Monday, October 8, 2012

The Level 4 List: Charlotte M. Murkland Elementary (Lowell, MA)

The Charlotte M. Murkland Elementary School in Lowell, which serves grades Pre-K through 4th grade, was named to the state's Level 4 school list in January 2010. Murkland's student population is a little over half Asian and a third Hispanic; the low income population has ranged from 80 to 86.5% since 2007-08 while the Limited English proficiency population has ranged between 36.5 and 44.4%. In 2011-12, 60.9% of students spoke English as a second language (Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education).

On the 2009 MCAS exam, just 15% of students overall were proficient or advanced in English Language Arts (ELA) while a quarter were proficient or better in math. The year before that over half of the 4th grade students received a 'Warning/Failing' score on the ELA exam. Additionally, in 2008-09 students missed an average of 11.8 days of school and the attendance rate was just under 93%.

Since being designated a Level 4 school, proficiency rates on the MCAS exams have improved at Murkland. Below are the percentage of students who were proficient or better on each section of the exam from 2009 - 2012.


It should be noted that the percentage of students who received a 'Warning/Failing' score has decreased as well. In 2008, 46% of students failed the ELA exam while 33% of students failed math; in 2012, 18% of students failed ELA while 12% failed math. Alternatively, the percentage of students achieving an advanced mark in ELA increased 4 points while the percentage of advanced math scores increased 11 points. In terms of growth, all subgroups improved above target in both math and ELA. Murkland was also in the 76th percentile in math for Hispanic/Latino students and the 70th percentile for low income students in this grade span. There is still much room for improvement, however, as there were no students with disabilities who were either proficient or advanced in ELA in 2012; males also lagged behind females in both subject areas.  Most importantly, two-thirds of students were not proficient in ELA in 2012 and over half not proficient in math. Overall, the school was in the 23rd percentile relative to schools serving a common grade and if it were not for the Level 4 designation, would qualify this year for Level 1 status.

Test scores are not the only area of improvement. The attendance rate and average number of absences has also improved.

Avg. # Absences11.81114.99.4
Attendance Rate92.9%93.4%91.0%94.4%

If the school meets all of the requirements, Murkland can exit Level 4 status at the end of the 2012 - 13 school year.


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