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It sometimes seems as if all of our contemporary debates over education revolve around high-stakes testing. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says our schools are neglecting an important topic that isn’t tested.

Trying to figure out what’s happening in education nowadays is an exercise in futility. You have to learn a new language suffused with psycho babble and techno-speak:  educators use terms  like rubrics, social-emotional learning and  site-based management..

For those of you waiting with baited breath for the latest NECAP Science test results, here's an update.

The Department of Education says they continue their discussions with testing company Measured Progress about the scores from the latest round of testing, which took place back in May.

The issue seems to be a drop in scores at one grade level, which schools in several NECAP states have noticed, according to The Providence Journal.

Rhode Island’s Department of Education has delayed the release of test scores from the most recent standardized state science test, administered in May.

RIDE officials say they have concerns about the scores for one grade level and will not release a score report expected on Wednesday.

RIDE Spokesman Elliot Krieger declined to elaborate about the exact nature of the concerns, but he says RIDE is working with the testing company, Measured Progress, to review the results.

Clay Pell, one of three Democrats vying for his party’s nomination for governor, is urging Gov. Lincoln Chafee to sign into law three education-related measures approved by the General Assembly in the waning hours of the 2014 legislative session.

The first would place a moratorium on the use of high-stakes tests as a graduation requirement. The other would change teacher evaluations and the third would provide full funding for all-day kindergarten in Rhode Island communities.

Providence is granting a reprieve to some 200 high school seniors, who risk not graduating under a new state policy linking test scores to a high school diploma.

The rule, in effect for the first time this year, calls for students to score partially proficient or better on the NECAP test or improve significantly on a retake. Students can also use alternative tests or acceptance at a competitive college to earn their diploma.

A public discussion over making test scores part of the high school graduation requirement will take place at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting.

It took a court order, but the Board of Education will hold a public vote on a petition over whether high school diplomas should be linked to test scores.  

Some 4,000 students failed to pass the NECAP last fall, many of them from urban schools. ACLU director Steve Brown said what’s now known about who failed the test should be an influence.

Testing the Test

Mar 18, 2014

In school districts across Rhode Island, some 9,000 students are about to get a taste of the test replacing NECAP next year. The students are participating in field testing for the test, known as PARCC, starting next week.

PARCC is slated to be used in 17 states. Rhode Island's Education Commissioner Deborah Gist says the field testing comes as designers refine the exam, and will give teachers, administrators and students a chance to prepare for next year.

Rhode Island elementary students are still well behind their peers in New Hampshire when it comes to Mathematics.

The latest score report from the New England Common Assessment Program shows 59 percent of Rhode Island’s 3rd-8th graders were proficient in Math, compared to 70 percent in New Hampshire.

60 percent of Maine students scored proficient in Math and 62 percent in Vermont.

State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is releasing additional results from the standardized test known as NECAP. The report will include school-level data for all Rhode Island public schools, and comparisons to other New England states using NECAP.

At the end of February, the Rhode Island Department of Education released an abridged summary of NECAP results, revealing scores for seniors facing a new test-linked graduation requirement. The early release was intended to give schools and students time to prepare if they did not do well enough to earn a diploma.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Roughly 20 percent of this year’s high school seniors will have to take the NECAP test a third time, or find another way to meet the state’s new test-linked diploma system. That according to the latest NECAP scores out of the Rhode Island Department of Education.

Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is calling this good news because it represents a significant drop in the number of seniors at risk of not graduating. “So this means in the current senior class, 1,370 students, improved their performance in mathematics or made partial proficiency,” said Gist.

The latest NECAP scores show more high school students reaching proficiency in both reading and mathematics, although math scores continue to be lower than state officials might like.

The Rhode Island Department of Education says 36 percent of high school juniors scored proficient in math in 2013, up from just 27 percent in 2009. 81 percent scored proficient in reading, up from 73 percent in 2009.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island’s Education Commissioner Deborah Gist emphasized the positive in her annual State of Education speech last night at the General Assembly. She said Rhode Island students are improving on national testing, and she said 73 percent of this year’s senior class has now scored high enough on the state standardized test to earn a diploma, after thousands of students had to re-take the test in October.

John Bender / RIPR

Rhode Island Education commissioner Deborah Gist delivers her annual State of Education address Thursday.  Standardized test scores for thousands of RI students come out Friday, and some 4,000 high school seniors will find out whether they did well enough to graduate. This is the first year test scores are linked are required under a new sate policy, and some students are protesting.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Thousands of high school students across Rhode Island learn this week whether they improved enough on a standardized test to earn a diploma. The state is releasing NECAP scores for all students, including 4,000 high school seniors who had to re-take the test. One of them, Providence Senior Ruth Presendieu stopped by our studio to talk about what it’s like to be a member of the first Rhode Island class whose graduation is linked to standardized testing.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Last week, Rhode Island education officials told districts they would recommend waiving a controversial part of the state’s high school graduation requirements for students who get into college.

Those students will be allowed to receive their diplomas, even if they don’t get the minimum score required on the state standardized test known as NECAP.

The change has touched off another round of questions about whether Rhode Island should use standardized testing at all as a requirement for a high school diploma.