With all the noise generated by the New England Common Assessment Program’s use as a portion of Rhode Island’s high school graduation requirements, it is heartening to see a program taking place this summer at Rhode Island College designed in part to help students master the concepts the NECAPs test.
By using entrepreneurship and other business challenges as the gateway to learning math, the program, which gathered a $46,000 grant from The Rhode Island Foundation and another $10,000 from the Northern Rhode Island Collaborative, aims to connect with students in concrete and interesting ways, not just in the abstract as so many traditional approaches to math have been.
So far, the only downside to the program is its limited size and scope. While 126 high school juniors and seniors are taking the eight-day course, upwards of 1,000 were identified as potentially benefiting from it. And what happens once the school year starts? Will the lessons learned this summer be translated into action come the fall?
The state Department of Education has been right to demand more of its students. But it must step up to the challenge as well. •