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2023 MCAS results show Massachusetts has "long way to go" to recover from pandemic learning loss

2023 MCAS results show Massachusetts has "long way to go" to recover from pandemic learning loss
2023 MCAS results show Massachusetts has "long way to go" to recover from pandemic learning loss 02:51

BOSTON - The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released the results of the 2023 MCAS exams Tuesday.

The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System "helps the Commonwealth identify schools and districts that need additional support," and "reports your child's scores in new categories that better show whether your child is meeting expectations in their grade level," according to the state website.

Last year's MCAS scores showed students hadn't recovered from pandemic learning loss.

In a meeting of state education leaders Tuesday, DESE Commissioner Jeff Riley announced he was pleased with the 2023 results.

"Both the 2023 English/Language Arts and Mathematics results indicate that the achievement slide caused by the pandemic appears to have halted and that recovery is fully underway," Riley said.

Riley said in grades three to eight, schools either maintained or increased the percentage of students meeting or exceeding expectations from 2022.

"We are thrilled by these results," Rob Curtin of DESE said in the meeting.

Still, the results show academic achievement is not where it was pre-pandemic.

"Pandemic learning loss is a national problem, but these results show signs of recovery thanks to the hard work of educators, students, families, and staff," said Education Secretary Patrick Tutwiler. "We know there is still much to be done, and we will continue to improve and strengthen our schools until every student can access the supports and resources they need to succeed."

Ed Lambert, executive director of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, said the results are "sobering."

"There's still a long way to go in terms of recovery from the pandemic. Progress has been pretty humbling," Lambert said. "I understand there's a glass half full argument to be made here. The slide has stopped and we're in a recovery phase. By the same token, everyone including the commissioner would agree that we can't lose this generation of students because of the pandemic."

Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey reacted to the results.

"I think we all know through COVID that there were consequences to COVID, and it is our priority to ensure we are doing all we can to address any disparities that exist and make sure we are paying close attention to those trends," Healey said. 

Full scores are available here.  For information on district and school accountability, click here.

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