WOOD RIVER JCT. — Members of the Chariho School Committee on Tuesday learned the results of the latest science New England Common Assessment Program. In a brief presentation, Assistant Superintendent Jane Daly showed test score figures in which Chariho students fared well, particularly compared to the rest of the state.
The test was administered last May to students in grades 4, 8 and 11. This was the final year the NECAP would be administered, because it has been replaced by a new science test, the New England Science Assessment.
NECAP classifies test results in four achievement levels: proficient with distinction, proficient, partially proficient and substantially below proficient.
District-wide, 77 percent of Chariho students in grade 4 received scores of proficient or better, compared to the statewide proficiency score of 41 percent. In grade 8, 48 percent of Chariho students scored proficient or better. The statewide score was 20 percent. In grade 11, 43 percent of students were proficient or better, compared to the statewide score of 25 percent.
“One thing I want to highlight is that this is the third year in a row that our 4th-graders, our students in the elementary schools, got the top scores compared to all other K through 12 public school districts in Rhode Island,” Daly told the committee. “Also, as a district, we’re the third-highest K to 12 public school district in Rhode Island scoring on NECAP science, again, for the third year in a row. So we’ve really been consistent.”
Richmond member Murat Dymov asked why the NECAP had been replaced.
“What’s the goal of the new test?” he said. “Why are we abandoning NECAP?”
Daly said the new test was likely part of the new state science-teaching standards.
“I know that we moved to the next generation science standards as a state and they were looking for a test that best aligned to those new standards,” she said.
The new assessment will be administered in the spring, but in its first year it will be treated as a pilot, with official test results counted only in the following spring.
In other business, with the current prominence of sexual harassment charges on the national agenda, the committee continued its discussion of the district’s sexual harassment policies and several members asked whether students received sufficient instruction in recognizing and reporting incidents.
“One of the things that surprised me about the national discussion is how infrequently these kinds of incidents are reported and how delayed they are, after the event,” Richmond member Clay Johnson said. “I wanted to bring this stuff up to show the public that we’re doing a lot and then, are there any ideas of things that we could possibly change. Would a ninth-grade female know to report an incident from a teacher? There’s a power differential going on and is there anything that would make that reporting easier?”
“I believe they would know, absolutely, about the need to report and who to report to,” Daly said. “That is taught beginning in second grade. Students are taught who to report to if there’s any inappropriate touching. That’s taught throughout. That is spoken about in the health curriculum, along with, as part of the discipline code, students are taught to report every issue or concern they have about an adult, another student, and we have multiple people identified that they can report to.”
Hopkinton member Lisa Macaruso wondered whether, in light of the widespread public discussion of sexual harassment, student instruction on the topic should be modified.
“It can’t be the same message that it was four years ago or even two years ago, even if the standard is the same,” she said.
Daly said she would pass on Macaruso’s suggestion to Chariho’s health department Chair, Christopher Safford.