be dedicated to special support for struggling students.

In the sciences, the middle school should strengthen its astronomy, technology/engineering and bridge-design programs. They shoulld also add more detailed instruction to the earth and physical sciences.

At the high school level, it was advised that reading and writing skills continue to be exercised across all instructional areas. More after-hours study should be promoted, all monitored with ongoing testing and an eye toward MCAS performance.

After-school programs in math and science for the high school are urged, along with a possible summer school. New curriculum development was suggested in history and social studies.

Despite continued rumblings at the state level about having to conform with MCAS requirements, members of the School Committee appeared satisfied with the results, as reflected in student learning.

“There are some good things coming out of MCAS,” School Committee member Peter Carson said, especially in identifying weaknesses in student learning. “And that’s very, very positive to me.”