Alma scholars closing achievement gap on MCAS


NEW BEDFORD – Sept. 27, 2018 – For the sixth straight year, Alma del Mar showed strong performance on the statewide MCAS tests. Alma’s passage rate on MCAS significantly surpassed the state average in Math and nearly matched the state average in English. Alma’s middle school scholars were the highest performing students in the city in both subjects, while Alma third graders passed the Math MCAS at the same rate as students in Wellesley.

“We created Alma to be a game-changing school for kids from New Bedford,” said Will Gardner, Founder and Executive Director of Alma del Mar. “These results affirm that we are on our way toward that mission.”

This year’s data affirms that students with higher needs do particularly well at Alma. Most notably, Alma scholars classified as English language learners passed the MCAS at twice the rate of their statewide peers. In addition, students with disabilities at Alma passed the MCAS at nearly twice the rate of their statewide peers in math and at an 8% higher rate in English. Students of color, a group historically underserved by public schools nationwide, fare better at Alma, according to this recent data. Both African American and Latino scholars at Alma passed the MCAS at nearly double the rate of their statewide peers.

“I want to emphasize that we’re not the only public school in New Bedford that gets great results with a high needs population,” Gardner said. “We applaud the work of our colleagues at Congdon and Rodman, who are truly moving the needle for their students.”

Gardner added: “We’re also pleased to see our performance continues to improve, even as we grew our student population by an additional 20% this past year. This shows that our talented teachers are capable of leading even our new arrivals to significant gains in less than a year.”

Alma del Mar serves 440 New Bedford children in grades K-8. The student population is predominantly comprised of minority and low-income students: In SY17-18, 51% of Alma scholars were Hispanic, 13% African American; 72% met the “high needs” criteria as determined by the state. English Language Learners and Former English Language Learners make up 40% of the school’s population.

Other highlights of Alma’s 2018 MCAS performance:

  • 50% of Alma scholars schoolwide passed the English MCAS, up from 45% in 2017.
  • 76% of Alma 3rd grade scholars passed the Math test, compared to 50% of 3rd grade students statewide.
  • 61% of Alma 5th grade scholars passed the English test, compared to 54% of 5th grade students statewide.
  • 61% of Alma 6th grade scholars passed the Math test, compared to a statewide average of 48% for grade 6.
  • Scholars who are identified as economically disadvantaged by the state scored in the 87th percentile on the Math MCAS compared to their peers statewide.

Alma del Mar’s full MCAS results, as well as the statewide passing rates, are below:



% Exceeding or Meeting


% Exceeding or Meeting

  Alma del Mar State Alma del Mar State
3rd 60 52 76 50
4th 28 53 58 48
5th 61 54 43 46
6th 57 50 61 48
7th 45 46 38 46
8th 48 51 43 49


Posted in Alma Profiles

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