Providence Schools make changes to NECAP graduation requirements

By: Melissa Randall 

The school year is coming to a close, and now, with less than two weeks until graduation Providence Schools are giving high school seniors, who didn’t pass the controversial NECAP exam a second chance.

The school board voted unanimously Tuesday night to change the policy that will allow more than 200 seniors to cross the stage with their classmates.

“And they should walk with their heads held high because on all other levels and other sense of the word they are high school graduates,” said Keith Oliveira, President of the school board.

Oliveria says the current state policy is flawed, and allows students who show progress on the test from their junior to senior year to graduate even if they scored below students who didn’t show progress. Providence will now allow seniors who scored at or equal to the lowest score in the district, during the retake, to receive a diploma.

“I don’t think that is acceptable. I think people that that graduated– that did all the requirements– deserve to pass, not the people dozed off in school,” said Central High Senior Moses Fofana.

Fofana fears the change will mean his classmates won’t take their studies seriously.

“They need [the NECAP] because a lot of these kids don’t care about school,” he said.

Oliveria says the change does not mean the district is lowering its standards.

“Scoring a level two on the NECAP is not a standard. Scoring a level 2 is merely an arbitrary benchmark on an exam that was never designed to be a high stakes test,” he said.

Providence hopes to be an example for other districts who feel the same way. The board says it will continue to push the Rhode Island Department of Education to revisit the policy.

(C) WLNE–TV 2014
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