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City's NECAP test results a mixed bag

February 12, 2011

PAWTUCKET — Results of the latest standardized tests, known as the NECAP, that were administered to students last October in grades 3-8 and 11 show some encouraging gains in reading and mathematics, particularly at the high school level. Yet, at the elementary and middle school levels, statewide results show little or no significant changes overall, and Pawtucket's results generally mirror this trend as being a mixed bag.
According to data from the Rhode Island Department of Education, at the state level roughly 55 percent of Rhode Island students were proficient or above in math (up 1 percent from the previous administration of tests in October 2009), 71 percent were proficient or above in reading (no change from previous results) and 57 percent were proficient or above in writing.
In general, compared to last year's results, there was a significant increase in math and reading proficiency rates at the high school level. At the elementary levels, there were no significant changes in math or reading in grades 3, 4 or 5.
At the middle school level, there were no significant changes at the aggregated school level (all grades combined) in math or reading. However, there were significant changes in reading achievement at grades 6, 7 and 8. Specifically, there were 3 and 4 percentage point increases in reading achievement in grades 6 and 8, respectively and a 5 percentage point decrease at grade 7. There were no statistically significant changes in math for grades 6, 7 or 8.
In Pawtucket's elementary schools, Agnes Little students scored 59 percent proficient in reading, a difference of 1 percentage point over 2009 and 44 percent proficient in math, a drop of 5 percentage points.
Curvin McCabe students scored 72 percent proficient in reading, an increase of 4 percentage points over 2009, but dropped 7 percentage points, with 60 percent proficient in math.
Baldwin students scored 57 percent proficient in reading, a gain of 6 percentage points and 42 percent proficient in math, an increase of 3 percentage points; while at Fallon, 67 percent tested as proficient in reading, a gain of 9 percentage points while those showing proficiency in math, at 47 percent, was a decrease of 4 percentage points from the previous year.
At Curtis, the 66 percent proficiency rate was the same as in 2009 while the 57 percent proficiency shown in math was a rise of 10 percentage points; Varieur, at 75 percent proficient in reading, decreased by 2 percentage points over last year while in math, the proficiency rate, at 68 percent, reflected a drop of 4 points. Winters, with a reading proficiency rate of 44 percent, also dropped by 2 percentage points and in math proficiency, at 32 percent, decreased by 4 percentage points from 2009 results.
Cunningham, at 57 percent proficiency in reading, increased by 1 percentage point over last year while its math proficiency rate, at 43 percent, stayed the same; and at Nathanael Greene, 60 percent of students scored a proficiency rate in reading, an increase in 6 percentage points, while 48 percent tested as proficient in math, a decrease of two percentage points.
Potter-Burns students were at 64 percent proficiency, a 1 percentage point improvement iver 2009 while in math, there was 55 percent proficiency, an increase of 5 percentage points.
At the city's middle schools, Goff students scored at a 55 percent proficiency rate in reading, a drop of 2 percentage points over last year, and a 45 percent proficiency in math, a decrease of 1 percentage point.
At Jenks, the proficiency rate for reading was also at 55 percent, an improvement of 1 percentage point over the 2009 test scores, but for math, the 32 percent proficiency rate dropped by 5 percentage points over the previous year.
Slater students showed a 57 percent proficiency in reading and a 42 percent proficiency rate for math, with both percentages unchanged from the 2009 test scores.
At Pawtucket's three high schools, Shea students scored at a 54 percent proficiency in reading, which was a decrease of 8 points while in math, the 16 percent proficiency rate improved by 7 percentage points over last year.
Tolman test scores showed 63 percent proficiency in reading, a rate that was unchanged from last year, while in math, the students scored the same as those at Shea with 16 percent proficiency, an increase of 2 percentage points from 2009.
At the Jacqueline M. Walsh School for the Visual and Performing Arts, the 93 percent proficiency rate in reading dropped by 1 percentage point from the 2009 results, and the 37 percent proficiency in math showed a decrease of 13 percentage points from the previous year.
The School Committee has scheduled a discussion on the NECAP results at its next meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. at the Jenks/JMW Complex, 350 Division St., Pawtucket.
The entire NECAP results are available on the Rhode Island Department of Education website.


weapon of math instruction

February 14, 2011 by alancook (not verified), 3 years 9 weeks ago
Comment: 86

National math test scores continue to be disappointing. This poor trend persists in spite of new texts, standardized tests with attached implied threats, or laptops in the class. At some point, maybe we should admit that math, as it is taught currently and in the recent past, seems irrelevant to a large percentage of grade school kids.

Why blame a sixth grade student or teacher trapped by meaningless lessons? Teachers are frustrated. Students check out.

The missing element is reality. Instead of insisting that students learn another sixteen formulae, we need to involve them in tangible life projects. And the task must be interesting.

Project-oriented math engages kids. It is fun. They have a reason to learn the math they may have ignored in the standard lecture format of a class room.

Alan Cook


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