Each year, all Massachusetts public school students in grades 3-8 and 10 take the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) in English language arts, mathematics, and science/technology (in grades 5, 8 and 10 only). The MCAS serves as a critical benchmark for parents, schools, and the state in measuring student progress and determining student readiness to move to the next grade level.
For many Phoenix students, the 10th grade MCAS is a particularly significant hurdle: earning a passing score is required to receive a Massachusetts high school diploma. Each year, students enroll in Phoenix after struggling, and failing, to pass the exams in other schools. Our AmeriCorps Fellowship Program provides these students, and all students preparing to take the tests, with the individualized attention they need to fill missing skill gaps.
As a result of our scholars’ perseverance and determination, as well as the intensive support from Phoenix Fellows and teachers, Phoenix’s 10th grade MCAS scores have grown consistently over time. Phoenix students’ achievement on the MCAS is proof of their ability to beat the odds, as well our Network’s ability to successfully turn around a struggling district and replicate our model with fidelity.
As Phoenix scholars outperform their peers at traditional public schools, they prove that all alternative schools that serve high-risk students can demand high academic achievement from every student.