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.