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Despite Improved State Testing Scores, 1,800+ RI Seniors at Risk of Not Graduating

The latest state assessments show improvement in test results and graduation rates, though many seniors are in danger of not meeting graduation requirements.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.
NECAP scores and graduation rates are improving in Rhode Island, but more than 1,800 high school seniors are still at risk of not getting their diploma. The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) has released results from the latest NECAP assessments on Friday.

Rhode Island's four-year high school graduation rate improved by three percent to 80 percent with the class of 2013. NECAP scores also so improvements, with increases in 11th grade math and reading scores. 

Though 73 percent of Rhode Island's high schoolers have met the graduation requirement in math and are now eligible to earn a diploma. Last year, that figure was only 60 percent. Despite the gain, more than 1,800 seniors are at risk of not graduating high school due to their low math scores. 

Of those who retook the NECAP this past October, 1,370 improved enough to meet the math requirements. (Another 807 students who scored "substantially below proficient" in math did not retake the test.) These students still have other opportunities to get their diplomas, including alternate tests and waivers distributed by their school districts. 

State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist points to the improved test scores and graduation rates as proof that Rhode Island is on the right track with its new high school graduation requirements. She stated that the class of 2013 showed "it can be done."

"Holding students to high expectations and helping them to reach those goals is truly in the best interest of all students, and we will continue with this commitment," said Gist.

Click here to get RIDE's complete report.
George Costanza January 31, 2014 at 04:21 PM
Wow, just wow. These numbers are shocking.
Mike Cullen February 01, 2014 at 03:50 PM
I think we all know that these math results need to be so much higher for RI's students who want to compete for the best jobs. I'm glad to read about all the remedial work being done with the high schoolers, but what about the many students who dropped out ahead of the 11th grade NECAP testing? We don't see their faces in these results. I'd also like to hear lots more about reshaping RI's math education at the elementary grade levels when our youngest learners are forming opinions about the relevancy of math in their lives. We've got to stop blaming poverty as the culprit; yes, it's a factor but it's one that can be overcome if we refuse to accept the status quo and set higher expectations for all parties.
Donna Sullivan February 03, 2014 at 07:24 AM
Campaigning already, I see? Mr. Cullen, you have no idea the work that teachers put into their students. Do you think that teachers and administrators don't have high expectations? Do you think they just sit around all day?? POVERTY is the problem with drop outs because kids have to work in order to support their families. POVERTY is the issue with low test scores because of multiple problems faced by people who live in uncertainty and many times, physical and sexual abuse. Oh, just set high expectations and everything will get better???? Get real. What exactly is the status quo???? I guess it will be your job to tell us from middle class America.
Donna Sullivan February 03, 2014 at 07:28 AM
It's time to stop with the middle class jargon and get our politicians to realize that poverty and the lack of good paying jobs is the root of all problems in this country. How about raising the minimum wage? How about universal pre-K so parents can work or go back to school? How about more after school activities? How about expanding the vocational center? Oh, that takes money away from wars and the rich people's tax cuts. High expectation.....my foot.
George Costanza February 03, 2014 at 08:36 PM
Hi Donna: You are right poverty is a problem. Luckily the state of RI and the Fed's subsidizes housing, childcare, food, and medical insurance for the poor. I talk to a lot of parents, both poor and rich, and they all have the same message: OUR KIDS ARE TIRED IN THE MORNING WHY DO THEY GO TO SCHOOL SO EARLY??? Well the teacher's union says its so that poor kids can work after school. Funny tho, because few of them have part time jobs, and by the time they get back from the bus its already 3:30pm. The real reason is because the teachers enjoy having 3 hours during the business day. If teachers were generous enough to give up those hours, and work a normal day, and if kids went to school from 9am-5pm, we would "kill 2 birds with one stone." Kids would be more alert, and we wouldn't have to worry about what they were doing after school because most of their parents would be home.
Donna Sullivan February 05, 2014 at 02:01 PM
What a bunch of baloney. Kids work after school. That's a fact. I see them everywhere around town WORKING or playing sports. The reason school ends when it does is because kids of sports and jobs. Teachers stay after school - even though you don't believe it. Teachers and poor people are not what is sucking this country dry. Try corporations that pay no taxes and rich people who find any loop hole. You have a bias and there is no convincing you anyway.

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