The following is a press release from the Portsmouth School District.
In the spring, students in grades 4, 8 and 11 participated in New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) Science tests.
These tests are designed to measure student performance on the standards developed and adopted by the states of Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Results of the recently released spring 2012 Science NECAP test scores saw students performing at or above proficiency in grades 4, 8 and 11 at their highest levels in the last five years.
The most significant improvement in science achievement was seen at the 4th grade where the percentage of students at or above proficiency went from 58% to 71.1% in one year.
At grade 4, 71.1% of students scored at or above proficiency ranking them 10th in the state.
At grade 8, 49% of students scored at or above proficiency ranking them 6th in the state.
At grade 11, 58% of students scored at or above proficiency ranking them 5th in the state.
Overall, the Portsmouth School District moved from being 9th in the state to 8th in the state in the number of students scoring at or above proficiency in the area of science as measured by the NECAP.
The district has worked to provide teachers with the necessary tools, resources and professional development to improve student achievement in science. An aligned science curriculum was implemented in the 2011-12 school year; new science kits were piloted in grades 6-8 last spring with additional pilots to occur in the district in the current school year; professional development was provided over the course of the school year with teachers also working collaboratively within their schools; and, for the first time in the district’s recent history, new science textbooks were purchased for all students in grades K-8.
The district will be moving to further strengthen its science curriculum by aligning instruction to the Next Generation Science Standards which are expected to be released in the spring, 2013.
The results of the 2012 NECAP Science test reflect a significant commitment of time and energy exhibited by teachers and administrators throughout the district. Additionally, the Portsmouth School Committee’s approval of the allocation of funds to support the purchase of textbooks in grades K-8 will have a significant impact on advancing student achievement in both science and literacy.