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NECAP Scores: 'Always Room to Grow'

Barrington's student assessment scores still put schools at the top of the state standings, but the administration is 'scratching' its head about certain dips in performance.

Barrington's schools came out on top again overall in the annual New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) test standings released last Friday by the RI Department of Education.

But some of the results have the administration “scratching our heads,” said Mike Messore, assistant superintendent for curriculum.

“We pretty much stayed level,” he said, which means Barrington did not improve even though it sits at the top of the standings in reading, math and writing proficiency.

The district as a whole, in fact, slipped by one point in reading and math even though the scores are still well above the state levels.

And two of the elementary schools – and -- saw their scores dip in reading and math by 6 and 4 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, rose by 5 points and by 3.

“We’re certainly not sitting here with our heads down,” Messore said. “It was a positive report overall.”

"But Barrington is a town with high expectations so we’re never at a point where we are totally satisfied,” he said.

The district’s proficiency in reading, for instance, is 92 percent, but that’s what it was four years ago, according to the RIDE report. The district’s proficiency in math is 85 percent; it was 83 percent in 2007. Improvement there, but not by much.

The percent of students "at or above proficient" in writing is 70 percent in the elementary and high schools and 84 percent in the middle school – well above the state averages that range from 51 to 59 percent. But the administration is already looking at ways to do better and “how we respond to the dips,” Messore said.

“There is more work to be done, obviously,” he said.

Messore said he has been spending a lot of time this week pulling together more data and digging deeper into the results. The overall high scores allow the district to dig into improving individual students’ scores.

“What can we do to support them better?” he said.

The Hampden Meadows dip – considered statistically significant by RIDE – “was a little bit of a surprise,” he said. “But the middle school scores show that it is still moving in the right direction.

The NECAP scores are on the agenda for Thursday night’s School Committee meeting. Messore said he expects to be asked, in particular, about certain results.

“There is always room to grow,” he said, even when you are sitting at the top.

See the full NECAP report and several charts of results above.

Manifold Witness February 15, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Barrington is indeed “sitting at the top”...Alphabetically anyway. The administration doesn’t understand the DROP in test scores? The administration has no reasons at all to offer? Surely there are factors to consider? The new late start time at the High School 10% of the time, a new principal. The census is down. The teacher to student ratio is up. The budget is always up, up, up. Maybe they can get back to us …without that tired, old “always room to grow” spin. Here's the link if folks would like to see the detail on the data: http://www.ride.ri.gov/assessment/DOCS/NECAP/Reports_Results/10.2011/Fall_2011_RI_NECAP_Results_PublicReport.pdf
Manifold Witness February 16, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Hampden Meadows & Primrose Hill saw their READING scores DROP 6% and 4% respectively. Primrose Hill’s MATH score was DOWN 13%. Nayatt’s MATH score was DOWN 2%. Hampden Meadows MATH score was DOWN 1%.
Manifold Witness February 16, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Paid to scratch? Between the two of them, these glib gentlemen are paid hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. Paid to scratch their heads? We think not. A "positive report overall?" We think not. Not objectively-speaking. And not relatively-speaking. RI trails other states, so even being at the top of the RI heap is not some old laurel upon which to rest. At the very least, taxpayers deserve serious, thoughtful analysis from these two glib head scratchers as to the factors that potentially contributed to the DROP in NECAP scores and the quid pro quo for all the free-spending ways: -10% of days at the High School are “late start”. Can the “expert sleep scientists” explain this? -New Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum (hired from within)? -New Principal at the HS (hired from within)? -Superintendent is on the way out? -Nayatt has no permanent principal-one was allegedly caught changing test answers & the replacement wasn’t fully vetted prior to hire? -Big new TV in every room at the HS? -Lots of new computers/technology, software, licensing? -Drop in census notwithstanding increase in “affordable” housing &full time planner/focus on spending for recreation & related expenses (beach house, YMCA parking lot, etc)? -Substantial increase in budget year after year, even in bad economy & with dropping census? -Teacher evaluations? Teacher to student ratio is up. Why are test scores DOWN?

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