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Castleberry Fairs

Local schools make gains on NECAP


February 15, 2012
Local schools make gains on NECAP

By Jeff Woodburn

jwoodburn@salmonpress.com

BERLIN –Local schools made steady improvements in the recently released results of the fall 2011 New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) for grades three through eight and high school juniors.

"Berlin did fantastic!" said Superintendent of Schools Corinne Cascadden.

The standardized tests are a measure of the level of skill of students in three areas – reading, math and writing. Students are graded on a scale of 1, being substantially below proficient, to 4, being proficient with distinction. The goal is to have all students proficient (3-4).

Berlin's Hillside School grades 3-5 showed strong improvement in each academic area. Cascadden was particular pleased by the third grade's improved reading and math scores – both by 20 percent.

The city's Junior High School's 6-7 graders also improved in all academic areas, including a 14 point jump in math. The high school 11th grade results showed solid increase in reading, a slight increase in writing and 12 point drop in math.

SAU 20 (Gorham, Milan, Errol) Superintendent Paul Bousquet said he was "very pleased with the scores" in the multiple town district.

"Seventy and eighty percent plus proficiency in most areas is a great thing!" he added. He expressed concerns about the writing scores in all schools and math at the high school.

Gorham's Edward Fenn School Principal Karen Cloutier said her students "did okay." The results were more mixed with a large increase in reading scores and a slight drop in math. The fifth grade writing results fell substantially, but with a sample of just 32 children it may be a statistical anomaly. "Writing has been an issue here," she said, "and throughout the district. "

Milan's 3-5 graders had strong increase in all areas and outperformed other local elementary schools in reading and Math. Berlin's Hillside took the top spot for writing.

Gorham's 6-7 graders' reading and math scores were slightly off last year's results, but their writing improved a strong 13 percent. The high school's 11th graders' reading results slipped marginally, but they had large gains in math and writing.

Bousquet said the results will be analyzed and the "staff will work on the skills that our students need to strengthen based on the NECAP results and our other assessment tools." We will, he said, "continue to take students at whatever level they are and move them forward."

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