Scituate kids progressing on NECAPs, officials say

Scituate kids progressing on NECAPs, officials say

SCITUATE - School officials say they are generally pleased with the results of October testing in the New England Common Assessment Program, or NECAP, but they also believe more can be done to further improve scores.

Town scores are in accord with state trends where Gov. Lincoln Chafee and Education Commissioner Deborah Gist pointed to increases at the high school level as evidence the state is "on the right course," Chafee said.

Gist called it "powerful evidence that all students can succeed." Rhode Island high school scores in reading and writing were highest among NECAP states and, in math, state scores have caught up with other states, Gist said in a news release when results were released last week.

In Scituate, "We saw tremendous increases across the board with few exceptions," Supt. Paul R. Lescault told The Breeze & Observer in a telephone interview late last week. Local scores are "significantly higher' than state averages, he pointed out. A check of the results on the Rhode Island Department of Education website shows local scores were 12 to 23 percent higher than state averages in total proficiency. Grades 3 through 8 and Grade 11 were tested in October.

"We are proud of the progress we made," Lescault said. He and Assistant Supt. Lawrence P. Filipelli both stressed that the NECAP program is effective only because it is a "team effort."

"As the leader of curriculum and instruction for the district," Filippelli said, "I see firsthand all of the hard work, dedication and effort that teachers, students, parents and administrators put into achieving these scores. It wouldn't be possible without everyone working together."

As examples of the rising scores officials are most proud of, Lescault noted that grade 11 scores in reading, demonstrating at or above proficiency, rose from 53 percent in 2012 to 74 percent in October 2013 testing, an impressive 21 percent hike.

Scores also showed that 93 percent of grade 11 students can demonstrate basic proficiency in reading, with 55 percent proficient in math.

"Clearly, there is room to increase math scores, however, that is 20 percentage points higher than the state average," Filippelli said.

Filippelli pointed to 17 and 7 percent increases in grade 8 reading and math scores, respectively, from 2012 to 2013 in the top category, proficient with distinction, as "excellent" increases.

Elementary school scores of pupils in grades 3 through 8 seem especially difficult to track. Since 2009 when tests were first given, scoring at or above proficiency for all grades combined in math in 2013 were: 68 percent of Clayville pupils, an 8 percentage point drop from 2009; 84 percent of Hope pupils, a 10-point gain; and 73 percent of North Scituate pupils, a drop of 11 points.

In reading during the same time period, scoring at or above proficiency in reading were: 88 percent of the Clayville students tested, an increase of 6 points from 2009; 90 percent at Hope, an 8-point increase; and 82 percent in North Scituate, a drop of 9 points.

"The elementary scores are lengthy and difficult to report on," Filippelli said. "However, we saw excellent scores across most grade levels." He pointed to elementary score highlights that show separate results for grades 3, 4 and 5, in reading and math, between 12 percent to 19 percent higher than state averages.