Despite gains, 38% of R.I. 11th graders are ‘substantially below proficient’ in math

THE RESULTS OF THE 2010 New England Common Assessment Program were released on Wednesday.
Posted 2/9/11

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island posted improvements in the latest New England Common Assessment Program results, released Wednesday by the R.I. Department of Education.

The percentage of 11th graders scoring “substantially below proficient” in mathematics totaled 38 percent, which while significant, represented an improvement of 13 percentage points since the initial assessment in 2007 and 7 points from 2009.

“I am very pleased with the significant improvements in our high school scores, and we now need to see this kind of progress at every grade level,” said Deborah A. Gist, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Rhode Island has improved in all assessments at all school levels since the first year of the NECAP assessments, which began in 2005 for grades 3-8 and in 2007 for grade 11, a news release from the Rhode Island Department of Education said.

Many student groups showed progress in mathematics, including black students, up 2 points all grades combined, Hispanic students, up 4 points, and economically disadvantaged students, up 2 points. Achievement gaps of more than 15 points separate these groups from the statewide average scores, however.

The NECAP assessments were administered in October to students in Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont; grades 3-8 were tested in mathematics and reading, grades 5 and 8 in writing. Grade 11 students were tested in reading, mathematics and writing, except in Maine.

Seventy-one percent of Rhode Island elementary school students were proficient in reading and 70 percent of middle-school students were proficient, both registering an improvement of 1 point from 2009.

In mathematics, 61 percent of local elementary school students were proficient, unchanged from 2009, while 57 percent of Rhode Island middle school students were proficient.

In writing, 57 percent of Rhode Island students in grades 5, 8 and 11 were proficient.

At a district level, Exeter-West Greenwich and Providence made “statistically significant” gains in mathematics on the 2010 assessments, while West Warwick was the only district to do so in reading.

The three schools to make significant gains in both mathematics and reading were: Coventry High School, East Providence High School and Pilgrim High School in Warwick.

Comparing the Ocean State to its New England counterparts, Rhode Island reading scores were 7 points below New Hampshire in grades 3-8 but 2 points better in grade 11. Rhode Island scores in mathematics were below both New Hampshire and Maine, the R.I. Department of Education said (Vermont scores had not been released yet).

In writing, Rhode Island scored the same as New Hampshire and was 12 points better than Maine in grades 3-8, and 6 points better than New Hampshire in grade 11.

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