NEW BEDFORD - There's not a whole lot to celebrate in New Bedford, but not much to grieve, either, as the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has released statewide MCAS results.

New Bedford's level four high school saw modest improvements in standardized testing, with 46% of students who scored proficient and above in Math in 2017 compared to 39% proficiency in 2016, and 34% proficiency in 2017 in Science and Technology compared to 27% last year.

It's a different story for English Language Arts, however, where student proficiency dipped by 2%.

Superintendent Dr. Pia Durkin speculates as to why that is.

"With our English learners, who are generally moving at breakneck pace in terms of learning English, coupling that with proficiency in reading is challenging," said Dr. Durkin. "That's not an excuse, it's just how we are really arranging our supports to make that happen."

Across the board, however, when compared to other districts in the state, Dr. Durkin says the high school has maintained steady growth in proficiency, showing 17% and 25% gains in Math and ELA proficiency, respectively.

New Bedford students in grades 3-8 have some ground to make up, though. Students who achieved proficient scores were 10% to 29% fewer than state averages.

Dr. Durkin tells WBSM News most New Bedford students in those grades fell into the "partially meeting expectations" category.

"In that 'partially meeting' group, which I call sort of like you're almost close to the finish line, but haven't crossed it yet, we are almost at 50% in all of our grades. So in other words, our kids are close to meeting expectations. They just haven't arrived yet."

Durkin says those grades began using the new MCAS 2.0 test, which posed greater challenges to the students.

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