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.
First of all, I go away for a family emergency, and what happens? News, that’s what!
The Department of Education announced at the end of last week that some high school students will no longer have to pass the standardized test known as the New England Common Assessment Program, or NECAP, to earn a high school diploma. The exception applies to students who get into colleges with non-open enrollment.
So, in other words, if you get into a competitive college, the test-based part of the state’s graduation requirement will be waived.
Standardized testing is underway in Rhode Island public schools, where students take the New England Common Assessment Program or NECAP every October. The tests of math and reading are administered to grades 3-8 and 11 between October 1st and the 23rd. This year some 4,000 12th graders are also taking the test and must improve their scores to meet the state’s controversial new test-based graduation requirement.
Scores are out from the latest round of standardized testing in science, and the news isn't too encouraging. Overall, Rhode Island students dipped slightly with just 34 percent reaching the "proficient" level.
The test, administered in May to 4th, 8th and 11th graders, shows gains at only the 8th grade level. State officials are quick to point out there have been significant increases since they first began testing in 2008, when just 24 percent of students scored proficient in science.
The head of the state’s Board of Education says she can’t comment on legal action taken against the board by the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Board Chair Eva-Marie Mancuso says she’s going to let the legal process move forward. The ACLU took legal action this week saying a the board violated the open meetings law last week when it voted behind closed doors to reject a petition urging reconsideration of the NECAP testing requirement.
The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is keeping up the heat in its opposition to the NECAP test as a requirement for high school graduation. The ACLU has filed a third legal action against what it calls a lack of process in retaining the controversial test.
For the third time in less than two months, the ACLU of Rhode Island has taken legal action against the state Board of Education for violating open government laws in dealing with the NECAP test.
Rhode Island teachers are breathing a sigh of relief now that state Education Commissioner Deborah Gist has postponed the inclusion of test scores on teacher evaluations for a year.
Student results on the New England Common Assessment Program were supposed to be folded in to teacher evaluations starting this school year. Gist said the policy is widely misunderstood. A year, she said, should give them ample time to clarify the policy.
The state Department of Education is postponing for one year the inclusion of NECAP test scores in a teacher’s evaluation. State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist said there was not enough clarity on how the test was being used to assess teacher effectiveness.
The state Board of Education returns to Rhode Island College Monday for the second day of a two-day retreat. The meeting is aimed at educating board members about key topics that will be surfacing over the coming months. Initially they didn’t want to hold it in public.