2010-11-11 / News

Test scores get better, but still ‘much room for improvement’

By Sam Bari

According to a New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) report, Rhode Island students trail states New Hampshire and Vermont at all levels of fourth, eighth and 11th grades.

Results of the NECAP science assessment, which was administered to students last May and was discussed Thursday, Nov. 4, at a School Committee meeting, showed that roughly 29 percent of Rhode Island students were profi cient in science. The score is up 3.6 percent from the previous battery of tests.

NECAP is a series of reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement tests administered annually, which were developed in response to the federal No Child Left Behind Act. It is a collaborative project of the New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont departments of education, with assistance from the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessments.

Measured Progress, an assessment contractor from Dover, N.H., coordinates the production, administration, scoring and reporting.

Jamestown elementary school principals Carol Melucci and Kathleen Almanzor presented the report that represented a threeyear history of district and state NECAP science scores.

They also led the school committee members and town council liaison Mike White in a hands-on challenge to complete an inquiry question from the eighth-grade exam.

The hands-on experiment gave committee members an opportunity to experience first hand, the level of challenges facing students in the NECAP curriculum.

The science scores are available on the Rhode Island Department of Education website.

At grades four and eight, Jamestown exceeds the state mean and shows continuing improvement over the past three years. However, Melucci and Almanzor agreed there is much room for improvement.

The committee discussed strategies focused on student familiarity with science terminology as an important area that needs work. They also discussed the need for students to fully develop their ability to respond to questions with specific and relevant details.

The Committee also tabled the agenda item to allow the union time to share the terms with its membership and seek contract ratifi cation and committee members unanimously voted to approve the extracurricular appointments of Leland Brown as jazz band director and Kevin Deacon as the girls’ basketball coach.

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