WORCESTER – The 2017 MCAS scores of Chandler Elementary Community School are still under review after nearly six months.

According to Massachusetts Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education [DESE] spokesperson Jacqueline Reis, the scores are still currently under review by the DESE, but she was unable to provide any other information.

The scores, which have been under investigation since October 2017, are the only MCAS scores in the state that were not released and held for review, according to an Oct. 18 report by the Telegram & Gazette.

According to Worcester Public Schools spokesperson Kate Kerr, the school department has yet to receive any information from the DESE regarding the review of the scores and are unsure what the status of the investigation is.

Kerr said, “[The DESE] hasn’t told us anything yet. We don’t know what the hold up is. They haven’t shared any information with us.”

According to Reis, there isn’t a “typical timetable for an investigation, because the circumstances around each are unique.” As far as Reis knew, no other agency beyond the DOE were investigating Chandler Elementary’s MCAS scores.

In an email to ThisWeekinWorcester.com, School Committee member Molly O. McCullough said, “I believe that after almost six months, it would be beneficial to at least have a status update from DESE as to where they are in the review process.”

“In turn, the WPS administration could then provide pertinent updates to the community as they are informed by DESE,” McCullough added.

This isn’t the first time Chandler Elementary’s scores came under investigation. In 2003, a Chandler teacher and the principal at the time, Irence C. Adamaitis, were placed on leave during an investigation of inappropriate practices distributing the MCAS tests.  Adamaitis ultimately resigned and surrender her teaching and principal licenses, according to the T&G.

More recently in Worcester, in 2010, Goddard Elementary school’s MCAS scores were invalidated after the DOE had found teachers were giving students answers.

School Committee member Brian O’Connell said that the school committee is very anxious to hear anything the state the state may present to the school system regarding the MCAS scores.

“We’ve had investigations in the past of this nature in the school system. The customary approach utilized by the DESE is to proceed cautiously and quietly until they have enough backgroud information to make a pertinent decision,” O’Connell said.

“I’m not totally surprised that the investigation might take the amount of time that has passed, and I look at that, at least cautiously, as a positive sign,” O’Connell said, adding that it may be the hesitation by the DESE to utilize resources and staff statewide for this particular concern that is taking the investigation so long.

In Sept. 2015, the DESE withheld Boston English High’s MCAS math scores for one month before validating the scores and congratulating the school for major improvements and academic achievement.

“In any event, clearly I’m concerned about the investigation and will be very interested to see any developements reported back by DESE. I certainly hope the administration remains proactive and attentive to the situation and will respond to information requests as they’re submitted and will provide a straightforward, direct and transparent response to each and every question or concern the state might try to raise,” O’Connell said.

Cover Photo: Outside of Chandler Elementary/Alex Flaminio.

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