Education chief not impressed by RICAS score improvements
By The Associated Press
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Rhode Island's education commissioner is warning against feeling "warm and fuzzy'' about improved student scores on the state's standardized test.
The 2019 Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System results released Tuesday show a 4 percentage point improvement in English and a 3 percentage point improvement in math scores.
Statewide, 38% of students in grades 3 through 8 met or exceeded expectations in English, and 30% met or exceeded expectations in math.
Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green says while results are "moving in the right direction" a slight bump in scores is to be expected as students and teachers become more familiar with the exam.
She says "much more needs to be done."
"We can't do a victory lap around this because it's what we expected," Infante-Green told reporters Tuesday. "We can't really say that we went up."
The reason Infante-Green is not impressed with the scores is that she said when it comes to standardized tests, like the RICAS, a bump in performance is expected in the second year of the exam.
Infante-Green went on to say that the state expected the bump to be higher.
"Kids know the exam now, they know the layout, the teachers know what to prepare for. So next year's scores will give us a better understanding of where we are," she said. "The bump you see this year we will not see next year."
Infante-Green is in the process of taking over Providence Schools, a district with one of the lowest performances in the state.
Maribeth Calabro, president of the Providence Teachers' Union, said that there is still a lot of work to be done, but she believes teachers and students should be given more credit for how they scored.
"Our teachers have heard enough over the summer about how bad things are and how bad we are so a moderate growth is ok," Calabro said. "Everybody is trying and I think there needs to be some credit given for that. So I think our students need to hear that they're doing a good job and we expect them to do better and we expect our teachers to do better."
Education officials say Rhode Island students still lag far behind their peers in Massachusetts, who take the same test.
Massachusetts students scored 14 points better on English and 19 points in Math, according to a presentation from RIDE.
For a list of schools and districts with respect to RICAS scores click here.
This story contains information from the Associated Press.