The fall 2013 New England Common Assessment Program results show improvements in several areas across Manchester’s public schools, according to the data released today by the New Hampshire Department of Education. The most dramatic increases are found in the writing section of the standardized assessment, where in one instance, fifth graders at Parker-Varney Elementary School increased writing proficiency by 31% over last year.
“Our teachers have worked hard to shore up the weaknesses in classroom writing instruction and improve the elements that needed to be stronger,” said Christine Martin, principal of Webster Elementary School, where fifth grade students increased scores in writing proficiency by 16% this year and nearly 30% since 2011. “We are always examining what the learning looks like, and assessments like the NECAP are one tool we can use to measure achievement.”
The NECAP is administered annually to students in grades 3 through 8 and to high school juniors. The assessment is a collaborative partnership among New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Maine established in response to the No Child Left Behind Act.
“Assessment tools such as the NECAP can be valuable for providing a very general overview of how our district and individual schools are doing,” said Manchester School District superintendent Debra Livingston. “But equally important are the tools teachers use every day to determine how students are learning.”
Additional data provided by the Department of Education indicates that Manchester’s students are achieving set learning objectives over time.
“Students’ growth should be celebrated,” said Dr. Livingston. “And progress from year to year can also confirm that classroom instruction is heading in the right direction.”
Statewide, performances in mathematics, reading and writing have remained statistically the same compared to last year.
• In reading, 77 percent of students tested were proficient and above proficient, compared to 79 percent the year before. Manchester’s reading proficiency this year is at 59%.
• In math, 65 percent of students scored proficient and above proficient, to last year’s 68 percent. Manchester students are 46% proficient.
• In writing, 58 percent of students tested were proficient and above proficient, compared to 55 percent the year before. Students in Manchester are 41% proficient.
Manchester administrators and teachers will spend time looking more closely at their own data and analyze the performance of individual students as well as groups of students and whole grades.