Updated May 6 at 9:27pm

R.I. H.S. grad rate up, but senior NECAP gains leave many short

Rhode Island’s four-year high-school graduation rate improved to 80 percent for the class of 2013, the R.I. Department of Education reported Friday. More

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R.I. H.S. grad rate up, but senior NECAP gains leave many short

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PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island’s four-year high-school graduation rate improved to 80 percent for the class of 2013, the R.I. Department of Education reported Friday.

The 2013 graduation rate represented a 3 percentage point gain over the class of 2012 graduation rate of 77 percent, which had remained unchanged from the previous year.

This year, as the class of 2014 prepares for its own graduation, the number of students eligible to graduate has been bolstered by higher proficiency rates among students who retook the New England Common Assessment Program in their senior year, RIDE said.

The NECAP is the assessment program in mathematics, reading and writing used as one element to determine eligibility for graduation from high school in Rhode Island. It has been in place since 2005.

Among the 3,184 high-school seniors who retook the NECAP math assessment last October because they scored “substantially below proficient” in their junior year, 1,370 students, or 43 percent, were able to improve their scores enough to meet the graduation requirement.

Out of 487 seniors who retook the NECAP reading assessment, 301, or 62 percent, successfully raised their scores to meet the graduation requirement.

Including the retesters who met the NECAP target the second time around, 73 percent of the class of 2014 now has met the NECAP math requirement for graduation, and 95 percent have met the NECAP reading requirement.

“I am very proud today of our high school seniors and the adults who have supported them,” said Deborah A. Gist, commissioner of elementary and secondary education. “They have shown all of us that it can be done: With hard work and with excellent support, students can improve their achievement and their chances for success beyond high school.”

Along with graduation rates and senior NECAP retest results, RIDE on Friday released the results, at the state and district levels only, of the October 2013 NECAP assessments administered to students in grades three through eight, as well as grade 11.

Complete NECAP results – including reports at the school level, as well as a breakdown of performance by race, ethnicity, disabled students, non-native English speakers and economically disadvantaged students – will be released Feb. 13, RIDE said.

On the 2013 NECAP assessments, improving trends continued among high school juniors of the class of 2015. Thirty-six percent of 11th graders attained proficiency or better in mathematics, a 2 percentage point improvement over the 2012 results and an 8 percentage point improvement over the past five years.

Students scoring “substantially below proficient” in mathematics stood at 36 percent, 4 percentage points lower than in 2012, when that figure was 40 percent.

In reading, 81 percent of 11th grade students attained proficiency or better, an increase of 2 percentage points over 2012 and an increase of 8 percentage points since 2009. Seven percent scored “substantially below proficient” in reading, 1 percentage point lower than in 2012.

At present, 64 percent of the class of 2015 have met the NECAP math requirement for graduation, and 93 percent have met the reading requirement.

NECAP scores for grades three through eight showed some modest year-over-year gains (in fourth- and fifth-grade reading) and one-year declines in mathematics. Except in third grade, which reported lower proficiency rates in reading and mathematics, the five-year trends remained stable or strongly positive, especially among eighth graders.

For more information or to read the complete report, visit www.ride.ri.gov.

NECAP, R.I. Department of Education, RIDE, New England Common Assessment Program, Rhode Island math proficiency, Rhode Island reading proficiency

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