By Gareth Henderson
Elementary schools in this area received good news earlier this month when the New England Common Assessment Program test results came back from 2010.
Overall, grades 3-8 had strong scores in this region. A majority of the schools in the Standard’s readership area showed 80 percent of students or more in the two highest proficiency levels.
The NECAP tests are given every two years to grades 3-8 and 11. The score levels are substantially above proficient, proficient, partially proficient and substantially below proficient.
This year, Hartland Elementary School was one of 14 Vermont schools to receive honorable mention in Montpelier for its work in “narrowing the achievement gap” between low-income students and their peers, according to Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union Superintendent Donna Moyer. HES Principal Judy Callens commended the hard work of the teachers in making progress on this important issue. As Moyer pointed out, the critical step is being aware of the problem.
“You’re constantly targeting the data,” Moyer said.
But that’s not to say the HES scores didn’t leave room for improvement. Callens said there was more work to be done in the mathematical areas of probability/statistics and ratios/proportions. Eighty-two percent of HES students scored in the top two categories in reading, while that number was 74 percent for math.
Also in the WSSU, Albert Bridge School in West Windsor also had strong numbers, with 90 percent of students at proficient or better in reading. That total was 77 percent for math. According to ABS Principal Jonni Nichols, the weak point was geometry, since that unit is the last to be taught. Nichols also said the ABS budget this coming year has part-time a “Response To Intervention” teacher, who runs a six-week program meant to help students who need one-on-one instruction.
In the Windsor Central Supervisory Union, high scores were also the norm. Reading Elementary School Principal Ray Pentkowski noted that without the inclusion of 7th-grade scores, RES’ numbers show 100-percent proficiency in reading for grades 3-6. The official state result with seventh-grade included is 91 percent.
Pentkowski attributed much of this progress to the individual attention students receive in the classroom.
“This is one of the things that proves the benefit of small schools,” he said.
Woodstock Elementary School notched total scores of 84 percent and 77 percent, respectively, for the top two categories in reading and math.
WES Principal Karen White commented, “I would say the scores were on-par with what we would have anticipated. The area where we’re doing the most work is in math.”
She said the 77-percent mark is a solid score, but White said there was another side to that number.
“We know we’re not reaching all the kids,” White said.
Bridgewater Village School Principal Rick Dustin-Eichler also pointed out the work left to be done.
“We’re always looking to improve our scores,” he said.
The Bridgewater school showed that about 60 percent of its students were proficient or better in reading and math, but those subjects also had 24 percent as substantially below proficient in the NECAP results. Dustin-Eichler said the school tries to identify any learning issues early on, and he noted there is a Title 1 reading program at BVS. The math scores were slightly above the state average. But even so, Dustin-Eichler said any number of students who are under-performing is a concern.
“If there’s 1 percent there, we’re going to respond to it,” he said.
For complete NECAP results from our area, go to the Education Department’s website at: http://www.education.vermont.gov/new/html/pgm_assessment/data.html#necap.
By Gareth Henderson