RISE, Steere Farm students show RICAS gains, middle school shines in N.S.

A graph put out by the Rhode Island Department of Education shows student gains since 2015.

BURRILLVILLE/NORTH SMITHFIELD – The Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System showed mixed results for northern Rhode Island students, with losses in some areas and gains in others.

But a few standout schools in the region showed significant gains in both English and math, with increases in student proficiency exceeding averages statewide.

And a charter school that had students taking the test for the first time in 2018 trumped most schools across the state.

RISE Prep Mayoral Academy, a Woonsocket-based charter school that also serves students from Burrillville and North Smithfield, showed 76 percent of students reading at grade level, and 66 percent proficient in math.

Just 50 third grade students took the test at RISE, which opened in 2015. And none of the students who took the assessment at the school fell below expectations for English.

Other local standouts on the assessment, taken during the 2017/2018 school year, include Steere Farm Elementary School, where proficiency increased by an impressive 10.3 percent in English, and 4.4 percent in math.

The results show that 41.5 percent of the 244 students who took the test are reading at grade level, with 5.5 percent exceeding expectations. In math, 21.1 percent of Steere Farm students are now testing at or above proficiency.

North Smithfield Middle School also showed standout gains, with a 7.6 percent increase in English language arts for the 392 students assessed, and a 3.3 percent increase in math.

That means 62.6 percent of students at NSMS are now meeting or exceeding expectations in English, while 45.6 percent are doing so in math.

The average gain for schools across the state for English proficiency was 5.5 percent, with math gains at only 3 percent.

It is the state’s second year using the new assessment, comparable to the MCAS in Massachusetts, and generally, testing showed that Rhode Island schools are still far behind those in the neighboring state.

The news from this year’s results, released last week, wasn’t all good in northern Rhode Island either.

Before closing at the end of the school year, Halliwell Elementary School students took the assessment, showing losses in proficiency of 5.1 percent in English, but gaining 11.1 percent proficiency in math.

At Burrillville Middle School 541 students took the test, showing an increase in proficiency in English of 4.6 percent, but a decrease of 5.1 percent in math for proficiency ratings of 27.2 and 12.6 percent in the two subjects respectively.

William Callahan saw 21.7 of its 264 test takers score below expectations in math, but still made modest gains of 3.5 percent in that area, with 21.7 percent of students now meeting or exceeding expectations.

In English, the school also made small gains of 1.9 percent, with 29.1 percent of students now reading at grade level.

And at North Smithfield Elementary School, students became 4.9 percent more proficient in math, but lost .8 percent in English, putting a total of 57.1 students at or above the expectation for math and 70.2 for English.

Only students in third through eighth grade take the RICAS, and overall, 38.5 percent of the state’s elementary and middle school students showed proficiency in English and 30 percent in math.

Full test results can be found here.

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