Cape high school MCAS round-up

Barnstable improves; DY, Monomoy, Sandwich decline

MCAS scores improved at Barnstable High School, while Dennis-Yarmouth’s scores dropped across the board and Monomoy’s math and science scores plummeted.  Sandwich’s math and science/tech/engineering scores fell sharply.

Most Cape area high schools’ MCAS scores remained fairly consistent with last year’s numbers.  The excellent schools remained excellent and the lower scoring schools held their position.

Barnstable improves

95% of the students at Barnstable High School scored advanced or proficient in the spring 2015 MCAS, up from 90% last year. 

In math, Barnstable’s 10th graders improved from 77% advanced/proficient last year to 83% this year.

Barnstable’s science/tech/engineering MCAS grew from 78% advanced/proficient in 2014 to 80% in 2015.

The improvements at Barnstable should help that district in recruiting school choice students.

Dennis-Yarmouth declines

Just when one thought things couldn’t get worse at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, their Grade 10 MCAS scores plummeted across the board. 

In English, DY’s advanced/proficient percentage dropped from 92 last year to 86 this year, the second lowest in the area.

DY’s math scores plummeted from 82% advanced/proficient in 2014 to 67% in 2015.  The troubled district’s science/tech/engineering scores fell from 81% advanced/proficient to 72% this year.

A higher percentage of DY students outright failed grade 10 math and science/tech/engineering than any other area high school.  In Grade 10 English, 3% of DY’s kids failed versus 4% at the much smaller Mashpee High School.

Monomoy disappoints

The good news at Monomoy is that the new school’s 10th graders improved from 93% advanced or proficient in 2014 to 96% this year. 

The bad news is that Monomoy’s percentage of 10th graders advanced or proficient in math dipped from 85% in 2014 to 74% in 2015.  The percentage advanced/proficient in science/tech/engineering fell from 91% in 2014 to only 85% this year.

26% of Monomy’s 10th graders either failed or scored “needs improvement” on the 2015 MCAS versus 15% last year. 

Cracks showing in Sandwich

Sandwich has consistently ranked among the Cape’s strongest school districts in academics.  This year’s Grade 10 MCAS score raise concerns as math advanced/proficient scores fell from 94% in 2014 to 84% this year, while science/tech/engineering advanced/proficient scores dropped from 92% last year to only 78% this year.

Sturgis, Nauset retain crowns

Nauset Regional High School remains the strongest performer of the traditional area high schools while Sturgis Charter retains its crown as one of the finest schools in the state, indeed in the nation.  Nauset remains maxed out on school choice students and Sturgis retains a waiting list large enough to fill a third campus, should they ever decide to expand.

School competition thrives

This year’s high school MCAS scores point to a stronger Barnstable High School – and that should concern the Dennis-Yarmouth region and Sandwich. 

Monomoy’s plummeting scores provide little incentive for a Dennis or Yarmouth family to choice their child to Monomoy.  On the other hand, Barnstable’s respectable numbers may cause families to re-think Barnstable, though they never previously considered the Cape’s largest school district as a choice option.   “Choose big, choose Barnstable” may be a slogan we hear more often in the coming months.

From a “choice” perspective, Monomoy’s high school scores are disastrous.  Despite significant increases in school budgets, Monomoy is not delivering the success many taxpayers expected.  There is little reason for anyone to consider Monomoy as a choice destination and many reasons for Monomoy parents to evacuate their kids to Nauset or Barnstable.

 Within five years, the Cape will likely see additional school district consolidations as choice options de-fund the weaker districts which will then be forced to join the more successful school districts.
Ironically, Dennis-Yarmouth’s continued travails may be the only thing that allows Monomoy to survive a few more years.  Had DY shown a radical turn-around in their performance this year, it may have offered a strong choice option for families trying to escape Monomoy’s academic mediocrity. 

The cracks showing in Sandwich High School may cause some families to consider Barnstable or even Bourne as a choice-out option.  This is the first time in recent years that Sandwich High has exhibited vulnerability in academics. 

Within five years, the Cape will likely see additional school district consolidations as choice options de-fund the weaker districts which will then be forced to join the more successful school districts. 


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