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NECAP Results: 73 percent meet mathematics graduation requirement

Graduation rate rises to 80 percent, NECAP high-school scores improve

Assessment results that the R.I. Department of Education (RIDE) released today (January 31) show that 73 percent of the high-school students who took the NECAP assessments in 2012, including those who retook the assessments in October 2013, have met the graduation requirement in mathematics and are eligible to earn a diploma this spring. (See note at end of release.)

Among the high-school seniors who retook the NECAP mathematics assessment last October because they scored “substantially below proficient” in their junior year, another 1,370 students (43 percent of those retested in October) improved enough to meet the graduation requirement: 977 did so by scoring partially proficient or better on their second attempt; another 393 did so by making significant improvement over their 2012 score. 

“I want to thank the many high-school students, teachers, and family members who have focused over the past year on improving achievement in math,” said Governor Lincoln D. Chafee. “Today, we see that 1,370 of our high-school seniors have received the good news that their hard work has paid off. Setting high expectations and holding everyone accountable for results does lead to significant advances in learning and achievement. Our goal is to ensure that all of our graduates are ready for success, and we have taken a major step today toward reaching that goal.”

“The results we are releasing today show us that high expectations, strong support, and accountability for all leads to stronger student achievement,” said Eva-Marie Mancuso, Chair of the Board of Education. “We have moved forward with our Diploma System, and we are on the right course. I want to congratulate the families, teachers, and school administrators across the state who have helped our students improve their performance, and in particular I want to congratulate the high-school seniors who have met the requirements to earn a diploma. As Chair of the Board of Education, let me assure all Rhode Island students that we will do whatever it takes to prepare you for success in postsecondary education and in challenging careers.” 

 “I am very proud today of our high-school seniors and the adults who have supported them. 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,” said Deborah A. Gist, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. “Holding students to high expectations and helping them to reach those goals is truly in the best interest of all students, and we will continue with this commitment.” 

In reading, 95 percent of the students who took the NECAP in 2012, including those who retook the assessment in October 2013, have met the state-assessment graduation requirement in reading.

Those seniors who have not yet met the state-assessment graduation requirement can still do so by reaching partial proficiency or better or by significantly improving their score when they take the assessment again in February or in March. They may also meet the requirement by attaining passing scores on any of 10 other assessments that RIDE has approved (e.g., Accuplacer, Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery), and they may be eligible for waivers from their school district if they have demonstrated academic readiness by other means. 

RIDE also released today the 2013 graduation rates and the results, at the state and district level only, of the October 2013 NECAP assessments in mathematics, reading, and writing for grades 3 through 8 plus grade 11. 

For the Class of 2013, the four-year graduation rate moved up to 80 percent, a 3-point improvement over the previous year. 

On the NECAP assessments, improving trends continued among high-school juniors (grade 11). Among students grade 11, 36 percent attained proficiency or better in mathematics, a 2-point improvement over the 2012 results and an 8-point improvement over the past five years. Students scoring “substantially below proficient” stood at 36 percent, a 4-point improvement over 2012. At present, 64 percent of the Class of 2015 has met the graduation requirement in mathematics. 

In reading, 82 percent of the students in grade 11 attained proficiency or better, a 3-point improvement over 2012 and an 8-point improvement over the past five years. At present, 93 percent of the Class of 2015 has met the graduation requirement in reading. 

NECAP scores in grades 3 through 8 show some modest one-year gains (in grades 4 and 5 reading) and one-year declines in mathematics. Except in grade 3, the five-year gains remain stable or strongly positive, especially in grade 8. 

The Rhode Island Diploma System, which the former Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education adopted in 2011, specifies three sets of graduation requirements:

  • course completion;
  • performance-based demonstration of proficiency (e.g., senior projects or electronic portfolios of work); and 
  • successful performance on the state assessments (partial proficiency or better, or improvement on the retake).
This set of requirements goes into effect for the current senior class (Class of 2014). 

The state assessment in Rhode Island is the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) assessment, which has been in place since 2005. Students in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont also take the NECAP assessments; these states have not yet released their October 2013 assessment results.

On February 13, RIDE will release the complete statewide NECAP results for all tested grades (3 through 8 plus 11) in mathematics, reading, and writing. These results will include reports at the school level, as well as reports on the performance of students groups (by race, ethnicity, students with disabilities, English learners, economically disadvantaged students) at the school, district, and state level. 

NECAP data that RIDE released today is posted on the RIDE website.

Note: The percentages are based on the number of students who took the NECAP assessments in October 2012, including those who retook the assessment in October 2013 and also including those students who have been retained in grade 11 or left the Rhode Island public-education system for whatever reason. 73 percent have met the graduation requirement in mathematics, 19 percent are currently enrolled seniors who have not yet met the mathematics requirement, 8 percent scored “substantially below proficient” in mathematics in October 2012 but did not retake the assessment for a variety of reasons; for example, some transferred out of state, others were retained in grade 11. Of those students who did not retest, 56 have moved into GED programs and 154 have dropped out of school. These numbers of GED enrollments and dropouts are consistent with the numbers of GED enrollments and dropouts during the same time frame (October to October) in any of the previous four school years.