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RICAS Results Underscore Need to Stay the Course in Education

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) today released results of the 2018-2019 administration of the Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System (RICAS). Statewide, 38 percent of students in grades 3 through 8 met or exceeded expectations in English language arts (ELA), as did 30 percent in mathematics.

These results represent an increase of 5 and 3 percentage points, respectively, but RIDE cautioned that a spike is a common trend in the second year of administration of a new assessment as students and teachers become accustomed to the test style and format. When Rhode Island first adopted the PARCC exam, the state saw increases of 3 and 5 percentage points in ELA and mathematics.

“These results are moving in the right direction, but it is too early to determine a consistent trend. What is clear is that much more needs to be done to bring Rhode Island performance where it needs to be,” said Angélica Infante-Green, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, who pointed out that Rhode Island still lags behind Massachusetts by 14 percentage points in ELA and 19 percentage points in math. “We have high standards, a strong assessment, and a lot of great work happening in our schools. Now it’s time to stay the course and double down on the things that will move us forward, faster, in order to improve outcomes for students.”

“We adopted the RICAS because Massachusetts is a trusted partner, and if we want to be a national leader in education, it’s the right comparison to make,” said Barbara S. Cottam, Chair of the Rhode Island Board of Education. “As we complete a second year of testing, we are reminded of how much work we have to do, but incredible possibilities lie ahead if we all follow through on this long-term vision for education. Our students and families deserve nothing less.”

Rhode Island continues to face significant equity gaps, as well. On both ELA and math, differently abled and multilingual learners are performing at single-digit proficiency levels.

“Calling out these achievement gaps is so important. We need to name equity gaps, talk about them, and establish intentional strategies to better serve all students. All means all, and we cannot effectively serve all students by doing more of the same,” Infante-Green added.

As part of the release, RIDE also shared with school communities their results for ACCESS and Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM), assessments given specifically to multilingual learners and students with significant cognitive differences. On ACCESS, Rhode Island saw nearly single digit proficiency across the board. On DLM, 24 percent of students tested met their target in ELA, 12 percent in math, and 16 percent in science. More detailed results can be viewed in a presentation given this week to LEA leaders.

With PSAT/SAT and RICAS results complete, RIDE will begin preparing for the release of 2019 accountability results. The accountability release is expected by the end of November.