PROVIDENCE – Making good effort, but needs to show improvement. Those were the comments issued by state officials in response to the report card for Rhode Island schools from the fall 2009 New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) tests, released today at the Anthony Carnevale Elementary School in Providence. That school achieved some of the largest gains in the state in both reading and mathematics – up 17 points in reading [61 percent proficient] and up 16 points in mathematics [55 percent proficient].
Overall, there were slight but not significant increases reported statewide in reading and mathematics scores in elementary and middle schools. High-school scores improved significantly in reading [73 percent proficient, up 4 points] and writing [55 percent proficient, up 13 points], but were unchanged in mathematics. The 2009 high-school four-year graduation rate improved by 1.6 percentage points to 75.5 percent, but was still 4.5 points below the 2012 goal of 80 percent.
“Today’s results don’t show the progress that we would like to see, but some schools and districts have made significant gains,” said Robert G. Flanders Jr., chairman of the Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education. “We need to learn from these improving schools and districts, and we need to expand their work to prepare all of our students for success in college, careers and life.”
“While there are some gains in our 2009 test scores, we’re not anywhere close to where we need to be,” said Deborah A. Gist, commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. “Though I am pleased with the improvements in reading and writing scores at our high schools, I am concerned that achievement gaps persist and have even widened, especially in mathematics.”
The NECAP tests in reading and mathematics were administered jointly in October 2009 to students in grades 3 through 8 and in Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. NECAP is the only multi-state testing program in the nation.
This year’s results showed that Rhode Island reading score for grades 3-8 matched the Maine score [70 percent proficient], and the Rhode Island high school reading score [73 percent proficient] matched New Hampshire and surpassed Maine and Vermont. The Rhode Island writing score [55 percent proficient] was the best of the three tested states (Maine was not tested at the high school level).
“Despite some encouraging news, we must do better, especially in mathematics, where our scores have not changed appreciably,” said Gov. Donald L. Carcieri.
Districts making improvements of more than 10 percentage points in reading include: Chariho (elementary school: 10.8 percentage points, high school, 10.4 points), North Smithfield (middle school: 20.4 points), and high schools in Central Falls (10.6 points), Woonsocket (11.2), North Kingstown (12.3) and Newport (15.5). The Beacon Charter School, The William M. Davies Jr. Career-Technical High School, the Department of Corrections Education Unit, the Highlander Charter School, and the International Charter School also improved by more than 10 points in reading.
Districts making improvements of more than 10 points in mathematics include: Chariho (elementary: 14.2 points, high school: 10.1 points), New Shoreham (middle school: 13.8), and Portsmouth (14.8 points). The Rhode Island School for the Deaf, UCAP, and the Highlander Charter School also improved by more than 10 points in mathematics.
A full report on the October 2009 test results and the 2009 graduation rates is posted on the RIDE Web site, at: www.ride.ri.gov.