The results of the Fall 2013 New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) for grades three through eight and high school have been released by the New Hampshire Department of Education. NECAP is a collaborative partnership among New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Maine established in response to the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which requires that all states annually measure achievement of students in grades three through eight, and in one high school grade.
Statewide, performances in mathematics, reading and writing have remained statistically the same this year. In reading, 77 percent of students tested were proficient and above proficient, compared to 79 percent the year before. In math, 65 percent of students scored proficient and above proficient, to last year’s 68 percent. In writing, 58 percent of students tested were proficient and above proficient, compared to 55 percent the year before. Dr. Scott Mantie, Administrator of the Bureau of Assessment and Accountability, at the NH Department of Education, said, “The test results are only one of multiple measures of performance that are useful in assessing student progress and school performance.”
There are four achievement levels of student performance on the NECAP tests. These levels describe a student's proficiency on the content and skills taught in the previous grade. Performance at Proficient (level 3) or Proficient with Distinction (level 4) indicates that the student has a level of proficiency necessary to begin working successfully on current grade content and skills. Performance at Partially Proficient (level 2) or Substantially Below Proficient (level 1) suggests that additional instruction and student practice is needed on the previous grade's content and skills.
Commissioner Virginia Barry stated. “More students at each grade and in each content area are achieving the grade-level standards than were at the beginning of the NECAP assessment program. Our school leaders and teachers deserve recognition and our appreciation for their hard work and dedication to their students.”
Commissioner Barry also stated that, “The Department is working to transform New Hampshire’s educational system by working with schools and districts around the Instructional Core which includes focusing on meaningful content, instructional quality, student engagement and rich academic performance tasks for students. Ultimately, it is the interaction between the teacher and his or her students that matters. We know that close to sixty percent of the students who score below proficient in mathematics on the grade three NECAP test are likely to still be below proficient when they reach grade eight. We encourage schools to carefully review their current teaching methodologies and focus on intentional teaching directed at individual student needs particularly in the area of mathematical rigor.”
Over the next few weeks, schools and districts will be examining their own data and paying particular attention to the growth of individual students and groups of students. Administrators, local school improvement teams and teachers will also use these results to measure the effectiveness of program changes and instructional strategies they have implemented in recent years.
The October 2013 administration is the final NECAP test in all four of the partner states - New Hampshire, along with Maine and Vermont will move to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), in the 2014-15 school year.
All public NECAP reports for schools, districts, and the state, as well as The Guide to Interpreting the 2013 NECAP Reports can be located at http://reporting.measuredprogress.org/nhprofile. Additional information regarding the state’s assessment transition to Smarter Balanced may be found at www.education.nh.gov/instruction/assessment/index.htm.