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R.I. high-school reading, writing scores tops among NECAP states

Rhode Island high-school students fared well compared with their peers in the region and improved their performance overall, according to assessment results that the R.I. Department of Education (RIDE) released today (February 13, 2014).

Rhode Island students in grade 11 improved by 2 percentage points, to 81 percent proficiency, in reading, and by 2 percentage points in mathematics as well, to 36 percent proficiency. Rhode Island high-school scores are once again the highest among the NECAP states in reading and have caught up with the other NECAP states in mathematics.

“I want to congratulate Rhode Island teachers and students on their strong performance on statewide assessments, especially in the high-school grades,” said Governor Lincoln D. Chafee. “These results show that we are on the right course, and I am confident our students will continue to show improvement in the years to come.”

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

“Rhode Island students and teachers should be very proud of their performance on the most recent state assessments, especially regarding the strong results at the high-school level,” said House Speaker Gordon D. Fox. “Over time, we have seen significant improvements in achievement across the state, which means that many more students today are ready for success beyond high school.”

“We all know the importance of education when it comes to developing a high-quality workforce and to expanding the economy of our state,” said Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed. “The assessment results released today show that our high-school students are continuously improving and are very competitive with their peers across New England. All Rhode Islanders – students and teachers especially – should be proud of this accomplishment.”

“The hard work that students, teachers, and families have engaged in to advance student achievement have brought us positive results,” said Eva-Marie Mancuso, Chair of the Board of Education. “I know our teachers and students will continue to working to advance teaching and learning at every grade level, and the Board of Education stands ready to support these efforts.”

In grades 3 through 8 in Rhode Island schools, there were some one-year declines in both mathematics and reading but the five-year trends remain stable or positive, except in grade 3.

“The progress our students and teachers have made, especially at the high-school level, is powerful evidence that all students can succeed when we maintain high expectations and when we provide resources and support to advance teaching and learning,” said Deborah A. Gist, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. “Though we know a lot of work remains ahead, as we strive to close achievement gaps and to maintain and expand proficiency levels across the state, Rhode Islanders should be proud of how far we have come over the past five years.”

Today’s results are part of the complete report from RIDE on the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) October 2013 assessments in mathematics, reading, and writing. RIDE released statewide and district-level results on January 31; the complete report that RIDE released today includes cross-state comparisons, a report on progress toward goals, results of the writing assessments, reports on performance of student groups, and results at the school level.

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. Achievement gaps between students with disabilities and other students and between English learners and other students have generally widened.

Among the 33 performance measures and goals that RIDE has established – most of which are based on the percentage of students attaining proficiency and on closing achievement gaps – RIDE exceeded one goal (college completion), has made improvement (but not yet met) 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 Regional, Cumberland, Exeter-West Greenwich Regional, North Kingstown, North Providence, Providence, and The Learning Community (charter).

The Lincoln School District made significant one-year gains in reading, improving by 4 percentage points.

Schools making significant progress in both mathematics and reading over the past five years are: Burrillville High School, Chariho Middle School, Coventry High School, East Providence High School, Exeter-West Greenwich Regional Senior High School, Frank E. Thompson Middle School (Newport), North Kingstown Senior High School, North Providence High School, Vartan Gregorian Elementary School (Providence), Times 2 Academy Middle School (Providence charter), The Learning Community Elementary School, Pilgrim High School (Warwick), Warwick Veterans Memorial High School, and Westerly High School.

Forest Avenue Elementary School, in Middletown, made significant one-year gains in both mathematics and reading. Burrillville High School, Narragansett High School, and Westerly High School made significant one-year gains in mathematics. Lyman B. Goff Junior High School and William E. Tolman Senior High School, both in Pawtucket, made significant one-year gains in reading.  

The report was posted today (February 13) at 10 a.m., on the RIDE website.

Note: Among the four NECAP states, Maine uses NECAP assessments in grades 3 through 8 only; in Vermont, 27 schools opted to participate in a field test of the new state assessment rather than participate in the 2013 NECAP.