Framingham High School appealed its Level 3 ranking by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), which it believed was an error, and won its appeal; and will be categorized as a Level 2 school.
The high school was given a level 3 rating, which school leaders described as a technicality, based on “extremely low level of participation by ELL (English Language Learner) students on the spring 2012 MCAS ELA (English Language Arts) exam."
"I was shocked by this, as our results were spectacular and I was sure this was a mistake," High School Principal Michael Welch told parents in his weekly newsletter.
The state, if a school has a participation rate in any category below 90%, they are automatically categorized as Level 3.
Framingham High "was listed by the DESE as having an ELL participation rate of
88% on the ELA exam. Essentially, this amounted to one single student more than would be permitted," explained Welch to parents.
"When I found out this was the reason for the ‘Level 3’ designation, I was livid," said Welch.
"I was positive we had tested every student who was supposed to complete the exams. The DESE dictates that ELL students who have been in this country for one year or less are exempt from taking the MCAS ELA exam. I was convinced that there was a data coding error, and FHS Data & Testing Coordinator Matthew Corcoran poured over our data looking for any clues as to what happened," wrote Welch to parents.
"Sure enough, he found six students who were incorrectly coded, and we proceeded to hound the DESE every day trying to appeal our ‘Level 3’ designation," said Welch.
"Finally, on Thursday last week I received a call that confirmed our suspicions and the DESE has announced that they have granted our appeal and will soon be re-categorizing FHS at ‘Level 2’, as we should have been all along."
The newsletter to high school parents indicated a press release would be forthcoming.
More than a dozen high school parents forwarded this newsletter to Framingham Patch.