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WMRSD NECAP scores show significant improvement


February 02, 2011
WHITEFIELD — School assemblies were held on Monday in White Mountain Regional School District schools to congratulate students and teachers on the significant gains each District building made in New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) scores. School districts across the state received their scores late last week, ready for public distribution on Monday. Grades three through eight and grade 11 in high school are tested in October.

"We are delighted at the results," exulted SAU #36 Interim Superintendent Dr. Harry Fensom in a Monday telephone conference call that also included Dr. Melissa Keenan, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction.

The percentage of students whose scores put them in the "Proficient (level 3)" and "Proficient with Distinction" (level 4) went up — some significantly, Dr. Fensom said.

"We're really pleased!" he said.

The pleasing results can be attributed to the hard work of teachers and their students, Fensom and Keenan explained.

Starting from the first day of school in September until the tests were administered some six weeks later, instructional time was used to review content and to learn to successfully answer the kind multi-step problems posed on the NECAP exams designed to see if students are meeting the state's grade-level expectations (GLEs).

In those early weeks, students also had a chance to understand the importance of these tests, and teachers in each building worked on developing a positive climate and "can-do" attitude.

Keenan pointed out that learning test-taking strategies is, after all, teaching students an important real-life skill: how to take knowledge that has been acquired and then use or apply it to a new situation.

NECAP tests challenge students to show if they have acquired and learned to use the state's standards, she explained.

This year's opening regimen with its three-pronged approach — developing a positive academic climate, reviewing content covered the previous year, and honing test-taking skills and strategies — will remain in place, Fensom said.

Work on the revised curriculum geared very specifically to the state standards is just beginning to have an impact and will continue to do so, Keenan said. Teachers are working systematically and hard to make needed changes, she said. They will use state Released Test Items not only to provide practice for their students but also to receive feedback to help ensure that students are meeting state standards and moving toward greater proficiency.

Commissioner of Education Virginia M. Barry, Ph.D. Commissioner Barry said in a press release that she is pleased to note that Granite State schools continue to make progress in helping students meet challenging standards in reading, mathematics, and writing. This is the sixth year that N. H.'s third- through eighth-grade students have taken the NECAP and the fourth year the NECAP test has been administered at the high school level.

Statewide, 77 percent of N. H. students in grades 3 to 8 and 11 demonstrated proficiency in reading and 66 percent in mathematics. Writing continues to improve, and this year, 55 percent of N. H. students scored Proficient or better.

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