Manchester Essex Regional School District Nearly Doubles 5th-Grade Science Scores

Manchester Essex Regional School District (MERSD), a KnowAtom client, has outpaced the Massachusetts state average for Grade 5 students, scoring at the highest performance levels on the statewide science standards-based assessment.

Seventy-three percent of all MERSD 5th-grade students scored proficient or greater on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), compared to the state average of 48 percent, according to the 2018 data from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

"It is exciting to support top professionals, like the elementary teaching team at Manchester Essex Regional School District, dedicated to helping children develop the STEM skills to modify their own understandings, actions and beliefs in the presence of evidence, experience and reflection,” said KnowAtom CEO and founder Francis Vigeant.

Manchester Essex Regional School District has been using KnowAtom’s comprehensive, grade-specific science curriculum since 2011 and made the full transition to the new next generation Massachusetts science standards with KnowAtom in 2016.

The core of KnowAtom’s next generation inquiry process is students investigating phenomena and designing solutions to problems hands-on. This approach ensures that all students are engaged every day as scientists and engineers in the classroom.

MERSD first partnered with KnowAtom in 2011 after Grade 5 MERSD students scored below state average in science, technology and engineering in 2010, with just 52 percent of all 5th-grade students achieving a score of proficient or greater on their 2010 science MCAS.

The 2010 5th-grade MCAS scores also revealed issues in key subgroups such as students with disabilities, where no students tested scored "advanced," and females, where only 15 percent scored advanced.

In response, then-incoming MERSD Superintendent Pamela Beaudoin worked with MERSD elementary teachers to identify and implement KnowAtom.

Manchester Memorial and Essex Elementary teachers have since transformed science instruction, and student learning and MCAS scores have soared as a result. The most recent 2018 science MCAS testing shows MERSD nearly nine times above the state average, with 36 percent of 5th-grade students with disabilities scoring advanced and 44 percent of 5th-grade females scoring advanced, nearly 2.5 times the Massachusetts state average. 

This positive trend has placed MERSD elementary schools in position to grab the No. 1 rank statewide for students scoring proficient and advanced. This position is currently held by North Reading Public Schools, another district that uses KnowAtom district-wide at the elementary level.  

About KnowAtom: KnowAtom makes real science possible in every K-8 classroom. We provide a complete K-8 solution designed for mastery of the Next Generation Science Standards: fully aligned curriculum, integrated hands-on materials and targeted professional development. Our research-based, classroom-tested tools and techniques bring students' own ideas to life with hands-on materials and technology.

To learn more, visit or call 617-475-3475.

Media Contact:

Sara Goodman
617-475-3475 ext. 2005

Source: KnowAtom

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