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January 31. 2013 8:36PM

Statewide NECAP test scores bump up, city schools improve

Students statewide scored slightly better in math and writing and the same in reading on a standardized test given last fall compared with the previous year.

Manchester students, meanwhile, showed marked improvements in writing, while dropping slightly in reading and math, according to results of the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP)

But Manchester Central High School saw double-digit drops in reading and writing. Reading went from 77 percent to 64 percent proficiency while writing dropped from 56 percent to 41 percent. Math remained nearly the same, going from 31 percent to 30 percent.

Manchester Memorial High School saw math scores fall from 30 percent to 24 percent and writing drop from 45 to 39 percent. Reading scores were nearly unchanged, going from 70 to 69 percent.

Manchester West High School saw gains in writing, from 19 percent to 21 percent, and in math, from 18 percent to 19 percent, while reading dropped from 55 percent to 53 percent.

Michael Tursi, Manchester's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said it was too early to say why the high school scores dropped. School officials are reviewing the district-wide numbers and soon will study the results by school, grade and even by classroom.

"We are showing some increases; however, we do have plenty of work to go, particularly those areas where we're seeing some decreases," Tursi said. "We saw some high points in eighth-grade math and Grade 5 reading and in Grade 8 reading."

A benefit of assessment tests is pinpointing what instructional areas are successful and seeing what areas need improvement, he said.

In Nashua, students fared worse in reading, slightly better in writing and the same in math compared to a year earlier.

The results marked the eighth year that third- through eighth-graders took the NECAP test and the sixth year for eleventh-graders. NECAP is a partnership Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine and New Hampshire established in response to the No Child Left Behind Act, which called on states to measure student achievement annually in grades 3 through 8 and in one high school grade.

"Approximately 10 percent more students at each grade and in each content area are achieving the grade-level standards that were at the beginning of the NECAP assessment program," state Education Commissioner Virginia Barry said in a statement. "Ultimately, it is the interaction between the teacher and his or her students that matters."

Statewide, 68 percent of students were proficient in math last fall compared to 67 percent the year before. Writing scores improved from 54 to 55 percent while reading remained the same at 79 percent.

In Manchester, writing improved from 41 percent to 44 percent proficiency, math dipped from 51 percent to 50 percent and reading slid from 62 percent to 61 percent.

In Nashua, writing scores saw an uptick from 49 percent to 50 percent, math stayed the same at 60 percent and reading dropped from 73 percent to 70 percent.



mcousineau@unionleader.com


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