As part of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act’s accountability requirement (click here to easily access earlier articles we’ve written about NCLB), students and educators at Malletts Bay School, Colchester Middle School, and Colchester High School are in the midst the New England Common Assessment Program’s (NECAP) standardized tests. The schools’ testing began this week.
As a quick refresher, NECAPs measure student achievement based upon the following four-point scale:
4 = Proficient with Distinction
3 = Proficient
2 = Partially Proficient
1 = Substantially Below Proficient
Essentially, scoring “1″ or “2″ represents failure, while scoring “3″ or “4″ represents a passing score.
As we discussed in a previous article, the Common Core State Standards will ultimately replace the NECAP, but in the meantime, the NECAP remains a critically important assessment in order to comply with NCLB, and as such, it is a major event.
At MBS, NECAPs are an all-hands-on-deck proposition. Virtually all students take the test, and a number of testing accommodations—including having portions of the test read aloud and/or using scribes to record student answers—are made to assist the nearly fifty differently abled learners with the process. In addition to these testing accommodations, the testing schedule requires the educators to coordinate quiet testing spaces and to adjust the Early Essential Education program’s schedule. Teachers design independent, quiet assignments for students who complete the test sections before the allotted time runs out in order to ensure a quiet testing environment for the other testing students, and they try to alleviate students’ testing anxieties by beginning the testing days with fun physical activities—especially for third graders, for whom the NECAPs are often the first experience with standardized testing. Parents help out with NECAPs by taking particular care to ensure that their children have nutritious breakfasts and proper rest. To encourage the students to try their very best, MBS ordered special “MBS Osprey Pride” pencils to use during the testing, and the fifth graders will celebrate the end of their testing period with a field trip to Indian Brook Park.
As we discussed in an earlier article, MBS’s test scores have historically exceeded the state average, and this is a culmination of not only the efforts on the part of MBS’s students and teachers but also of the cumulative instruction that the students received during their years at Porters Point School and Union Memorial School.
While students at Colchester Middle School and Colchester High School are much more familiar with the standardized testing process, NECAPs are still taken very seriously. The results of the tests are tracked and reported to the Department of Education as well as to the public, and the school district’s annual report to the school board includes NECAP-related data.
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