2014-03-13 / News

NECAP released: Students continue to excel

Jamestown eighth-graders are the most proficient writers in the state, according to results from the fall 2013 New England Common Assessment Program.

Curriculum Director Kathy Almanzor on March 6 led the School Committee through a series of graphs highlighting the district’s scores in recent years. She said administrators are analyzing the most recent numbers for each grade, but the bigger picture is the longer-term pattern of growth.

This is the final year of the NECAP in the Jamestown school district. Starting in the spring, island students will start being measured by the PARCC exam. Jamestown is field-testing the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, and the entire state will transition to the new program by fall 2014.

The NECAP tests students in grades three through eight, as well as juniors in high school. Local highlights include 93 percent proficiency for eighth-graders in writing; 90 percent or better proficiency for third-, seventh- and eighth-graders in reading; and 92 percent proficiency for third-graders in math.

Students are scored on a fourpoint basis for the assessment exam: below proficient, partially proficient, proficient and proficient with distinction. Students have to score in the final two levels to be considered proficient.

The biggest concern for Almanzor is the complete lack of distinct proficiency in math for Jamestown 11th-graders attending North Kingstown High. As eighth-grad- ers at Lawn School in 2010, 27 percent of the students were proficient with distinction. Now there are none. Almanzor said she plans on speaking with Michele Humbyrd to compare analysis. Humbyrd is the curriculum director at North Kingstown High.

In 11th-grade reading scores, however, Jamestown residents seem to have improved. Of the 41 eighth-grade students in 2010, only 20 students scored proficient with distinction. As 11th-graders at North Kingstown, there are still 20 who scored at the top level, but the field has been whittled down to 27 students because 14 children who graduated Lawn School in 2010 where attending private school in fall 2013.

More proficiency results from the fall 2013 NECAP exams (not including charter schools):

• In the five-year period beginning in 2009, Jamestown students remained status quo at 85 percent in reading;

• During the five-year period, Jamestown students increased 2 percent in math (80 percent in 2009 to 82 percent in 2013);

• Jamestown students, however, decreased 4 percent in the oneyear comparison, dropping from 86 percent in 2012;

• During the five-year period, the biggest reading increase was 11 percent in Exeter-West Greenwich (76 to 87); the biggest decrease was 9 percent in Central Falls (51 to 42);

• During the five-year period, the biggest math increase was 10 percent in Johnston (49 to 59); the biggest decrease was 7 percent in Central Falls (35 to 28);

• 72 percent of Jamestown fifthgraders were proficient in writing, 8 percent above the state average; the highest writing score was Foster at 82 percent proficiency;

• Lawn School eighth-graders were 93 percent proficient in writing, a leading 37 percent above the state average; the second highest score was North Smithfield at 91 percent;

• Central Falls, Providence and Woonsocket are the only three districts that were below the state average in fifth-, eighth- and 11-grade writing;

• The worst writing score in the state belonged to Central Falls eighth-graders, who read at 13 percent proficiency, 43 percent below the state average.

Statewide, Rhode Island students in 11th grade improved 2 percentage points to 81 percent proficiency in reading, and 2 percentage points to 36 percent proficiency in math. High-school scores are once again the highest among the NECAP states (New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont) in reading, and have caught up with the other states in mathematics.

Rhode Island results also remain strong in writing, with 60 percent of the tested students in elementary and middle school attaining proficiency, tops of the four states. Rhode Island high-school students scored 66 percent proficient in writing, also highest among the participating states.

Achievement gaps between low-income students and other Rhode Island students have narrowed in both mathematics and reading. Achievement gaps among ethnic and racial groups remain unchanged, as black, Hispanic and white students have all improved by 4 points in both mathematics and reading over the past five years.

Among the 33 performance goals the Department of Education has established, the state exceeded one goal (college completion), has made improvement in 18 goals, and has not met 14 goals.

At the local level, a number of schools and school districts have made significant improvements in both mathematics and reading over the past five years.

Districts making significant progress in both mathematics and reading over the past five years are Chariho, Cumberland, Exeter-West Greenwich, North Kingstown, North Providence and Providence.

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